This post contains plot details of “Love Is to Die,” the True Blood episode that aired on Aug. 17. Read our full recap here.
The penultimate episode of True Blood‘s final season had many memorable moments, but the one fans will have the most fun reliving involves Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Ginger (Tara Buck). Buck took EW inside what will go down as the series’ funniest sex scene—and explained how not wanting to hand off to your stunt double can lead to a burst of creativity and a great ab workout.
EW: When did you find out Eric was finally going to have sex with Ginger? Did you know when you shot the throne flashback in episode 4?
BUCK: The writers sort of teased me a little midseason. I think I had already shot the flashback. Around episode 5, they started like, “Oh, maybe Ginger finally has a sex scene with Eric,” but they didn’t know what it was gonna be. I almost thought they were kidding. There were really no details at all. I think a couple episodes before [we shot it], Alex actually was like, “Tara, you know we’re actually having that scene.” And I said, “We are?” [Laughs] “Yeah.” “All right. Bring it.”
I heard through the grapevine that originally, the writers thought the punchline to the scene was going to be that Eric was a bad lay—not that Ginger comes almost immediately. Were you aware of that?
Yes! I heard that, too. I think that’s actually the first thing the writers said [to me]: “You finally get to have sex with Eric, and it’s terrible.” I mean, that’s really funny. I was like, “Oh my god.” [Laughs] But I love the way they ended up doing it.
Was there any discussion on set about whether it could really work that quickly for a woman, even with Eric?
No, there was not like, “Is this physically possible?” [Laughs] We just decided that Ginger’s more of a dude than anybody expected. That’s where the joke is: Who knew that Ginger would actually turn out to be the dude in the relationship? I actually think there’s something hilarious about the fact that maybe she’s still a virgin, that she saved herself for Eric. [Laughs] I suppose if it can happen for men, why not? I guess it can happen for women, right? Maybe that’s why.
What was the toughest moment to keep a straight face?
There was a lot of laughter, as there often is, with Alex. Alex is so funny, and he’s really very cool and down to earth. So there’s always that kind of giggling. I don’t know how much of this actually ends up in the episode, but there were a few takes—one in particular—where I totally messed up his hair.
There’s a bit of that in there.
It was crazy, like Einstein hair. Everybody was just howling. I had a foot in his face at one point, and all kinds of very strange things.
The foot take did not make it in. What I wanted to do was break the scene down, moment-by-moment, and hear what was scripted and what you brought to it. That’s how detailed I’m getting.
I love it.
Let’s start with the fact that there is no kiss. Was the idea that a kiss would make it feel too real?
Yes. I think the idea was simply that once Ginger is given the opportunity, she does not want to wait any moment and have it possibly get derailed before she gets the prize. He bites her neck, but really, Ginger wants to just get down to it. [Laughs] And I also think there’s something funny from Ginger’s perspective that it’s not necessarily romantic. It’s the male stereotype: He is, in a lot of ways, an object to her, and she finally thinks she’s gonna get it, and she just dives right in.
Whose idea was the twirl when Eric first escorts Ginger to the stage?
I think that was Bucky [showrunner Brian Buckner, who wrote the episode] or Howie [director Howard Deutch]. We walked through it, and there was something sort of dainty and sweet as we were walking up the stairs. That was the romance, a little bit of, “Is this gonna be a sweet situation?”
And then you take off your shoes and mount the throne.
That was one of the details that Alex said to me, once they actually decided how that scene was gonna go. He said, “Tara, have you read the script?” And I had not. So he described it to me and said, “We have sex on the throne.” I was like, “Oh, that’s perfect. Of course we do.” But the logistics of how that was actually gonna work? It was a small space, and he’s sitting there. The mechanics of it were relatively specific. I just had to get those shoes off and get up on the throne as quickly as possible. [Laughs]
A sentence I have never spoken before: How did the underwear trick work?
I didn’t know either, and just as an actress, that was one of the things that I said: How do we work this out? [Laughs] I don’t want to spoil the illusion, but there’s a trick pair of panties, basically. They’re tucked in there and then they get fake pulled off. But I love the way it shows up onscreen—that they get pulled off in vamp speed, which is wonderful.
Was there a lot of discussion about exactly how long it would last? They always say comedy comes in threes, so to me, it’s perfect that Ginger lasts three thrusts.
I think it might have been written in the script, I can’t remember. But ultimately, it was hardly any action and then Ginger’s done. Three almost felt too quick. So I’m glad to hear that there were three that made it in.
Tell me about deciding what kind of noises you’d make.
Again, I have to give so much credit to the writers, they’re so wonderful. In the script, there was a wonderful note: Ginger doesn’t scream. Everybody’s expecting her to scream, so do something else. What they wrote was a high-pitched, almost electric sound that’s almost a little eerie. So we tried all kinds of things. I thought it would be fun if there was a moment where you think Ginger’s actually having a heart attack—you think it could be the end for her. It isn’t.
But what a way to go.
Exactly, that Ginger goes out on top—literally.
So the hand in Eric’s hair, that was your idea?
That was my idea. I just think there’s something so funny about Ginger pawing at Eric. I always picture her as this jumpy, yappy overenthusiastic chihuahua, and in episode 4, when I bring in the throne and I’m talking about how Eric is sex on a throne—I tried to put that in, where she’s this over sexed chihuahua humping the leg of the chair or something. So I wanted to have some version of that in this episode, a similar technique.
The slow slide off of Eric—what was that like, logistically?
That was my idea only because we had a stunt double [ready]. Our stunts are amazing, as you know, on the show. So I had the stunt double and was thinking to myself, “I only get three pumps. I am not letting somebody else come in here and finish this off.” [Laughs] So the only way to have a dismount is to slowly fall back. In my head, I imagined the funniest thing would be climax and then Ginger just falls out of frame. But we couldn’t shoot it that way. I had imagined a soft pad or something that I could just fall off of him onto. But when we were doing rehearsal, there was no pad there yet. So from the noise—the tea kettle, sort of hissing—she just sloooowly falls backward and then slides off of him. Mostly I slid off of him because I was trying not to get hurt in rehearsal, and then they liked it, and we just kept doing it over and over again. I got quite a good ab workout that day, I will tell you. We shot all day. By the time it was over, I was truly physically exhausted. It was so fun, and we laughed and laughed and laughed, but then it’s always like the last hour or so, everybody gets serious: “Okay, the fun is over. We have to get this done.” The next day I woke up and felt it. It was definitely more challenging than screaming has ever been.
Was Ginger snoring scripted?
That was something that I put in. I didn’t even know if they’d keep it. I was doing it on set, but then I went back in to ADR and did two versions: One a very subtle breathing, and then one a joke track of snoring. They said, “You’re gonna hate us, Tara, but we think we like that take the best.”
And the way Alex just steps over you as he’s walking off—so funny.
I don’t know if that was scripted or not, but I think that’s genius. I love that he fixes his hair before he zips up his pants. I just thought that sequence was perfect.
Why do you think Eric did it: Was he just pent-up and frustrated having played relationship counselor for Sookie and Bill, and there was devoted Ginger, so he decided to throw her a bone?
I think it was that he made a promise [that they would have sex one day, last season]. I don’t know that he ever intended to keep that promise, but there was just that moment when he thought, “Let’s do this. I made a promise. Now is as good a time as any.” I do think he was pent-up and angry.
Eric’s throne is being auctioned off. Are you secretly hoping someone bids on it for you?
[Laughs] No. I mean, I hope it goes to a very loving home, and I’m sure it will. There is good mojo all over that throne. But no, it’s not really my decorative style. I don’t feel sentimental about it at all.
Is this the last we’ll see of Ginger, or do you make an appearance in next week’s series finale?
I don’t know that I should say. But, regardless, this is Ginger’s climax, pun intended. I do love that after everything that Ginger’s been put through, she finally got hers. As an actress who looks after her character, loves her character, feels very emotionally connected and attached, I am proud of Ginger. I feel that she worked very hard for that carrot at the end of the trail, and good for her. I also think Ginger became the archetype for Alexander’s fans, so for all the ladies out there, I took one for the team, and I couldn’t have been happier to do that. [Laughs]