'True Blood' Q&A: Kristin Bauer Van Straten On Final Season, Searching For Eric & More

“True Blood” kicks off its final season on Sunday night, and Kristin Bauer van Straten is feeling a little emotional about the beginning of the end.

The woman who has brought to life Bon Temps’ sassiest straight-talking (and most stylish) vampire, Pam De Beaufort, is sad that the show is ending, but she’s also grateful that HBO gave producers a final season to wrap things up.

And let’s face it, there’s some big mysteries to solve — the biggest one of all being where is Eric Northman?

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For Kristin’s character Pam, she’ll kick off the seventh season not long after we left her last time around – in a search of Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric, who burst into flames (as a result of being out in the sun on a snowy mountain) at the end of Season 6.

In a new interview with AccessHollywood.com, Kristin shared her feelings on the show coming to a close, and hinted at one of the ways we’ll find Eric in Season 7.

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AccessHollywood.com: When you found out that the show was going to get a final season, how did you feel? Mixed emotions?
Kristin Bauer van Straten:
It is, and I keep going back and forth between those emotions all year where it seems like business as usual, we’re reading scripts, we’re on the set, we’re filming and then I realize, ‘Oh, this is my last scene with whoever.’ And then I think, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and I feel sad, and then I realize I’m so lucky because you’re never sad when you get away from people you don’t like. And then I think, ‘I really don’t have a right to be sad, because I’ve had seven years and one of the most incredible female characters on one of the most incredible shows, the most incredible network, working with my favorite people.’

Access: How do you feel about how the fact that you actually do get the end the show, that the writers get to bring it to some sort of conclusion? So many shows don’t make it to that point.
Kristin:
I understand that ultimately, this is about commerce, but HBO has a different paradigm, and they allow shows an ending. And for the viewer, I think it’s magnificent. Can you imagine if you’re reading a book and then, just at some point you walk back and somebody ripped off the last 73 pages? It’s abrupt. … Everybody talks about the shows that a certain amount of people loved and we never got any conclusion, so I’ve always loved that feeling that no matter happened, when ‘True Blood’ ended, HBO would allow us to wrap it up. I think that’s a huge luxury.

Access: If someone came up with the idea, would you ever want to see a Pam spinoff?
Kristin:
You know, I am completely open to more Pam and the only thing that it would depend on is the writing and the writing has always been the core of our show and for an actor, that’s the main thing you’ve got… the words that have to come out of your mouth, and I have just been blessed with the words that have gotten to come out of Pam’s mouth (laughs). I mean, I don’t even know how many T-shirts and bumper stickers these guys have written for me to say. None of them are PG.

Access: Who are some of your favorite sassy ladies on TV? The ones that are spitfires, who have gusto and are so brave and bold like your own character?
Kristin:
That’s so interesting because I’m so far behind on TV that I’m actually just watching ‘Buffy’ now. I’m so behind that a lot of the characters that I have loved have been men and you know Pam… she’s extremely feminine, but not in the way I am personally. I think that I was raised with a sort of more old school mid-western paradigm of the woman not speaking up or giving her opinion in as bold a way that I feel men [are] so comfortable in doing, and so, the characters I have loved, what came to mind is ‘Deadwood’ characters. I just loved [Ian McShane’s] Swearengen… and somehow, Tony Soprano, [those] are the strong men characters, which is interesting. I actually hadn’t thought about it. … What I like about Pam is clearly she’s a b***h, but I’ve come to see over the years that she’s just actually not worrying about being liked and speaking the truth, more than she is just caustic. So, it occurred to me a few years ago that she was just honest.

Access: Which is something a lot of us would like to be in our own lives…
Kristin:
That’s been my problem, and this is my Pam side… most people who’ve met me in the last decade say, ‘You’re so nice. How do you play Pam?’ And my family would say the opposite, because I had to learn to think a thought, and edit and just not say it, but, my nature is to be more blunt. It just feels like such effort. The amount of effort that we as humans put into having to worry about what the other guy’s gonna say or do or react when we say something, or if we’ll be liked or fear about money and physical vulnerability, all the things that vampires are free from. It’s really incredible to think about how much worry there is for a human.

Access: I’ll tell you one worry some of us have related to the show — how we are going to find Alexander’s character, who Pam is searching for. We know he’s back because he’s been in all the press releases, but what can you kind of hint at about how he’s back. He’s your maker, and you love him.
Kristin:
Yep, and that’s paramount in Pam’s mind and as the seasons have gone [on], we realize how important Eric is to her and he is Titanic in her world. And at the end of last year when she chose to leave her progeny and go after him, and I went into the beginning of the season thinking, ‘What is going through Pam’s mind as she searches for him?’ I realized that she can’t see a future without him. She doesn’t really have a world in which she has ever lived without him and as we move into searching for him in the beginning of the season, we explore that and we do get flashbacks that explain that even further, in dramatic and entertaining ways.

Access: Are you talking about old hairstyles or more brothel scenes? You guys have had some fun together on screen before.
Kristin:
We have had some fun and there are some more fun flashbacks coming up and also, the economy with which these writers express our characters is incredible because you get entertainment, you get information and you get heartfelt character development all in these wonderful packages.

Access: Have you and Alexander had conversations on set about the show ending? It seems like you and Alexander became really good friends… and you have a special connection.
Kristin:
Yeah, for me, I’m such an emotional person and the thought that there would ever be a day – I mean, I think two years ago, I started getting weepy about the fact that there could ever be a day in my life where I didn’t have a schedule with Alexander in it and that’s definitely hard for me and that’s so lucky because somebody cast both of us and just shoved us in a room and said, ‘He’s your maker.’ And I’m like, ‘What’s a maker?’ And you know, seven years later, I’m crying that next year at this time, I won’t be talking about Pam and Eric’s storylines and so that’s intensely lucky, but it’s also very intense for me.

Access: Maybe you can get twin bracelets or something to keep you connected in some way. He has one half and you have the other half.
Kristin:
I know! We both need to get tattoos – the same tattoo or something.

“True Blood” returns Sunday night at 9 PM on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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