Denis O’Hare: Russell’s Older Than Godric

By Aemac on Mar 22 2010 | 37 Comments »
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Denis O'Hare

Marc Harshbarger with Chicago Now conducted an interview with Denis O’Hare and he asked him a couple of questions about True Blood and his character Russell Edgington.

Let’s begin with True Blood. Were you a fan of the show before you were cast?
I was a huge fan of the show and still am.  I was introduced to the show via a bootleg VHS that had 4 episodes on it.  My boyfriend Hugo and I started watching one Sunday night around 8 and by midnight we were so completely hooked that I was on the phone with Time Warner in New York begging them to give me HBO on Demand NOW.  I have to watch the rest of season one NOW, don’t you understand?

What can you tell us about your character, Russell?
Russell evolved through conversations with Alan Ball [the show's creator], lots of research and hikes with Theo Alexander who plays Talbot, my vampire boyfriend of 700 years. Initially Alan told me that Russell was pretty old and was very charming and had a southern accent.  We decided eventually that Russell was older than the character of Godric and so that puts him at around the 2700-2800-year-old mark – he was “made” sometime in 800 BC.  He’s an ancient Celt. The Celts originated in the Carpathian mountains and then started migrating West in search of the bed of the sun.  In 55 BC they were defeated by Julius Caesar in Gaul.  So, obviously, Russell has worn many masks and his latest “incarnation” as a southern gentleman is just another mask.

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37 Responses to “Denis O’Hare: Russell’s Older Than Godric”

  1. Julie says:

    Hmmmm, does everyone remember last season when Eric told Bill that Godric was over 2000 years old, and that there were “None above him in the new world”? Wouldn’t that mean that no one was older then him? Doesn’t make sense to make Russell older then Godric does it? I certainly don’t remember him being this old in the books! Thoughts?

    • Aemac says:

      So I guess Eric was wrong or maybe not wanting to be believe anyone was more powerful then his maker. I love that Russell is so old and can bring in even more history and possible story lines. No doubt we’ll see the difference between Russell and Godric and it’s not necessarily age that makes the difference. Look at Bill last season, always acting in a very humane way (releasing the FOTS member after the bombing) and yet he’s the youngest of all.

      Could Eric also be wrong in saying Godric could have been sheriff?

      • JC says:

        THAN not then!

      • hayabusa1690 says:

        c the case of humans is not the same as the case of in humans a 40 year old man is obviously going to be stronger than a 15 year old kid.but as in the case of vampires it is 2000 and 300 years as in the case of godric and russell.but in such a long span godric could have experienced much more than russell a lot of fights making him stronger than than such long life spans its not sbout age but about who fought more.and the atmosphere in which they lived.

        • ronsmaqe says:

          Bullshit!! fights and conditions don’t make vampires stronger!! it’s just their age!!

        • tripperMM says:

          eric is slightly over one thousand years old and and godric is about 2,100 years old. russle’s a 2,800-year-old vamp…where did you get 300?

  2. Lividity says:

    Hmmm. “None above him in the new world.” Maybe Eric was remarking that as far as swell guys go, that no one was sweller than Godric. I’m really liking it that they’re making Russell old but I wonder how Eric will relate to someone more powerful than he is, that is not his maker?

    • Aemac says:

      Knowing Eric, not well Liv. The season 1 blu-ray stated that Eric likes answering to no man.

    • wiwa says:

      I remembered him saying that too. I like how you phrased that, “no one was sweller than Godric”. Which brings up the opportunity to ask again, if Eric loved Godric so much, and vice versa, and they lived in easy “flying” distance from each other for soooooo long, why didn’t they have any contact with each other any more? Wouldn’t they desire an occasional get together to break up the tedium of eternal life?I don’t get vampires.

  3. Julie says:

    Yes! I agree it will be very interesting to see how Eric deals with a vampire so much older then him.
    Making Russell so OLD will also add a new dynamic to his character. I am very excited and interested to see how next season is going to go!

