'True Blood': Sookie's new love interest teases what's to come (hint: plenty of nudity)

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Image Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

Last night on True Blood, it’s no exaggeration to say sparks flew when Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) met fellow halfling Ben Flynn. In episodes to come, Ben will help Sookie investigate Warlow, the ancient vampire who murdered Sookie’s parents, which means the two fairies are sure to grow closer. And judging from the steamy season 6 promo, the relationship is bound to ruffle some shippers’ feathers. Rob Kazinsky, who plays Ben, talked to EW about his many (I repeat, many!) nude scenes in store, why Ben’s a better match for Sookie than her supenatural exes, and how he expects fans to react. Read on…

After breaking out in his native England on EastEnders and briefly playing Dr. Rick Appleton on Brothers & Sisters, Kazinsky admits he wasn’t previously familiar with True Blood. Cue the binge-watch: “I did sit down for 60 hours over three days and actually watch every single episode before my audition,” Then he laughs, “I realized as soon as I watched it that I better get down to the gym. It’s an intimidating proposition to be that naked.”

And naked he will be. Kazinsky can pin that on his own naivete about Bon Temps’ bare-all policies. “I’ve never done nudity in my [career] ever, in any way shape or form,” he says. “When they draw up your contracts… you can specify, like, ’45 degrees of the right cheek’ [laughs] and get really specific with it. I didn’t give them any demands whatsoever, which means that I’m pretty much naked the entire season. I don’t think there’s an episode that goes by where I’m not naked. And that was incredibly intimidating.”

Almost as intimidating as meeting his costars, apparently. Kazinsky reported to the True Blood set after filming Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (out July 12), and recalls, “I always thought I was a big guy. For Pacific Rim, I got up to 215 pounds. I’ve always been a huge guy on screen. Then I meet Joe Manganiello, and it’s like, ‘Well, okay then.’ [He's a] different species of being. … His arms are the size of my legs. … That guy has more hair on his head than I’ve had anywhere on my body for the entirety of my life! He’s just a monolith. I said to Mark [Hudis, then True Blood's showrunner], ‘Do you want me to look like Joe? Because that’s not really going to happen.’”

Happily Kazinsky has found himself in the fae world, where he can inject a bit of testerone. “I’m a hairy fairy,” he jokes. “They wanted somebody that wasn’t particularly fairy-like.If you see me, I’m not particularly lithe or delicate. I certainly seem more human than most of the other fairies on the show, so I think that, perhaps, [it grounds] the fairy fantastical element [viewers are used to seeing].”

Ben’s introduction makes for a nice change for the show’s heroine as well. Though Sookie resisted Ben’s advances last night, Kazinsky promises they’ll develop a deeper connection throughout the season. “One thing that Sookie has never had is a similar person to herself. She’s been with vampires, she’s been werewolves, she’s been with the darker side of the supernatural, but she’s never found somebody that is in the same shoes as she is,” he notes. “[Their relationship] should feel like this is almost the home where she belongs. … After she’s been struggling with the darkness in previous seasons, this is the first time she’s had some kind of a ‘light’ guy in her life. That’s the main attraction for her.”

Although Ben proves soothing for Sookie, when it comes to her exes Bill (Stephen Moyer), Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) Alcide (Manganiello) — not to mention her brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) — his arrival on the scene won’t be without some tension: “When a new man comes into Sookie’s life, all the old men have to come out,” he teases, then adds, “but mainly it’s about Ben and Sookie — how Sookie’s always been on the precipice of cataclysm with these guys, and here’s the one guy that gives her a shot at a happy life.”

Now well-versed in True Blood culture, Kazinsky is bracing for when that tension moves beyond the small screen and into the fan communities. “I’m expecting people to hate me and hate the character simply because I’m not Eric or Bill. There’s the pro-Eric camp and the pro-Bill camp, and everyone’s going to be like, ‘Who’s this douchebag? Who’s this fairy? He’s not scary!’” Still, Kazinsky has confidence that Ben will win over shippers just as he wins over Sookie: “I can promise, over the course of the season, Anna and I will earn our own little fan group — I hope!”

Read more:
‘True Blood’ recap: Hunters and Information Gatherers
Lauren Bowles previews ‘True Blood’ season 6: The bloodiest season yet and the major death that made everyone cry
‘True Blood’: 15 Sexiest Hookups

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