Sookie Stackhouse has dated vampires and werewolves, and a shifter even harbored a crush on her, but the True Blood heroine will literally meet her match this Sunday when she stumbles across a fellow faerie played by new castmember Rob Kazinsky.
Though Sookie (Anna Paquin) will be put off by the new guy at first, the two may find more common ground than Sookie has experienced with past love interests — which is why Kazinsky begs Team Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Team Bill (Stephen Moyer) fans to give Ben a chance. TVGuide.com caught up with Kazinsky to get the scoop on his new character and find out why True Blood fans should even trust Ben:
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Tell us about Ben, your new True Blood character.
Rob Kazinsky: Ben is the male equivalent of Sookie. He is a faerie hybrid, but unlike her, he doesn't have a family. He's ostracized from his own people — from fae and humans. He's never felt like he's had a home. He's been a wanderer for a long time; as lost as you can possibly be. He's as scared, wary and worried about everything as she is. Everywhere he goes, vampires are trying to eat him. It's the first character that Sookie has met that is traveling in her wake, rather than her traveling in their wake. She's not a victim this time. She actually understands that he needs her help. That leads to a new side of Sookie, I think.
What kind of pressure did you feel when you learned you'd be playing one of Sookie's love interests?
Kazinsky: I knew there would be a certain backlash from corners of the audience. The Bill, Eric and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) camps certainly wouldn't appreciate having another love interest in town. In terms of pressure, though, that's the whole point. I want to upset those camps. [Laughs] Ben is the first character that has been on this show as a love interest for her that is actually a good guy, that could actually be a life for her. They're both as lost and lonely as each other. They're the same species; both faerie hybrids. So they're more like kin than perhaps she's found before.
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Given Sookie's past relationships, how will she react to the spark between them at first?
Kazinsky: It's played really intelligently. Sookie is as aware as the audience is of her past. She's like, "Oh God, another one?" It's played very tongue-in-cheek. The audience is going to feel like she knows exactly what's happening. She's certainly cautious. The first time she meets Ben, she's like, "Nope. I'm going to keep walking. I'm not doing it this time." But she's a bleeding heart and she'll always take in a charity case, and I don't think there's a bigger charity case on the show than Ben.
Why should the audience trust Ben?
Kazinsky: Because Ben is the first character that she has ever been romantically involved with that wants, genuinely, the best for her. He is a good guy. It's like seeing how the other side of the coin would've landed. He is the first real chance that she has for a fulfilled, happy life with somebody like her. She doesn't have to die. She can have children with him. He's as normal as she is. To her, he's normal. For the fact that she might have a chance at true happiness with somebody, that's why they should root for him. I understand that the Alcide, Bill and Eric camps will resent him, but if they just give him a chance to see what he can do, they might be pleasantly surprised to see what happens.
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He basically comes out of nowhere into Sookie's life, so how soon will we get some background on Ben?
Kazinsky: Episode 4 of this season is going to be a very big episode for Ben where you'll learn a lot more about him. Like Sookie, he's a very guarded person. Everyone he's let in has hurt him. He's had a history of betrayal and misuse like Sookie, and that's going to come out. He has a lot of scars from his past that need to heal and those are going to become more and more evident as the season progresses.
Ben is coming into Sookie's world when she has a mysterious vampire named Warlow coming after her. How will Ben fit into that?
Kazinsky: Ben is fae like her, but unlike her, he's a much longer-lived fae than her and he's much more in touch with his fae part. He's a much more powerful faerie than she is and he's a much more powerful creature than any fae she's probably met before. He's not unaware of Warlow. Warlow is famous in the bible of Lilith. Ben, as usual, comes along at just the right time to get involved in all the drama. He will certainly be involved with everything that comes to happen with Sookie and all the vampires around her over the season.
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In addition to your role on True Blood, you'll also be co-starring in Guillermo Del Toro's upcoming sci-fi robots vs. monsters flick Pacific Rim this summer. How are you feeling about the calm before the storm right now?
Kazinsky: I would like to say I'm anxious and nervous, but I'm really not. I have such faith in Pacific Rim. It is going to change the landscape of how action movies are defined in the future. It's completely groundbreaking. It can only exceed audiences' expectations. And True Blood is very stunning as well. It's a fantastically huge show of a genre that I adore. I get to work with some incredible actors on this show. They're some of the best I've ever met.
Will you be giving Ben a shot? Or do you hope Sookie gets back with Bill, Eric or Alcide?
True Blood airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.