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'True Blood' Star: Pam is a Fighter!

by Jarett Wieselman 7:40 AM PDT, June 06, 2012
Photo: Getty Images

"Delicious" is often a word used to describe True Blood, and while the sexy stars are delectable, there is no more decadent character in all of Bon Temps than Pam.

But season four presented the unofficial vampire queen of Louisiana with a pair of predicaments so severe, fans were able to go beneath the surface (quite literally, in some cases) and discover what makes Pam tick! Turns out, she possesses a backbone so strong, even Kristin Bauer van Straten was taken aback by her creation. That was just one of the revelations ETOnline learned after catching up with the actress to reflect on her season four highs and sneak out a few season five Blood droplets!

ETOnline: Season four was a pretty major one for Pam -- looking back, what did you think of it?
Kristin Bauer van Straten: It's a really biased memory for me because everything is based in memory of getting the script, picturing the scene and then performing it. So what happens is when I finally watch the show seven months later, I'm looking to see if it looks like what I pictured in my head and if I did what I wanted to do. And I feel like I did last year. I had such a, no pun intended, meaty storyline [laughs] -- also, to have Eric losing his memory and choosing Sookie over Pam gave me a lot to do, which is always fun.

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ETOnline: Eric's memory loss was a storyline you'd been pushing for since season one. How did the reality live up to your expectations?
Bauer van Straten: It was better than I thought it would be because they added the dilemma of Pam's rotting face [laughs]. Selfishly I just wanted to see Alex [Skarsgard] act sweet and cute – I mean, in the book he wore pink spandex, which I'm bummed didn’t happen on the show. I thought a 6' 4" Swede in pink spandex would be fabulous, but I guess some things are better on paper. What I didn't realize is I would have this whole other storyline to deal with – which exceeded my expectations. And that always happens with our show. Every year, I've been given more than what I imagined for myself or hoped will happen.

ETOnline: How much time did you spend in the makeup chair last year given the various degrees of decomposition Pam went through?
Bauer van Straten: On average it was five hours. But to just do that one 4-second scene where I pull my face off when Marnie first curses me, that was 9-hours for the test run and then 8-hours on the night to shoot it. Then there were three stages, so I'd sit in the chair, get the first stage applied, then get brought into the field, run the camera for a minute, put me back in the chair for another three hours and then do it again. It was really fascinating process.

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ETOnline: How did you pass the time?
Bauer van Straten: It's the most bizarre five hours because I had three grown men working on the right side of my face. Initially I thought I'd watch something, but you can't – in a weird way you have to help them, so you're constantly moving around. Eventually you just zone out, go completely brain-dead. In the beginning, you're aware of people all over you, but it's a bizarre relationship with these makeup people – it bonds you for life.

ETOnline: I would imagine that goes double for a show like True Blood, where there's so much body makeup being applied given all the nudity?
Bauer van Straten: Yes. 100 percent. I have some photos that hopefully will never see the light of day, but there were two girls all over an almost naked Alex, trying to quickly make him look not-tan and rubbing this makeup over every inch of his body. They were so diligent and so focused on their job, they were totally unaware of what they were doing. I had to take a picture of it. So, yes, we get very intimate very quickly.

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ETOnline: What was the key for you in terms of planning Pam's emotional arc this year?
Bauer Van Straten: When I saw the face melting and losing Eric, I pictured that this would be the season when Pam really crumbles. That's when Alan [Ball, creator] said to me, "But she's also pissed." And that was really a defining moment for me with Pam because when the sh*t hits the fan, that's when you find out about yourself. Pam's a scrapper. She's a fighter till the last second. That last crying rant about the fairy vaginas, when Eric chooses Sookie, was as low as we've ever seen her -- and as an actor, that is half challenging, half nerve-wracking but totally what you hope for.

ETOnline: I know new season secrets are more closely guarded than that photo you have of Alex, but what are you excited for fans to see?
Bauer van Straten: The backstory stuff is pretty fun for me. Alex and I have been asking for years to learn more about Eric and Pam's history – I'd been making up ideas in my head, Alex had been making ideas up in his head and the writers came up with a third idea -- but between the three of us, we came up with something that is the most brilliant, efficient way to show Pam's humanity, what she dealt with, why Pam could be the most unapologetic vampire and why Eric is her one person. Everything is taken to a new level this year.

True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season is now available on DVD, while season five premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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