True Blood Exclusive: Michael McMillian on the Return, Meaning of Steve Newlin
Michael McMillian sort of saw this coming.
When filming episodes of True Blood Season 2, the actor says he always thought Reverend Steve Newlin was "carrying a torch" for Jason Stackhouse, and viewers finally saw this play out in a positively hilarious scene from last Sunday's premiere, "Turn, Turn, Turn."
"Shooting that was just fun," McMillian told me over the phone this week. "Ryan [Kwanten] and I love working together. He's an actor I can try anything with and vice versa. We spend most of our time trying to crack each other up, and then trying not to laugh as a result."
But even though the scene was True Bloody in nature - over the top, humorous, full of nudity - McMillian said those involved wanted to "make sure Steve was coming from a real place."
"This is really something he's been struggling with," the star said. "We never really saw Steve's inner life on Season 2. You were seeing the public figure and wondering what is going on with him. So it's fun and kind of a relief as an actor to play a scene where his soul is coming out."
McMillian, who co-writes the True Blood comic book, found out near the end of Season 4 that he'd be returning, as creator Alan Ball simply said, We're gonna turn you into a vampire.
"I thought it was great!" McMillian laughed. "Anyone who plays a human would love to get supernatural powers at some point."
Now what, though? We know Steve has serious feelings for Jason, but does he also have a larger agenda?
"We really can't trust a lot of what Steve was saying in that moment," the actor said, referring to his speech to Jason about how he was turned. "It was a mixed bag of truth and lies… he's definitely in love with Jason. He's coming after him. As for where he falls into the larger vampire picture, you'll see as the season goes along."
Overall, Steve Newlin deals with some seriously controversial topics (religion, sexuality), but the actor says he has "no fear" at all tackling them and the character is "integral to the satirical theme" of the series.
"What interested me was exploring how much of the old Steve still holds water. How much has he changed now? Has he changed his beliefs? Was he always just repressing? The season as a whole takes on the concept of religious beliefs and how God can be used as an excuse for a lot of different behavior. I see Steve as an avatar for that."
True Blood airs another new episode at 9 p.m. on Sunday. Visit TV Fanatic the moment it concludes for my full review.