True Blood's Jim Parrack hopes show goes out on a high note

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - “Do I know you?”

Those simple, sad words said so much in last weekend's episode of True Blood, the seventh and final season of which is airing on HBO Canada. The question was asked by Hoyt Fortenberry, played by Jim Parrack, who hadn't been seen on the show in two years.

Jason Stackhouse, played by Ryan Kwanten, called Hoyt on the phone to tell him his mother had been killed. Ryan and Hoyt grew up as best friends. But Hoyt doesn't remember Jason any more.

Late in season five of True Blood in 2012, Hoyt left his vampire-plagued home town of Bon Temps, La., for the clear air of Alaska. But before he departed, Hoyt asked his vampire ex-girlfriend Jessica, played by Deborah Ann Woll, to “glamour” away his memories of both Jason and Jessica.

“The only two things they erased were the memory of Jason and the memory of Jessica,” Parrack explained. “And Hoyt has no memory of the experiences that were shared with those people.”

Luckily Parrack suffered no real-life memory loss between the time he left True Blood and his return this season for a multi-episode arc. But that doesn't mean it was an automatic “yes” when he was approached about coming back.

“I liked the arc I had where, in the first season Hoyt was very much like a child, and by the end of it he made a man's decision to strike out on his own,” Parrack said. “So I couldn't have been happier with it. I liked the way it ended. I felt like I had done everything I could with that character without starting to repeat some things.

“Also, I'm creatively satisfied, I have other things going on (movies, Broadway). But the thing that made me want to come back was just my friends on the show, really. We took big cuts on the money, the schedule was crazy, but there are a couple dozen people on the show that I consider to be my friends.

“Two years is a lot of time for an actor when you're growing. I'm a much better actor than I was when I left the show. It's nice to reinvent the role and think about what may have changed for Hoyt. So I could come back and be a different kind of actor about it, and also do it with my friends. I owe so much of my professional success to the opportunity that (creator) Alan Ball gave me on True Blood. So I wanted to be there for the end if I could.”

True Blood was a phenomenon in its first few seasons, and it inspired many copycats. Parrack was asked for his thoughts on the legacy of the show.

“Ultimately I guess the jury's out on that,” Parrack said. “There's still a lot to see in these last few episodes. But when I look at the way it began, it was a blueprint not only for other shows but for some of us on the show.

“I'm an independent filmmaker and here was the hottest show on television for a while, teaching me things that can be applied in the independent world. In the beginning I know that Alan Ball set a precedent for casting people out of who they are, not out of how well they could audition. So I learned a lot.

“Now it's up to us to finish strong. If the series peters out, then it is what it is. A good hot beginning doesn't make for a great series any more than a great first quarter wins the game for a basketball team. So I hope people watch it and think that we left it all out there on the gym floor. We want to be able to step away and say, 'We fought the good fight.'”

For Jim Parrack and the rest of the True Blood cast, the fight continues on Sunday.

Twitter: @billharris_tv

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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