'True Blood' exclusive: Lafayette speaks!

True-Blood-Nelsan-Ellis_l WARNING: Stop reading if you have not watched the season premiere of True Blood. I mean it. Everyone else, onward and downward…

Now that you’ve seen the season 2 premiere of True Blood, join me in a chorus of “Hallelujah, Lafayette lives!” Although last November’s cliff-hanger seemed to suggest that series creator Alan Ball was remaining faithful to Charlaine Harris’ books and sending Nelsan Ellis’ fierce, flamboyant alter ego to an early grave, Sunday’s debut confirmed what many fans had hoped: Ball decided to spare the wildly popular character. But why? In this exclusive interview, Ellis has the surprising answer to that question, as well as scoop on another possible detour Ball has up his sleeve — this one involving a deep connection between Lafayette and Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric.

When you first signed on to the show, did Alan Ball assure you he would not be following the books when it came to this character?

NELSAN ELLIS: No, no no. When I first started it was only a one-year contract, so I thought I was a goner after the 12th episode. In fact, [Alan] didn’t tell me that he was bringing me back until after the table read for [the season 1 finale]. He was like, “You know we’re not killing you, right?” And I was like, “I didn’t know but thanks for telling me.”

What was your reaction?

ELLIS: Thank you! I have a job for next season! That was my reaction.

Did he explain to you why he let Lafayette survive?

ELLIS: Not really. He just said he decided after the bar scene in [the pilot], but he didn’t tell me until the 12th episode. He didn’t really go into any detail as to why he decided to keep me — not to me anyway.

When did you realize the character was gaining a large following?

ELLIS: I’m beginning to realize it now. At first I didn’t. I am realizing more and more that people have seemed to respond well to Lafayette, much to my surprise.

Why are you surprised?

ELLIS: Well, because I would not know what to do with Lafayette or what to think about him.

Was it hard keeping his fate a secret during the hiatus?

ELLIS: It was hard. The question was asked every single day.

How will the experience of being locked in a dungeon and almost dying change Lafayette this season?

ELLIS: It certainly humbles him. It shows him there are some situations he just can’t get himself out of no matter how slick he is. He’s going to have to suffer the consequences of what he’s done. And I think he reflects back on his behavior and maybe for a second thinks about changing.

In an upcoming episode [SPOILER ALERT], Lafayette ingests a lot of Eric’s blood. The homoeroticism in that moment was off the charts. Was that something you were conscious of while shooting it?

ELLIS: I wasn’t. I know Alexander said that from his standpoint he thinks Eric is a little drawn to Lafayette. My intentions were that I was completely terrified of Eric and what he can do to me. As far as I know, I hated his guts. It’s funny what the camera picks up… Alan has been making jokes about me and Eric and what’s to come in the third season. I definitely think I’ll be one of his henchmen, but as far down the rabbit hole as that goes, I don’t know.

So we can assume that Lafayette does, in fact, survive to see a third season?

ELLIS: I think I’m back for the third season.

Do you think it’s possible for Lafayette to settle down and have a normal relationship with a guy?

ELLIS: I don’t know that his normal is the general norm for everybody. I don’t think he’ll ever be normal to everybody’s standards. I do hope, though, that the dude can find someone that he loves and that loves him back. Everybody should be capable of that — even Lafayette. (Additional reporting by Jeremy Medina)

More True Blood:
Ken Tucker on the season 2 premiere

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  • Dez

    So glad he`s back! I am happy that Ball et al. decided to not be *too* faithful to the books.
    I sure thought he was a goner though and was prepared to be very bitter!

  • dvmom

    I am also glad that he did not get killed off. Here’s hoping they don’t keep him in that dungeon too long!

  • Adam
  • GBB

    Hmmm, why do I have the feeling that Alan Ball will completely destroy Eric’s character to keep the viking away from AB’s precious Bill and Sookie?
    And I don’t care much for Lafayette. He’s just the bad old stereotype of the sassy gay man that straight people love to watch.

  • Realme2008

    I’m so happy Lafayette lives! I’ve known this for a while though, because I read spoilers. The actor is so talented and adds so much to the character. Would be a shame to waste all that talent. I’m really interested to see what happens between Eric and him. I hope he isn’t turned, and maybe they (the writers) won’t because they are making it so obvious.

  • Gem

    It too my a minute to recognize Lafayette and I didn’t realize that was Eric for certain until the end. I’m glad Lafayette is hanging around but unsure of what that means for the story line in general as this series is based on books.
    PS – I’m really starting to hate Jason.

  • swe

    True Blood is the hottest show on tv: http://www.actressscene.com/search/label/Anna%20Paquin

  • Miranda

    As a longtime fan of the books, I was just sure that body in the car was Lafayette’s. I’m *so* glad it wasn’t. In the books, Lafayette was not that exciting a character (he was fine, just not nearly as interesting as on the show). I would’ve been so irked if they had killed him on the show!

  • mike hunt

    am i only who doesn’t care if he lives or dies…his character is very average to me

  • Jill

    A lil cocoa, a lil cocoa.

  • me

    Awesome!!! He’s going to be in season 3. It sounds like Eric and Lafayette may end up as Lovers or something. Or did I read that wrong?

  • Wires

    Please change your headlines, between yours and Kristin’s I was spoiled for the episode. Atleast yours was a bit more ambiguous than hers.

  • PJ

    Everybody should, but everybody isn’t.

  • JRose48

    I read the books and I like when things are true to the books, but this was one time I was truly hoping they didn’t follow them and kill Lafayette. I like his character. He can be flame-y sometimes, but sometimes when he’s talked to Tara or Jason you see another side of him that gives him more depth.

  • cregis

    There is an old saying that there is nothing new under the sun. I haven’t watched this series, but does anyone remember Dark Shadows? Forty years ago(I know the Dark Ages), I watched this series every afternoon. Poor Barnabus Collins did not want to be a vampire and he loved Victoria Winters, a great love triangle with the evil Angelique. I really like Charlaine Harris’ other series about the girl who sees dead people.

    • Tricia88

      Anyone who loves this would no doubt love Dark Shadows. Check it out on DVD!! Quite a few things were *borrowed* from that series.
      I am soooo relieved about my dear Lafayette!! I hope he doesn’t change AT ALL! He is wonderful like he is! My fav by far!

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