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SheWired's Exclusive Interview with 'True Blood's' Kristin Bauer

SheWired's Exclusive Interview with 'True Blood's' Kristin Bauer

SheWired talks to the beautiful Kristin Bauer about her True Bloodcharacter, Pam, the surly vampire henchwomen with a definite "lesbian vibe," gay metaphors on the Alan Ball show and her love of animals.

Kristin Bauer is excited. The actress, who has played characters like “Man Hands” on an episode of Seinfeld, is currently filming an episode of FX’s upcoming Timothy Olyphant starrer Lawman in Santa Clarita, Calif., where she’s working with some of the same cast and crew as her favorite show, “Deadwood”: “I get to find out all the dirt; that’s the show I’m fanatical about,” she says. And Bauer knows a lot about being part of a fan phenomenon: She’s currently on hiatus from filming HBO’s hit vampire drama True Blood, where she plays surly vampire henchwoman Pam.

With Season 3 still a long way off — it returns in June — recent talk from series creator Alan Ball has centered on Pam’s sexuality, most notably that her character “has a lesbian vibe.” recently caught up with Bauer to discuss playing gay, what’s next for Pam, nude scenes and why she’s excited to have screaming throngs of women chasing after her. What can you tell us about Season 3?
Kristin Bauer: The writers tell us nothing! (Laughs) When I see the rest of the cast I’ll go, “Hey, what do you know?” Or they’ll come up to me and say, “Do you know anything?” (The writers) are very smart because I think they realize we’re all fans as well and we’re all excited and we’d all probably talk. All we can sort of guess is what happens in the (Charlane Harris) books and what Alan gives us.

SW: Alan Ball has said that your character, Pam, has a "lesbian vibe." What do you think about her?
Yeah! Well, when I booked the job I was in the Philippines, and I was there for a month, and I had just read for True Blood and the producer of that movie said, “We have to get you back; you have to start work the day after you get back,” and I said, “On what?” And she said, True Blood. I was excited that I got that. (The producers) emailed me the first scene that I had — it was with Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) — and I show up the next day, deliriously tired, not knowing what country I was in, and when I read it I thought, “Oh, she (Pam) likes Bill and Sookie equally.” So it came across in the writing to me that she was definitely at least bisexual; she at least didn’t discriminate — if you’re a hot woman, you’re a hot woman, and if you’re a hot guy, you’re a hot guy. There was some line about how sweet it is looking at Sookie. I didn’t think anything of it; I thought, “Oh, that’s who she is.” Then a few episodes later there was a scene with Sookie in the bathroom where she pulls a piece of vampire Longshadow out of her cleavage and comes really close and says, “I’m beginning to see what all the fuss is about you.” I thought, “Oh yeah, she really likes Sookie.” I didn’t think anything of it. So it makes sense to me; it was in the writing, and it makes sense to me for Pam.

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SW: Do you have any idea what is in store for Pam in Season 3?
No. I think that with Lafayette’s character, well, with everybody’s character, Alan’s putting everything in the TV show that’s in the books but he’s adding so much more. Just from the vibe that I get, Pam is very open and interesting sexually. She has lots of humans for pets (laughs) and I’m sure both male and female. I’m not sure what she’s going to do this year but I can’t wait to find out.

SW: If you were scripting Pam's love story, which female character would you want her to wind up with?
I’ve been asked that and in every interview I just say somebody different because there are so many hot women and hot men on the show. If it were multiple choice, Choice A would be Sookie; Choice B would be (Fangtasia waitress) Ginger (Tara Buck); Choice C would be Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). I would go all the way down to the multiple choice Z where it says “everyone” and pick that one! I could see Pam with anybody and everybody, which I guess is really her character.

SW: Eric has a new love interest in Season 3, Yvette, a Czech-born stripper at Fangtasia. How does this impact your character? 
They did? I didn’t know that! So that’s going to be a love interest for Eric? Interesting! It’s interesting because I found out a lot about Pam doing the special features commentary for the DVD for Season 2 on the Blu-ray. The first year, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) did it and he would pop up in picture on picture and comment on what’s happening on the show in character. I did it for Season 2, and through that I found out so much about Pam because she’s commenting on everybody, and she’s commenting on Eric’s attraction and relationship to Sookie. So it appears that she is so loyal to Eric and will always be there and will always support what ever he does. She also made a comment like, “I don’t think Eric would share Sookie with me.” I don’t think he’d share this one. So it led me to believe that they share. So she’ll be there, and she’ll either be commenting on it or she’ll be expressing her opinions. I can only imagine she’ll be wanting to share and he’ll be not letting her share, or he will. That’s what it seemed like from the DVD, but again, who knows.

SW: How far do you think the sharing could go?
Oh my gosh! Watching the show? With Alan Ball? The sky is the limit with him in the most wonderful way because he never sacrifices the plot or the theme for sensationalism. I just have full trust that he’ll do something that will entertain us all.

