Jim Parrack, True Blood
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday's episode of True Blood. Read at your own risk.]
Bon Temps lost one more resident in Sunday's episode of True Blood — but thankfully, Hoyt didn't meet his maker in the process.
This was definitely a trying season for Hoyt. After Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) broke his heart by sleeping with his best friend Jason (Ryan Kwanten), Hoyt struggled to find his place in the supernatural soup of Bon Temps. First, he decided he wanted to be a fangbanger in hopes that Jessica would take him back. Then, in a shocking development, he decided to join the supe-hating group called the Obamas, but couldn't bring himself to kill Jessica.
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Instead, Hoyt decided to leave Bon Temps for a job in Alaska working on an oil rig. But first, he asked Jessica to glamour him so he could forget the memories of both her and his lifelong friend Jason in one of the more heartbreaking scenes on the HBO series.
So is this really the end of Hoyt Fortenberry? TVGuide.com caught up with Hoyt himself, actor Jim Parrack, to find out what it was like to say goodbye to True Blood after five years, whether Hoyt will ever return and what's next for the 31-year-old actor:
Is this really the end for Hoyt?
Jim Parrack: I mean, the real honesty is that I don't know. I know that [executive producer] Alan Ball told me that they didn't want to kill him, that Hoyt's going away because Hoyt's had enough. But Alan was adamant that one of the reasons they wanted to do that was to leave him the option to have a return.
I think that if it did end this way and Hoyt never came back, it would be good storytelling because it's just a complete journey from somebody who was utterly dependent upon other people, never stuck up for himself, or got to think for himself and then to fall in love and all the betrayal and hardships and him saying, "You know what, I've got to take care of myself." I think it told a whole story.
Let's talk about filming the glamouring scene, as well as the scene where Hoyt doesn't remember Jason. How hard was that for not only you, but for Deborah and Ryan?
Parrack: It was tough for all of us. Those were my two best friends on the show. When I found out, when Alan called me to tell me what was going to happen, I didn't want to tell everybody right off. I pulled Ryan and Deborah aside and they both got emotional and I got emotional. The day that we shot the scene, which I haven't seen it yet, it felt good. I think it was easy enough for all of us because there were parallels there. What was happening in the imaginary situation was us saying goodbye and the three of us were also saying goodbye.
Do you think this was the most-fitting ending for him? Are you glad they didn't kill him off?
Parrack: Oh, yeah. The writers have always been so good and so in touch with the actors. What I do like best is I didn't end up stepping on a land mine, or a vampire didn't fall out of a tree and snap my neck or something. It was this progression to this choice being made. The character had experience. He was now going to make a choice and I like that. I like when you see people making choices because change has happened in their life. So I'm glad Hoyt's still alive and I like that it was his choice. He says, "I'm going to go."
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Hoyt did a 180 this year, suddenly wanting to be a fangbanger then even jumping on the Obamas' side. A lot of viewers were surprised by his quick turnaround. How did you feel about that?
Parrack: I had to put myself in a place of there being a vacancy. We can't usually be that way in life, but there are exceptions to this. When everything in a person's life is gone, ripped-out gone, it's not that you stay empty for so long, so you replace it with something else very quickly. In Hoyt's case, it wasn't just lost in a "life's tough" kind of way. It was betrayal ripping, first the father, then the mother, then a love, then a best friend out of a very pure and innocent heart. There was a big wound and a vacancy there and when somebody comes along and says, "Hey man, we're for you," it's something you grab on to very quickly.
So if it had been a couple seasons ago and Hoyt met these guys and became one of them, that wouldn't be believable, but because there was this vacuum in his heart for some kind of meaning, some kind of love, some kind of acceptance because they rushed in quickly and said, "Hey we're for you," I think it's a pretty reasonable thing to grab a hold of.
How do you think Hoyt's exit will affect Jason and Jessica in the long run?
Parrack: There's a couple different things they could do. They could either kind of be touched by the cost of their actions together and draw a line or a boundary in the sand, or they could say, "Because of that loss, we better make it count, better make it worth something."
I think that when we shot it, a strange thing happened where so much of my time playing Hoyt has been about the Jessica story and that love. A real interesting thing happened that day we shot it, where as I was telling them, "Okay, let's go, put me under, glamour me," it was just an instinct I had, it was really moving. I kept looking to Jason, I kept looking to Ryan and thought, damn, I'm never going to see my friend again. So out of the two, the love for her was more intense, but I would say the love for him was deeper and I didn't even know that until we got in the moment.
Do you hope that Hoyt is happy off in Alaska?
Parrack: Yeah, I do. I was surprised by how moved I was to say goodbye to the part. I thought all my sadness would be toward the people I worked on the show with. The day we did it, I'm like "Damn, this is the last time I'll play that part." I loved the character.
Was it hard for you to leave the set?
Parrack: No. Alan and everybody did a wonderful thing on my last day. The directors said, "Let's get one more take," and Alan had come down and brought out a cake and said, "Thank you for these five years" and everybody was there. It was just beautiful.
It wasn't the kind of thing where there were any hard feelings in any direction. I wasn't upset when I heard I was going. I thought it was good storytelling, but there was a lot of feeling because we'd been very close and that part has had a lot to do with opening up some of the opportunities that I have now. It's been a blessing, but no, it wasn't hard to go. There's just a lot of feeling.
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What's next for you?
Parrack: Oh, man, so right now I'm in Texas, I'm doing a movie with my acting hero, Robert Duvall, called A Night in Old Mexico with Jeremy Irvine and the great Luis Tosar from Spain and it's just a dream. Then, next month, I go to Mississippi. I can officially announce I'll be playing the role of Cash in the movie version of As I Lay Dying, with James Franco directing. So that'll be my first lead kind of thing in a movie. It'll be James and I and Tim Blake Nelson. It's just a blessing. It's amazing. It's like a dream, you know.
Are you sad that Hoyt is gone? Were you surprised by his exit? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.