  4. shocknawe says:

    Also remember when there was a comment that said something about Eric having an old vendetta – wonder if that is Russell? With Bill gone it seems he wouldn’t have any desire to help get him back for a number of reasons — and I’m not sure he doesn’t know Bill was taken or that he didn’t have some interaction with Lorena. Perhaps that vendetta if it is between him and Russell would become motivation to rescue Bill. Fact or Gorilla shit, who knows.

  5. shocknawe says:

    Oh and I’m really looking forward to the conversation about love between Russell and Bill.

  6. toni says:

    Pretty absurd for him to be older than Godrick, and have a Southern accent, lol. I can see Alan B changing things from the books but at least have them make sense, this doesnt at ALL.

    • Lividity says:

      But think about it: most of us pick up our accents by growing up in a certain place. That doesn’t mean we will be completely stuck with that accent our entire life. Some people move to different cities, even different countries and pick up the local accent or rather absorb it – and this happens in a relatively short time. Perhaps Russell has lived in the Southern US for hundreds of years and the accent came naturally, over time.

    • Aemac says:

      I have a sister-in-law born and raised in NJ and living in Alabama for years, she’s got a southern accent stronger then most southerners I know… if Godric’s been in Miss. for hundreds of years well…….

  7. konfettii says:

    Do we think there is any chance Russell is Godric’s maker? I haven’t been paying much attention to the theories lately, trying to be good.
    CH had Eric’s maker being perverse, forcing his child at first to do things he didn’t want to or enjoy. (Eric said he had to obey, due to the maker/child bond, even when he was ‘desperate to get away’. I found this line to be a very dramatic and important part of the story in regards to a maker’s power. AB really needs to address this IMO, hopefully sooner than CH did)
    Could bem, since AB made Godric such a swell guy (LOVE that Liv hehe) he is now going to address the issue through someone else? Would fit with Eric’s old vendetta, too, if Russell had turned Godric as a very young man – little boy, in Eric’s words – for the purpose of using him for sex. *shrug*

    • Lividity says:

      Haven’t really thought about him being Godric’s maker, but that might account for the old vendetta thing! But I do think it’s weird that all these guys would migrate to the US south, but hey – I did that too so…

    • Patrick says:

      When it comes to the fight between Godric and Russell that is a hard one.. Yes age is a huge factor but I remember reading somewhere that the magister is a century older than Eric but Eric would kick his ass due to having a powerful maker and that he was naturally a warrior while the magister was cut out to be a politician. Russel did NOT make Godric, Godrics maker was a powerful vampire called “The Roman Master” who may have been older than Russel’s maker which could work in Godrics favor a little.. Godric was more of a warrior. Russell may have seen his fair share of fights but he seems to put his strength and age first as to what makes him deadly while Godric was a naturally gifted warrior. What Russell lacks in being a warrior type like Godric he makes up for in age. But while Godric is behind on age he makes up for with his warrior way.. And besides maybe Russells maker wasn’t that strong when he made him and you know Vampire offspring can never be as strong as their makers unless the maker somehow dies and comes back to life at the same age and strength they died at and their child has aged ahead of them during that time.. Godric’s maker was powerful. Russells may not have been at the time of his making. Perhaps thats why Russell has been in hiding especially with Godric on his tail during WW2. And now he’s open about it since Godrics death was made public. Perhaps Godric was not as strong but Russell may have viewed him as a threat.. And Godric is over 2000 while Godric is under 3000 so maybe there’s only a handful of centuries between them and not an entire thousand years. Which works in Godrics Favor.. The stronger your maker the more prone you are to be stronger than the average baby vampire of the same age. There’s a lot of factors that make it difficult to be 100% sure who would win. Age is one of the largest factors but Godric has more than one factor in his favor though..

    • Vulrokun says:

      No. Godric killed his maker.

