Marshall Allman Talks True Blood (New Still)

Throughout “True Blood’s” first two seasons we pitied Sam Merlotte for being abandoned as a child. The things he had to do to survive! If only Sam hadn’t been discarded by his terrible parents. But this season we met Sam’s biological parents, The Mickens’, and have universally decided that he was probably better off.

The lone exception being Tommy Mickens. He doesn’t appear to be hiding an ulterior motive the same way mom and pop are. In fact, he seems more hurt by his parents than anything else. See, Tommy’s whole life had also been a lie since the existence of a brother came as quite a shock. Especially one who could also shapeshift.

But perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps Tommy does have a few tricks up his sleeve. At least that’s the feeling actor Marshall Allman left me with by the end of our chat.

PopWrap: You weren’t a super fan before joining the cast, so do you think that helped you audition?
Marshall Allman: The naivete I had coming in definitely helped me because the show’s popularity wasn’t in the back of mind during the audition. It left me focus on playing the character. But then I saw Alan Ball and got nervous. In my first audition I stumbled over the same line twice. Afterwards I looked at Alan and said, “I think it’s because of you.” I feel like he has an Oscar hanging out of his pocket.

PW: What did you relate to about Tommy?
Marshall: He’s obviously in a brother relationship and I’ve had a brother. I have a brother. He’s not dead [laughs]. Sorry I don’t want this to come out and my brother to think I’m trying to kill him off. Sorry David! I have a brother and it’s always fun to play the hang-ups or dysfunctions. That’s when I really feel like my talent gets to fly. I get to sink my teeth into something … no pun intended with a vampire show.

PW: Was the pun intended with the “talent gets to fly” line since your character shifts into birds also?
Marshall: [laughs] Right, exactly.

PW: Talk to me about those scenes, is it odd playing a shapeshifter?
Marshall: It was definitely weird to hear cut and then someone shout “send in Tommy-dog.” It was a trip. It was definitely one of those very cool moments — it’s one thing to think about being a part of a giant production but it’s quite another to actually be shifting into a dog. This is a whole other level.

PW: Sam Trammell kind of hinted that Sam Merlotte will come to regret searching out his birth parents — would you agree?
Marshall: Well, there’s only so much dysfunction he can take. I don’t know how long you can visit with your parents with, but for the majority of the country, Christmas and Thanksgiving is enough. You know?

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