SW: What do you think about the show's gay metaphors?
I read an interview where Alan said that depending on the time in which the show was made, we would be using the metaphors for whatever group is being discriminated against at the time. The discrimination is the theme and of course that’s very current and important and real to Alan, so I think it’s great. I love being on a show that has so many layers because the bottom line is exclusion of any group is not really nice.

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SW: Have you ever played gay before in your career?
I did. I did a pilot called Crazywith Lara Flynn Boyle and I played a gay psychologist.

SW: Are you excited about the possibility of some same-sex love for Pam?
(Laughs) Sure! I’m excited about anything with Pam. I feel like Pam does; I’m very open and trusting of Alan.

SW: Who are you most excited to work with on the show?
I have to say I’ve had so much fun working with Alexander (Skarsgard, Eric) and Sookie and Bill, and Lafayette; I’ve gotten to do scenes with all of them. It’s a boring answer, but I’m just excited to keep working with them.

SW: What do you enjoy about playing Pam?
She’s such a composite being. (Costume designer) Audrey Fisher and the writers and the directors, I just love seeing what Pam is going to be dressed in. That’s really half of the fun for me. And the hair and makeup team. When I come out of that trailer after getting dressed it’s so much fun. And then to get to say these absolutely snarky lines. I love her viewpoint. I think they’ve created a real interesting being. I think it’s logical and natural her viewpoints, which may be as frightening as she may be. (Laughs) But I think if you left the human race and became immortal and lived history and lived outside the bounds of convention that this is exactly who maybe even I would become. I think it’s astounding and really great the viewpoints that they’ve really given her.


SW: How has True Blood changed your career?
I’ve never been on a project that had this excitement. In turn, my fans are more excited and there’s desire to meet me in person and do appearances. It’s just really fun.

SW: Now that you’re hopefully playing a lesbian on the show, how do you feel about screaming throngs of women showing up to meet you?
(Laughs) That sounds amazing! Especially because of the screaming throngs of women that I encounter are screaming for Alexander and at a certain point, I’m like, “What am I, chopped liver?” (Laughs) How about a little love for me?! Alexander doesn’t get all the chicks!

SW: You want the chicks, too?
(Laughing) Yeah! It’s terribly unfair! I did an appearance (recently) and like 200 women asked me about him and by the end I’m like, (deadpans) “He’s fine.”

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SW: Wikipedia says "perhaps your best known film role" was in Dancing at the Blue Iguana, in which you performed an extended nude dance routine. Is this something you'd do if Alan Ball asked you to, considering you work at a seedy club and there’s a new stripper in town?
Yeah, who writes these things?! (Laughs) If I had three months in the gym, yeah I would do it. With Blue Iguana, the fear of doing that scene — I had never worked out so hard in my life. By the time we were filming I was scared but ready. I really have no problem with nudity; mainly my mind goes to vanity issues. (Laughing) It’s just a reflex, like you know you’re going on a vacation where you know you’re going to be in a bathing suit.

SW: You were on one of the most popular episodes of Seinfeld, as his bizarro world girlfriend with "man hands." Does that role follow you?
(Laughs) Yes! Man hands is such a great concept and character and it was such a great episode that it does follow me and I’m very happy and proud that it does because on the set we couldn’t stop laughing. … At a certain point, someone (on the True Blood set) will look it up and say, “Were you ‘Man Hands’?”

SW: You're an avid animal lover. How did you first get involved in conservation work?
Being born in Wisconsin, we always had dogs, cats, chickens and we lived on a farm and nature has always been so dear to me. Then one day in 1996, I was going to the gym and there was a little Rottweiler puppy in the street, so I picked him up and took him home and that was it. I went to the shelters to get another dog for him and just walking through a shelter, I thought, “Oh this is wrong.” Then I volunteered at a shelter and I would see 20 dogs be put to sleep every single day. And that’s just one shelter. Sweet, beautiful dogs, there’s just not enough room. So I started thinking about it more and more and I realized where these dogs come from that are in pet stores. I just don’t like the hidden injustice here where if you just scratch below the surface you see that this isn’t right. That is again the same issues that Alan Ball is trying to address in True Blood: there’s just meanness and in turn, sadness. I just can’t stand that in any regard, whether it is for any minority, the rights of a group or the life of an animal. It’s just mean and sad. So I’m trying to do what I can to just sort of stand up and take a look at this. Some people in anything, you’re going to have that 20 percent that’s just going to hold on to their viewpoint, but I think that 80 percent of the population is basically good and can change their viewpoint. It’s hard to understand when you look at any of these things, be it the environment, animals, gay rights, it’s hard to understand how somebody could make a decision that hurts somebody else. Somebody living their life. Why can’t they just live their own life?

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