Rutina Wesley and Kristin Bauer van Straten
While Bill is off praying to a bloody deity and Sookie is dealing with a mysterious, centuries-old vampire who she's been promised to, True Blood's Tara (Rutina Wesley) has been learning the ways of being a vampire. As the season comes to a close, Tara has certainly transformed from a constantly angry victim to a take-charge baby vamp.
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Case in point: Knowing she wouldn't take orders from anyone but her maker, she beheaded the new Sheriff of Area 5. However, her hasty action forced Pam (Kristin Bauer) to take the fall for her progeny. With that one act, an entirely new bond between the duo was born — one that made Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), and the audience, take note. Was there something more going on between Tara and Pam? After all, vampires do tend to love the ones they're with! TVGuide.com turned to Wesley to get the scoop on Pam and Tara's burgeoning relationship as well as what's in store for the finale and how she's handled being one of the undead this season.
Looking back at this season, how do you think Tara has changed since becoming a vampire?
Rutina Wesley: She's become the thing that she hates the most and the ultimately she's had to embrace it. Her relationship with Pam takes a huge precedence, because she never really had a good mother, and I think Pam has become that tough-love mother for her without throwing bibles and bottles at her. [Laughs] It's nice to see the two of them sort of have a relationship, even though Pam is still hard on her. But as we saw in the last episode, I think Tara may feel like she has something for her, but she doesn't quite know what it is. Tara has become more stable. She's definitely realized her strength that she has, and I also think she appreciates vampires more because she is one now and she understands Bill (Stephen Moyer), Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), and Pam a little bit more.
Has it been more fun for you as an actress to get to play a vampire?
Wesley: It's been very challenging. It's like starting all over again. I've had to do some research. At the beginning of the episodes of this season, I cast her as a wild, angry, possum, and then I think she becomes like a black panther. I've changed my voice. I've changed the way I walk, the way I hold myself. It's a complete transformation without losing the essence of Tara. And as the season has come along, we've gone back to Season 1 Tara with some of her humor that I've missed, because she's been the victim a lot. So, it's nice to see her crack a joke here and there.
She has pushed everyone away this season, including Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Sookie (Anna Paquin). Do you think that will be permanent, or might she let them back in?
Wesley: Ultimately Tara will probably get caught back up in that, but I do think that that's going to take time. I think she is still extremely upset with them, even though they saved her life, so to speak. Even though she's dead, she's still there. She will, hopefully, come to terms with that. Like I said in that scene with Bill, there will always be some pull to save her, and I think that Tara eventually will come running to save the day. In the finale, you'll see us most likely all come together, and there'll be a lot of crazy things happening.
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Pam and Tara's relationship has really evolved this season, especially when you consider Pam took the fall for Tara killing Elijah. Will Tara try to save Pam from the Authority?
Wesley: I do think she feels a lot of guilt, but I also think she [thinks], "Wow, she really cares about me." Ultimately, Tara's very loyal to those who are loyal to her. She's going to try to do everything she can to help Pam. We all will come together in that finale and have to be dealing with the Authority. It's a very cool ending. It's definitely a different cliff-hanger than we've had before. It's going to be very, very interesting to see how Tara gets involved with the Authority and Sookie and everyone else.
Tara seemed particularly uncomfortable by Jessica's comment that Tara might have feelings for Pam. What will we see from that in the finale?
Wesley: I do think that there is some confusion. She's embarrassed by it. She's had [mostly Pam's] blood, so usually when you have a vampire's blood, there's those crazy sex dreams. Romance is the furthest thing from Tara's mind, but she may not be able to stop it. When she saw Pam being carted off, she's questioning in her head, "What is going on? What am I feeling for this woman that's taking care of me?" It's very weird for Tara, because she hated Pam last season, and now all of a sudden she's feeling strange emotions. I think that the finale will answer all of those questions.
You've spent most of the series opposite Nelsan and Anna. Was it nice to change things up and work with Kristin and Deborah Ann?
Wesley: It was very cool. They're really two of the greatest actresses I've worked with. I've been very blessed because I've worked with everyone on the show, even if it was for a hot second. I've been able to work with everybody, even Denis O'Hare. It's just been great for me to get to have scenes with everyone, but especially Deborah Ann, who I think is so great and so gracious. And Kristin has been so kind to me and generous as an actor. We've had a lot of fun together. We have great chemistry, and I know a lot of people are actually liking our story line this season, and that makes me happy. I think a lot of people are actually loving the vampire story line versus Tara the victim.
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How did you feel when you learned you were going to be a vampire and would have to play a different kind of angry Tara?
Wesley: She definitely has the power of, "If someone says the wrong thing to her, she can knock them across the room." I remember [executive producer] Alan [Ball] saying that to me when he came up to me last season. He was like, "If someone says something about you being on a plantation, and they think it's funny, you can knock them across the room and it's like nothing for you." I think Tara's going to learn to control that, but she also has a confidence now that she didn't have before, because she's immortal. One of my favorite scenes of all season, was me and Deborah Ann at the bar, and Deborah says to me, "Tara, you know we're going to live forever. We're going to be young forever."
I think that seeps into Tara's mind. [She's] like, "Wow. You're right. I'm going to be like this forever. And this is something I can dig in and be proud of and be confident about." I definitely think Tara's come into her own. She's definitely embraced it. She's loving being a vampire now. I think the first feeding was gross for her, but she learned to love it because it's her natural instinct as a vampire to feed. I do secretly miss Tara and Sam (Sam Trammell) together. I don't know if a vampire and shifter can ever be together, but my secret dream is that they'll somehow live happily ever after. [Laughs]
Check out Sookie and Tara's reunion in this clip from Sunday's season finale of True Blood, which airs at 9/8c on HBO: