Anna Camp Chats About Her Role On 'True Blood,' Getting Nude With Daniel Radcliffe & More
for her roles in "Equus," "Columbinus," and "The Scene."
She just recently wrapped up the movie "Forgetting the Girl" and chatted about her love for the theater, her upcoming guest star roles, and how she turned "True Blood's" Sarah Newlin from a black and white character to a colorful (i.e., slightly crazy) real person.
Chelsea Doyle: Hi, Anna. Thanks for talking with us. You know you're kind of a Broadway darling at the moment.
Anna Camp: Aw, yeah, I've done a few shows on Broadway. I've had like the best time of my life. It's the hardest work I've ever done.
You co-starred in "Equus," "Columbinus" and "The Scene," and they're all a little bit controversial. Or at least your roles in them are. Do those offbeat kind of stories and roles really appeal to you?
Oh they appeal to me way more than any sort of standard run of the mill kind of characters. It's the characters that those projects bring about ... it's really interesting dynamics. They're characters you don't get all the time, so yeah I love the more controversial aspects of it because the people are very real and ... it's not a safe thing. It's not a safe project. I'd rather do something and take a risk, and art is about... to me it's about pushing people's buttons and getting people excited about things. If you do something sort of normal run of the mill project, then you don't get the opportunity to ... art should offend people! (laughter) You can't please everyone, I think. I'd rather do something to get people excited and talking to something that is safe.
I have to ask, because you starred with Daniel Radcliffe in "Equus," and he has some pretty crazy Harry Potter fangirls.
Oh you're telling me! (Laughs)
Did you have any strange run-ins with his fans while you were doing the production?
Well, I mean, we were both nude on stage together. And after the show I sort of stopped going out the stage door, because I'd sneak out with the rest of the cast. Dan would always go out and sign autographs. I did it for awhile, but then it became ... the girls would come up to me. And you would think they would be joking, but they were not joking. They'd be like 'hey ... we really hate you.' (Laughs) And I'd be like 'Oh .... okay. Thanks for coming.' You know what I mean?
And they would pointedly ... you could tell they were just like 'we wish we could be in that position with him.' Not literally. I don't know, maybe literally.
Might be a little literally.
(laughs) Slightly, slightly! It was really funny. I mean they were diehard, DIEHARD fans, and it was great. They came to the theater, some people came multiple times. You know he really grabbed a really great crowd to come and see our show, and a younger crowd too which was great. Broadway really needs to get the younger audiences in and he really helped with that. I had the greatest time working with him, he's an awesome actor.
What would be your dream role for a play to be in?
Well it won't happen probably for years, but I'm from South Carolina originally and one of my favorite playwrights is Tennessee Williams. So at some point I'd love to play Blanche from "Streetcar Named Desire." I just love, love that play. It's just something that I've always wanted to do ever since I was little. I was working on the monologue when I was in high school. I can't play her til I'm in my late forties, but it's definitely my ultimate dream role to play.
It's interesting you say that, because getting into "True Blood," I can see some things Blanche and Sarah have in common.
Yeah! I didn't even think of that, but definitely. They're both these Southern women who have this idea of what it means to be a Southern belle. And sort of, revolting against that but feeling confined by that ... that's true! I didn't even think of that. But they definitely have similarities.
The interesting thing about Sarah is that she's a really high powered woman in a lot of ways, and very intelligent, but she keeps on trying to be the woman behind the man rather than just coming out of her own shell. And she seems to resent that in time with Steve, so it'd be interesting to see her come out as a leader, what do you think?
I know, I would love to see her totally break away from the Fellowship of the Sun or take over the Fellowship of the Sun. You know, and really see what she can do, because I think now that she feels betrayed by Jason and her husband - because her husband didn't give her all the information about the war and everything - I think she could really take over and go crazy. (Laughs) Or I would like to see her really lose all faith in God and go searching for her own path, and find her own world, and really hit bottom before she can rise up out of it again. So I think there's great potential for the character, I hope that the writers think so too.
Oh I think they do. They gave you more and more to do as the show went on, probably because your portrayal of Sarah was interesting because there was a lot going on under the surface. She seemed on the surface to be a typical preacher's wife and then there's all these little things that came out. She became a very three dimensional character as the story went on. I think a lot of people would love to see more from her and maybe see her with Jason down the road to see what happens.
Yeah, I hope something really crazy happens to her. It's funny you say that, Alan Ball actually when we were first shooting he said that he had this idea of what Sarah was, and how it was pretty black and white. And how she was pretty dead set against the vampires, and just wanted to seduce Jason purely because she wasn't attracted to her husband anymore. They did say that through watching what I was doing with each episode, they began to make it more real and make her really believe that she was lost and needed to find love again and she was doubting everything that she had known for the past ten years, being with her husband. It's cool you noticed that.
