Rob Kazinsky Gears Up For Big Summer With True Blood, Pacific Rim

It’s going to be a big summer for British hunk Rob Kazinsky, who makes his “True Blood” debut this Sunday as Ben, a potential new love interest for single Sookie Stackhouse.

“Ben is the male equivalent of Sookie,” Rob told about his new role on the pulpy Sunday night HBO show. “Like her, he is a fairy hybrid. Like her, he is ostracized from society and [has never been] quite accepted. Like her, he doesn’t have a family or a home and like her, he’s completely lost. He’s hunted, like her, by vampires and just by being a product of what he is, he is a victim.”

Anna Paquin’s Sookie has had failed relationships with two vampires and a flirtation with a sexy werewolf in seasons gone by, but fairy hybrid Ben might be the man to mend her broken heart.

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“It’s a different energy for her,” Rob said of Sookie’s upcoming interaction with his character. “She sees herself in him and thinks she can help him and that kind of equality is something she’s never had before. Unlike Bill, Eric and Alcide, he is on her level and he is offering her, perhaps, the first chance she’s ever had for an equal relationship.”

It’s fair to say that Sookie certainly likes her men well-toned, and despite being part fairy, Rob’s new character fits the bill.

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“Previously, they’ve all been quite skinny, wearing flashy waist coats and kind of being a bit hippy-ish and I’m [a] 200-pound hairy, square-faced man,” Rob said.

“I’m trying to kind of add some manliness to the fairies of ‘True Blood,’” he laughed.

The British actor, who first rose to fame in his native UK on primetime soap “Eastenders,” was actually more than ripped when he joined “True Blood” thanks to his role as Chuck Hansen in the Guillermo del Toro-directed “Pacific Rim.” In order to play Chuck, who pilots a giant robot to help fend off a monster alien attack of the earth in the sci-fi film, Rob turned into a muscle factory.

“For ‘Pacific Rim,’ I put on close to 40 pounds of muscle for that job. I got up to 215 pounds and 6 percent body fat. I got ginormous for that movie,” Rob laughed of his big screen gig.

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Each day the actor had to consume a 10,000 calorie diet made up of seven meals. He also had to put in three to five hours in the gym.

“The physical fitness aspect of this job is really difficult, but on the flip side, to actually be paid to do that rather than trying to squeeze an hour out of your usual work day to look good, I mean, it’s a pretty lucky position to be in,” he said.

Lucky, but also painful. Rob and his “Pacific Rim” co-star Max Martini beta tested rig devices they wear in the film to pilot the giant robots.

“It was agonizingly difficult,” Rob said of trying out the rigs. “And the feedback that we gave, there were adjustments made and it made it slightly easier for all the people that followed. But me and Matt, we really suffered [those] first couple of days. But something I always like to say is… the pain lasts for an hour and the discomfort lasts for a minute, but the movie lasts forever, so you just kind of [have to] grin and bear it and get through it and remember how damn lucky you are to even be this uncomfortable.”

Being a self-processed “sci-fi geek” made taking part in the film a dream for the actor, and he hopes fans will enjoy it when it hits cinemas next month.

“It’s a giant, giant action movie. … I’d be very excited about it even if I wasn’t in it. … Everybody wants to see a good, giant, monster movie. Everyone wanted to see it since the early days of ‘60s, ‘70s ‘Godzilla.’ They wanted to see it when Power Rangers would unite and become that big robot. They’ve wanted to see this forever and [‘Pacific Rim’ is] the first time that this kind of scale has been brought to screen in a realistic and believable fashion,” he said. “And the sheer power of every single scene — when you see a giant, 25 story tall robot throwing a 25 story tall monster through a giant building and for it to be done so… viscerally – it’s never been captured on film before – ever. So it is mind-blowingly huge.”

But while Rob finds it more than a dream come true to have “Pacific Rim,” and “True Blood” on his summer plate, his down-to-earth folks would still like to see him every night on their television screens.

“‘Eastenders’ is still my favorite show and I watched it every day growing up and they’re still like, ‘When are you gonna quit that rubbish and go back to ‘Eastenders.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, you know, who knows. Maybe one day,’” Rob laughed.

“They still think it’s kind of amazing that anybody recognizes me in England,” he added. “They still think it’s absolutely amazing that someone that they’ve never met knows who I am and you need that kind of grounded family upbringing sometimes, I think, in this industry.”

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Catch Rob in “True Blood” this Sunday night at 9 PM on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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