True Blood Exclusive: Lauren Bowles on Holly's Growth and the "Wild Ride" of Season 5
True Blood is back for its fifth season, which has meant - so far - Eric and Bill as BFFs, the reveal of the Authority and enough twists and turns to shake a stake at.
Lauren Bowles, who plays the ever so kind Wiccan waitress of Merlotte's, Holly, spoke with me over the phone this week about her character's growth and the "astounding" new season in store.
While the actress initially joined the series on True Blood Season 3, she "secretly knew she had Wiccan tendencies," which of course blossomed into a part of the show's central storyline last year and eventually included Holly helping take down the evil witch, Marnie.
"I kind of joked that season four I spent with my mouth agape. How many variations of shocked can I do?" Bowles said about having to react to birds coming alive and playing with magic, adding: "It's great fun to just jump into the deep end and commit wholeheartedly [to the show]"
And while the witches may have been defeated for now, Bowles thinks we've only glimpsed the extent of Holly's powers.
"I think she's very straightforward and she's not big on keeping secrets, but I think she's by no means a push over either. She's strong. She's a survivor for sure. And what's fun about this season, without giving too much away, we were so sort of focused on her Wiccan life - and that sort of blew up last year - that this year we're going to get to know more about her personally."
So... no more witches?
"I'm more in the Merlotte's world with the folks that work there as well as the sheriff. There have been a couple new people I've gotten to work with but I won't say who."
As of the season premiere we already know that Holly's personal life includes getting super cozy with Sheriff Andy (Chris Bauer) and filming their first naked bedroom scene together.
"That was literally my first day back at work. 'Hi there, you're going to be naked in the bed with Andy,'" the actress laughed, pointing out that hitting the gym became a top priority before shooting that scene.
"What was so funny, I mean [Bauer] literally had to do the heavy lifting on the naked part, he was doing the full package; the poor man literally had a sock on and that was it... And in between takes we're just shooting the shit, talking about kids and stuff. It was the most normal thing in the world to be naked in bed with your co-worker and talk about your kids. Bucky [Writer and Co-Executive Producer Brian Buckner] was like 'This a new kind of post coital!'"
But even with their relationship sailing along smoothly at the moment, this is True Blood. There are always going to be bumps in the road. Does that mean Bowles is ever worried her character might meet her demise?
"Believe me, any time I see my managers calling, my heart skips a little bit, 'Oh God is this the call?' It's common if you're particularly newer to the show because those are usually the expendables but I was talking to [Nelson Ellis, Lafayette] - who in my mind, he's brilliant - and who in the books was supposed to die in the first one, but they loved [Ellis] so much they kept him on and I would think he feels quite secure, but he confessed to me that he [feels] the same thing.
The actress continued:
"But I was like 'You're not afraid you're going to die' and he's like 'Oh, yes I am!' So truly everyone probably but Anna [Paquin] could be killed. It's hard to do the Sookie Stackhouse novels without Sookie."
What else can Bowles tease about Season 5?
"This season is a f@#%ing free for all. I'm not kidding. Everyone is quite literally running for their lives and the stakes, pun not intended, now intended, could not be higher and truly it is going to be a wild ride.
"The very foundation of society that exists within True Blood is being questioned and so it creates mayhem in such a delicious way. I'm pretty convinced the fans will not be disappointed."
True Blood airs a new episode this Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO and you can follow Lauren Bowles on Twitter @LaurenEBowles.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.