  8. JC says:

    Please do a spell/grammar check…it is not THEN it is THAN…

  9. Sardaukar One says:

    Is Russell Edgington even Russell’s real name? I don’t see how it can be. Its one of many names he has used over the centuries.
    Russell can speak German. And he mocked the Magister with a spanish accent. So it seems clear to me that he adapts himself to wherever it is he decides to settle. And he blends in.
    Would Russell really let it be known to everyone just how old he is? And what he has been upto through the centuries?
    “None above him in the new world.” How would Eric know this if Russell was keeping his age and true identity secret?

    Speaking of Eric, I find it stupifying that it took Eric and Godric until WWII to find out that the leader of this pack of Werewolves was a vampire. Russell couldn’t enter Eric’s fathers house. Werewolves at Constantinople 400 years later, then 500 years later under Hitler. Who else could it be but a vampire?
    And the werewovles under Russell in the present are anything but highly trained. They are incompetent beyond compare.
    And if Russell was intent on intervening in the affairs of man, what on earth was he doing in ‘viking’ land.
    Hardly the center of the world, even in the 11th century.

    I don’t get how Russell didn’t overhear Eric telling Bill his plan when they went to Fangtasia. Right before Eric tricked Russell. Eric could hear Barry the bellboy and heard Lafayette all the way down in the basement.
    And he heard Godric in the church of the sun. Or whatever it was called. How is it that Russell couldn’t hear them?
    And for supposedly being the most duplicitous vampire in the new world, according to Sophie Anne, Russell sure was a sucker.

    The assumption that Godric would defeat Russell doesn’t seem very likely to me. Russell has a 1,000 years on Godric. Eric’s reaction to Russell shrugging Bill into the ceiling seems to infer he has never seen a vampire that powerful. And that would include Godric. And Bill attacked him at top speed too.
    Godric would probaly have a shot vs Russell; he is 2,000 years old, but considering how often the Vampires remark that the older vampire is more powerful e.g. Bill vs Sophie Anne, Bill vs Pam etc, Godric’s chances can’t be great. Having been in more fights might make Godric more skilled, but not more powerful.
    And whose to say Russell hadn’t been in his share of fights? Its not like he seems to have a problem killing other vampires. How many did he kill through his 3,000 years?

    Why is it absurd that Russell is older than Godric? Granted, there can’t be too many vampires that old left.
    But I think there could be a few more out there older than Godric.
    Could it be that the authority was set upto counter the power of very old vampires like Russell? Protection in numbers etc?

    What I want to know is how they decide who is King or Queen of the states? When did this start in the USA?
    When did the Vampires start dividing the USA into kingdoms? If they did this before WW II, did Russell kill the former monarch of Mississippi so that he could step in?
    And how does a vampire become King or Queen? Clearly age is not necessarily a pre-requisite based on Sophie Anne. Perhaps money? Russell could have accumulated a lot of wealth over 3,000 years.

    Obviously they have left it open for Russell to return. How could this happen?
    Perhaps Alcides ex finds out from Alcide?
    Perhaps a progeny of Russell tries to find him? Its quite possible there is one or two out there based on Godric making Eric and their timeline together.

    And whats going to happen to the kingdoms of Louisiana and Mississippi? Presumably Bill will kill Sophie Anne, leaving two kingdoms up for grabs. If he doesn’t kill Sophie Anne, does Sophie Anne get Mississippi?
    The marriage wasn’t exactly legit if the reaction of the Authority is anything to go by.

    • ZZ says:

      Very good points. Another thing that was upsetting to me was the fact that Eric tied up with the scuffs to Russell Edgintong out of Fangtasia, to meet the Sun. As if Russell couldn’t tear apart Eric’s arm and get inside to protect himself!! that was really lame.
      I guess that the kingships will be commanded by the AVL since the King and the Queen will be gone. So probably Eric will get more power, and who knows, maybe Bill too.

