'True Blood's' Nelsan Ellis On His Upcoming On Screen Love Interest & 'Hooker' Ad Lib

When “True Blood” returns to HBO on Sunday for the start of Season 3, the cast is expanding in many ways. A host of new gay characters are heading to town – like vampires Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) and Talbot (Theo Alexander) – and longtime show favorite, Lafayette Reynolds, is getting a love interest.

The Merlotte’s cook and vampire blood pusher, played by Nelsan Ellis, is expected to find love with a mysterious nurse named Jesus, played by Kevin Alejandro, and Lafayette’s portrayer couldn’t be more thrilled.

“The person who’s playing my love interest, I think makes me a better actor,” Nelsan told Access Hollywood earlier this week at the show’s Los Angeles red carpet Season 3 premiere.

Nelsan explained that Kevin, who has starred in “Southland” and had parts in “Weeds,” “Shark” and “Ugly Betty,” inspires him.

“When you’re working with such a good actor, then it makes you be better,” he said. “So being in scenes with him actually makes me better.”

While Nelsan is happy to toss compliments to others, some of his cast and crew revealed their admiration for his skills. In fact, the actor is known for being able to go off script with occasional phrases here and there.

“Nelsan just channels from some particular planet that is his own planet and I get out of the way ‘cause it’s a planet of genius,” director Alan Ball said.

Kevin too had high praise.

“Nelsan is a very talented guy. The writing is incredible, but the great thing about the show is they do give us some liberties to go off book and ad lib and Nelsan is probably the king of ad libbing and improving, so a lot of that stuff, that clever stuff, is his too,” he said.

As for Nelsan’s favorite catchphrase he’s added in on the fly?

”‘Hooker,’” he laughed. “My auntie called everybody hooker, so I figured I should call everybody, ‘Hooker!’ Well, Lafayette actually just calls Tara, ‘Hooker!’”

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