The Fellowship of the Sun was actually really developed well, and I think the whole thing with Sarah and that she used to be a sympathizer to vampires. I think that was one of the most interesting things to come out of that storyline, because it was so how Sookie or someone else could go if things went a little wrong. That's what made her a more complicated character than some of the others.
Exactly, you don't know what you're capable of believing if something happens to you personally. And you want to go off on revenge or try to make something right, but when something happens to you personally ... how your beliefs change and how you put these blinders on. It's something that could happen to anybody in the world, and I think they did a good job of showing that Sarah is not just this spiteful power-hungry woman but she's definitely hurt and lost and looking for answers.
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Absolutely and when Sookie got there and Sarah was very sympathetic to her, and almost wanted to save her from what was happening, and that was again a redeeming quality about her character.
I'm just so thankful that they gave me a three dimensional character to play, and I had the best time working on that show, so I'm glad you like it. I'm really excited especially for the last two episodes.
Oh good so we do see the Newlins again!
Nooo, well, I can't really ... (laughs). I can't really say that. But I love the show.
But you were a fan of the show before you got cast right?
Yes, I actually just did this interview and they asked me how I got involved, I actually auditioned for Sookie!
Can you give us any spoilers about whether the Church will have a role in next season?
Well I can't really, but I think it would be crazy if we didn't come back because the Fellowship is such a strong group. If we just sort of vanished and our whole cause was just sort of done and gone I don't think that would make much sense. I'd like to see us come back, and I think it would make sense to have us come back. We could either tie it up or we could be fighting the vampires. The vampires need to have that force to be fighting against, to live in society and be fighting against something besides other supernaturals is part of the show I think, that sort of balance.
I think one of the major parts of the show is actually the human hatred of vampires and the fear of vampires, more than the supernatural elements. The Fellowship kind of represents that.
Yeah I do too. I think that it's such an interesting concept because you go back to all the metaphors of what the vampires are representing in society today ... any minority or gay people or anything like that. And I think to have that force looking down upon it really creates an interesting and dynamic story. I'd like to have that back (laughs) for more than one reason!
(Laughs) I think we'd all like that too. I was watching a scene recently, it's the one with Jason's fantasy of Sarah when he was starting to look at her in a different way and she's cooking....
Oh (laughs) right yeah!
Was that hard to shoot? There are so many funny things that happen with Sarah and Jason, I can't imagine keeping a straight face for that!
It was crazy and it was all improv, I improv'ed all of that! So the director Michael Raymond that day and Alan Ball wrote that episode, all it said in the script was Sarah licks barbeque off her finger, that's it! And they said they wanted me to ... they had the music blaring and they were like 'just dance.' We did it a couple of times and then they were like 'we're going to make it like his fantasy, so just go all out! Go go go, go farther then you think you'd ever go.' And I was like 'really?!' There's a lot of stuff they didn't use that I was just like laughing and breaking up I'm sure, because it was definitely a funny fun way over the top scene to shoot. I'm happy that they picked out a couple of moments I didn't even know they were going to use.
I watch the show with a whole group of people and we're all really into it, and when you did the last line 'I hate your hair!' we all burst out laughing.
I'm glad, I'm glad you thought it was funny! I love the dynamic and working with Michael McMillian, and he's really funny too. We sort of clicked and I think he plays his character very well.
Tell me a little bit about Forgetting the Girl, the movie you were just filming.
They all just wrapped about a week ago, I wrapped a little over a week ago. It's a psychological thriller about this guy, he's a headshot photographer in New York, and he's running away something in his past. He's a little socially awkward and he has these issues with women. On the surface the movie seems to be a romantic comedy, and you don't expect what happens to happen, which was really cool. Which was why I was really attracted to the script, because there are these great twists that you don't see coming. My character is one of the first few women to um ... vanish? I don't know if I can say exactly. She goes out with this guy, he seems like a normal every day guy next door, someone you wouldn't expect to be so lost and troubled, and I'm just one of the women that get in his path.
Forgetting the Girl Anna Camp
What's ahead for you in this year, what projects are you working on?
Oh I just finished a little spot on "The Office." I got to be Pam's sister which was really cool, and I had a couple of scenes in that. I got to do the season finale of "Glee," I just had a couple of days on "Glee" and I can't wait to see it, it's a really cute show.
Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
Follow Chelsea on twitter at http://twitter.com/mustbethursday.