It’s been a long time coming - and a few miscellaneous human lives sacrificed — to get Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) back to his original glory, but he’s back and in full effect. Just last week, we left him with his hand wrapped around a stake piercing Roman’s (Chris Meloni) heart. But his 3,000 years and menacing manner shouldn’t fool you. Russell is still a full-fledged character with goals and feelings — even if some of those feelings involve getting sexually aroused by feeding on humans - just ask O’Hare, who took time out of his rehearsal schedule for Sondheim in the Park’s Into the Woods in which he plays opposite “the salty little thing” Amy Adams, to talk True Blood with Hollywood.com.
“He just kind of wants to be left alone,” reasons O’Hare. He says his character isn’t just a blanket villain — there’s depth there. And as we witnessed last week, Russell isn’t about to get involved in this vampire bi-partisan battle. He’s just out for blood and lust - you know, the usual “funtime” activities. “Russell will stick around until he’s not having fun, and then he’ll split,” O’Hare adds.
But while he’s having fun, will he find time to mend his broken heart? Back in Season 3, Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) killed Russell’s live-in boyfriend and lovable character Talbot, but it’s been over a year, it’s time for the oldest vampire around to let go and move on. And it truly is. “We shot a flirtation,” says O’Hare. “By episode seven or eight you’ll see. It’s an affair, and we all know the character.” Could it be the former reverend, current vampire PR wiz Steve Newland (Michael McMillian) that manages to tame Russell’s wild heart in the wake of Jason’s (Ryan Kwanten)? O’Hare wouldn’t say, but we’ve got a hunch we could be on the right path.
He was a little more forthcoming regarding Russell’s relationship with Eric. “He and Eric have always had an odd relationship,” says O’Hare. And it seems their ideas are more in line than Eric might like to admit. During “Hopeless” Eric tells Roman he’s not on his side or the side of the Sanguinistas, he’s a “pacifist.” Likewise, Russell tells Roman that he thinks both sides of the Mainstream/Sanguista divide are hypocrites - he just drinks blood because he loves it. After the Authority has but Eric through the ringer, and he’s witnessed so much double-crossing between the two sides - including whoever facilitated Russell’s Houdini act - perhaps their mutual hate of the faux-righteous battle will serve as some middle ground.
And while the potential thawing of Eric’s icy view towards Russell is an interesting thought, the fate of Roman is a little more pressing. At the end of “Hopeless” Russell’s iStake malfunctions and he overtakes Roman in order to shove a stake in his heart, but Roman doesn’t explode the way every other staked vampire has in the history of this show - he simply turns grey. Could that mean he makes it?
Well, that’s not so clear. “Roman was so ancient and so powerful,” explains O’Hare. But we weren’t the only ones confused upon first seeing the scene. “I remember reading it and going ‘So what’s the deal? Is he dead? I stake him? But, really, you’ll just have to wait until Sunday,” he teases. Either way, Roman’s could-be demise is unprecedented on the series.
O’Hare left us with that looming question before delving back into New York rehearsals, the tease has already done its worst. Sunday’s answer to the Roman cliffhanger and Russell’s next big move cannot come soon enough.
True Blood airs Sunday night at 9 PM ET on HBO and Into The Woods starts July 23 in New York’s Central Park.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.