On the last season of HBO’s fantastical drama “True Blood,” actress Rutina Wesley played Tara, a Louisiana woman enslaved by a delusional vampire.
This season, the fourth for the television show based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse fiction series, Wesley says Tara’s a bit lighter, maybe even happy.
The Las Vegas native chatted with ESSENCE.com about how Tara’s changed, whether she’ll be saving her cousin Lafayette this time around and the time a “True Blood” fan tried to bite her.
ESSENCE: Congratulations on your fourth season of “True Blood,” are you excited?
RUTINA WESLEY: I’m very excited. It’s our best season yet, it just gets better and better. There are a lot of surprises that are going to floor people. We also have some new people who’ve joined our cast that are phenomenal actors like Fiona Shaw.
ESSENCE: What’s different about Tara this season?
WESLEY: My character is going on a very different journey. What I love about Tara is she has calmed down. She’s learned to love herself and perhaps open up and love someone else.
ESSENCE: Following Tara’s cousin Lafayette, played by Nelsan Ellis, and his storyline with his boyfriend, the warlock, is it your turn to save him as he’s done in the past for Tara?
WESLEY: Ultimately, Tara gets swept back up into Bon Temps, then vampires and then she’s taken on this journey which she never dreamed possible. She may or may not be involved with the witches …
ESSENCE: What will Tara’s relationship with her mother be like this season?
WESLEY: After cutting her hair off and being violated by Franklin last season, I think she’s realized that it’s a waste of time to be that defensive, angry and bitter about her mother. She wants to be happy for her mother. She loves her and Lafayette and Sookie but she was like ‘I need to focus on Tara’ and that’s what she did at the end of season three. She’s still feisty though, like she was in season one, which is fun.
ESSENCE: As one of the few Black sci-fi characters on television, what’s your craziest “True Blood” fan story?
WESLEY: Honey, one fan put in her fake fangs and took a picture with the actor who plays Sam and I while biting our necks. I said ‘Now, we’re just going to do a pretend bite, OK? We’re going to act.’ I had to be real clear but she was cool. It was so funny because she was very serious and then she said ‘Can I bite you?’ and I was like ‘Sure.’ You have to roll with the punches.
Be sure to catch Rutina on Season 4 of “True Blood,” every Sunday at 10pm.