“True Blood” came about right at the height of HBO’s power as the premier network for quality original TV shows. Debuting in 2008, the series ran for seven seasons and developed a massive audience, creating stars out of actors like Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, and Deborah Ann Woll. But apparently, it appears that some A-listers had early auditions to star in the supernatural series.
Speaking at a special 10th-anniversary screening (via Deadline), “True Blood” creator Alan Ball, of “American Beauty” and “Six Feet Under” fame, spoke about some major actors that were almost cast in the iconic roles.
“Benedict Cumberbatch came and read for Bill,” he said. The character of Bill, played by Moyer, was one of the lead vampires of the series. At the time of casting, Cumberbatch was definitely not the “Sherlock” and “Doctor Strange” star that he is today. Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, the British actor was probably best known for his roles on various TV series and small films. “True Blood” would have been his biggest role, by far, to date.
Moyer’s co-star, Anna Paquin, who played the lead character Sookie on the series, could have been left out as well. Ball revealed that Jessica Chastain auditioned for the role that Paquin ended up winning. Chastain, at that point, was probably best known for her small guest-starring roles on series like “Journeyman,” “Veronica Mars,” and “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.” “True Blood” premiered a full three years before her breakout roles in “The Tree of Life” and “The Help.”
Lastly, back before Season 3, a young upstart Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off of “Winter’s Bone,” auditioned for a role on “True Blood.”
“She was great,” Ball said, “but all the women in the room, because she was going to be Jason’s girlfriend, and she was 17 at the time, were like, ‘No that’s gross.’”
While it would have been interesting to see “True Blood” with Chastain and Cumberbatch as leads, Ball probably did the right thing by not allowing an under-aged Lawrence anywhere near the decidedly adult HBO series.
While there are no formal reboot talks for the series, Ball confirmed he’s heard rumblings about the potential musical adaptation of “True Blood.” No details have been set.