  10. Sardaukar One says:

    I actually found Eric cuffing himself to Russell to be plausible. Russell was distracted by being in the sun, then after seeing Eric and realizing that Sookies blood was a temporary fix for walking in the sun.
    The combination of the two gave Eric his chance.

    Ripping Eric’s arm off would not have removed the Silver handcuff attached to Russell. Even had he done so and gotten inside, he would be very vulnerable to Bill and Pam. Though I do agree that Russell should have put up more of a fight. No doubt about that.

    Bill, despite being tortured and cuffed with silver manacles for a night, was able to restrain Lorena when she got distracted by Sookie. So it seems to me that Russell should have done better when Eric cuffed him.
    Unless of course, the older you get, the more vulnerable you are to silver.

    I saw a show with the makers of TB, and they said that season 4 will focus on vampire politics. Presumably with the vacant thrones of Mississippi and probably Louisiana up for grabs as the focal point for this.

    I think the Authority has some influence in who becomes King or Queen. But based on their apparent reluctance to take on Russell head on, its possible they don’t have the ultimate say. Of course, they may not have entirely believed Eric either. Meaning taking on Russell wasn’t going to happen.
    Russell does state that vampire politics are “medieval”. And Bill intially thought that Russell was going to declare war on Louisiana. The authority, it seems, wasn’t even considered as an obstacle to war.
    So its not that clear to me just how much power and say they have over the monarchs of the vampire world.

    Nan Flanagan does state that the Authority didn’t want to get involved with Russell, Sophie Anne etc.
    My guess would be that part of the reason is that they didn’t want to honk off the other monarchs by doing something they might consider inappropriate. If so, this could mean that there is a balance between the vampire Kings and Queens and the Authority. No one is willing to rock the apple cart, hence the Authority stay out of the Russell/Sophie Anne mess and essentially leave Eric on his own.

    Eric is actually the most duplicitious vampire in the new world.

    • IceQueen says:

      About the first part of your post, the ”showdown” between Russell and Eric in the sun at Fangtasia.

      I believe Russell maybe should have put up more of a fight, but just maybe, and nothing even close to ripping Eric into pieces. It might in fact be so that the older vampires are more vulnerable to silver, in fact, it seems a very plausible and logical conclusion. But the real reason why there wasn’t much of a fight, in fact I think Russell did a pretty good job in surviving this ordeal I can only conclude this for myself by the fact that he probably drank a great deal more of Sookie’s blood than Eric did (it being an intential move from Eric and him having no intention of draining her), lies in the word SUNLIGHT. The one thing he wants the most and believes he will finally get, is the one thing that eventually becomes his undoing, it is quite ironic, but that also is one of the things I love about the series.

      As we learn from another old vampire, Godric, when he stands upon the roof with Sookie in Dallas, older vampires are a lot more vulnerable to the sunlight. Hence him telling her ”it” won’t take long, because of his age. This in comparison to Bill, a much younger vampire, whom we see soaking in an almost tremendous amount of sunlight in his attempt to save Sookie from Renee in S1 and still surviving after a while in the ground. And in S3, when he is kicked out of Alcide’s truck by Tara (even with the effect of that great an amount of Sookies blood we can see him starting to smoulder before he runs off), but still showing up in the hospital later to save her life fully recovered as it seems, even though they were in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the day… So he is obviously much more resiliant than the older vampires are.

      And by now about everybody whom is watching S4 and has seen the first two episodes, knows the truth about how Kingdom’s can be instated (and re-instated, watch the threath Nan makes about retired Kings), and what befalls of the Queen and the Kingdoms of Mississippi and Louisiana… And how everybody in TB has their own agenda, everybody lies or lied, and the Authority wants to be involved in everything, even the business of Eric Northman….

  11. Sardaukar One says:

    But how Kingdoms are awarded clearly doesn’t make much sense right now. Sophie Anne states that the authority doesn’t have any jurisdiction over her re her debt to the IRS. And the Authority clearly have no power or influence over Russell when he was King. At least no more than any other Vampire with an army behind him. And Russell cannot have been King of Mississippi for more than 60 years or so. He was in Germany during WW II, and I for one would be interested to find out how he got from WW II Germany to being King of Mississippi, especially if the Authority assign Kingdoms. I find it very hard to believe that the Authority made Russell King. And I find it even harder to believe that at least someone in the Authority doesn’t know just how old and powerful Russell is when he became King.

    Frankly, making Bill King of Louisiana strikes me as very stupid . And in the clearly feudal soceity that are the Vampire Kingdoms, I would think that the other Vampire monarchs would be going ape. How on earth does such a young vampire become King?
    It doesn’t make any sense right now. Hopefully, they will clear this up in season five.

    Nan can threaten Bill because she made him King. Bill thought Russell might go to war for Louisiana.
    Without the Authority behind him, I would imagine Bill would make easy pickings for a strong Vampire monarch. How many other Russell type Vampire monarchs are there out there?

    Christopher Meloni will be playing Roman, the Vampire leader of the Authority judging by the promos.
    Presumably he is very old and powerful. Older and stronger than Russell? Probably not. But more than likely he is much older than Eric .

    At the end of S4, Nan tells Eric and Bill she has death warrants for them. Not really sure what they did to earn them(the show is becoming stupid with stuff like this)? Anyway, one of the promos shows Eric and Bill telling Roman that they will track and hunt Russell down. I found this interesting because one would think that the first thing Russell would do, once freed, would be to find and kill Eric and Bill.

    Right now I am not sure who freed Russell. Clearly a Vampire, as Alcide’s employee was glamoured, but the why seems apparent. Russell would clearly make a very powerful ally in the coming ‘struggle’ within the ranks of the Vampire hierarchy. Nan hints at this in her conversation with Bill and Eric before they kill her.
    Roman seems like he is pretty powerful, so Russell would clearly be the perfect counter to Roman.
    Assuming its someone whose going to fight Roman that freed Russell. I suppose Russell could have even signed on with Roman. We won’t know for sure until S5 airs and Roman’s views on humans etc is made clear. Perhaps this stuggle supercedes Russell’s desire for vengeance? For now anyway. It would make some sense for Russell’s newfound freedom to be kept a secret for as long as possible.
    It would no longer be a secret if he killed Bill and Eric.
    If thats the case though, you would have thought they would have done a better job cleaning up the parking lot after freeing Russell.
    This also makes some sense as I am not sure how else the makers of the show can validly explain why Russell hasn’t killed the pair of them. Whats really stopping Russell from doing killing Bill and Eric otherwise? The answer is nothing!

    Who freed Russell? Bill, Eric and Pam know for sure where Russell was buried. Alcide probably does too.
    Though does he know specifically where Eric buried Russell on the job site?
    I’m pretty sure that neither Bill nor Eric told anyone. If they did, it could surely only be Nan. But this doesn’t seem likely to me. Presumably Eric gave them Russell’s fang and told Nan/the Authority that they had killed Russell? We don’t know what Eric told the authority about Russell.
    Still, with a war amongst the Vampires/Authority etc, presumably on the horizon, it would make sense as to who freed Russell and how they knew. And that would most likely mean Bill told.

    Pam seems the most likely candidate of those whom we know for sure know where Russell was buried.
    And she might have freed him Russell out of rage when Eric seemed to favour Sookie over her. She was in tears at the end of S4. But I think this is highly unlikely. Russell stated he would kill all of Eric’s progeny.
    And that includes Pam.

    Its possible that Russell’s henchmen tracked him down. Marcus perhaps? He hooked up with Debbie Pelt, whom Alcide might have told where Russell was buried. Debbie might have told Marcus, who then would have told some of Russell’s vampire underlings etc. Or some other Vampire.
    Unlikely, but not beyond the pale. This would explain the mess in the parking lot I suppose. Russell’s henchmen weren’t exactly very efficient.

    Alas, we shall not know till next season.

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