Interview with Mariana Klaveno:
By CitizenErased on Nov 6 2009 | 41 Comments »
“I have a feeling that Lorena is pissed off!”
Along with loving mostly everything about True Blood (especially Bellefleurs), us ladies at The Nest are unashamed Bill devotees. So it was with some trepidation that we sat down with our silver pens to think of some super fantastic questions to ask Mariana Klaveno, aka Lorena, the founding member of Team Bill and downright scary vampire wench from HELL. Realising that the question ‘why are you such a bitch?’ was rather unfair, since Mariana is in fact a) an innocent actress and b) actually very nice, we managed to think of a few zingers, and were delighted with the answers. I think this is my favourite interview we’ve ever done, and ooh look, an exclusive from the lady herself:
“Lorena is definitely coming back and I have a feeling she’s pissed off!”
Awesome, I’m totally looking forward to it. Read and enjoy this juicy interview y’all, and leave Mariana a comment to tell her what a bloody good job she’s been doing with her mad villain acting skills!
TB-N: You grew up in rural Washington. Did you live on a farm and do you get to go home often these days?
MK: I did live on a farm. I’ve known some people to exaggerate that statement a bit but I can honestly state it as a fact. I didn’t live near one or visit one a few times; I lived on our family’s wheat & barley farm until I left for college at eighteen.
I don’t get home as often as I’d like, but I try to visit at least twice a year. My parents usually make a few trips to Los Angeles every year as well, so I get to see them more often than I do the farm.
TB-N: Did you dream of being an actress when you were a kid or was it something you kind of got into gradually?
MK: I absolutely dreamed of it as a kid and I really have no practical reason as to why. No one in my family is even remotely involved in acting. They are all immensely talented in their own careers and interests, my parents included, but I am the only performer in the bunch. I was actually quite secretive about it. Growing up where I did, I didn’t know anyone who went on to pursue acting professionally. Our school didn’t even have a drama class. It seemed like such an unrealistic thing that aside from my close friends, I was too terrified to voice to anyone how serious my interest was until I was a senior in high school. Luckily, I’ve received nothing but constant support over the years from everyone back home.
TB-N: When did your acting career start to take off and what was it like working on so many different TV shows?
MK: I guess I started working more steadily after my guest star on the short-lived FOX show called Standoff. It was a very flashy kind of part—not as flashy as Lorena—but I did get some attention from it and I think it helped lead to a few television movies and other guest star parts. On a side note, my boyfriend on Standoff was played by Jim Parrack. He is such a great guy and I love that we wound up working on the same show again. As far as working on different TV shows, I look at it as part of my training. No class can simulate the experience of working on a set. You really have to learn as you go. I feel like I’m still doing that. I was given wonderful examples in my first few jobs of how and how not to conduct yourself on a set and I try to always remember those lessons.
TB-N: Were you always interested in vampires and the supernatural or are you more into different genres?
MK: I would say yes and yes. I do enjoy vampire mythology. I read the latest annotated version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula last winter and I was fascinated by it. It’s kind of a long and heavy read but I recommend it for those interested in context and history. I was also a very loyal Buffy fan. I thought it was such a clever and well-executed show. However, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite genre. I love too many genres to ever list a favorite. I always get frustrated when people ask me what my favorite movie is. I have too many favorites.
TB-N: Tell us about your audition for True Blood. What made you decide to try out for the show? Was the show already being shown when you auditioned?
MK: The show hadn’t started airing yet, but I was aware of it and knew that it was Alan Ball’s new show. That was reason enough for me. I was extremely nervous during the audition process because I instinctively knew it was going to be an amazing part. I worked on the audition with a friend of mine and he encouraged me to make some bold choices. I also wanted to look as innocent as possible. Some of the other girls at the audition were dressed in black with dark red lipstick, but I thought it would be more effective if you didn’t see the villain coming. After the second audition though, I was convinced that I didn’t get it. The actress who went in right after me kept getting laughs. I’m not really sure how to make that first scene funny, but she had the entire room cracking up. So I left thinking, “Oh well. Would’ve been fun.” Fortunately, I got the good news a few hours later. That was a great day.
TB-N: When you shot the flashback sequences for Season 1 did you know you would be back as a more significant character in Season 2?
MK: I knew there was a good chance I’d be coming back but I had no idea it would be so significant in Season 2. Since Lorena doesn’t appear until the third book I thought I might have to wait until Season 3. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the storyline in Season 2. The flashback scenes are incredibly fun to do. I’m hoping we get to do more of them.
TB-N: Sadistic, selfish, vengeful…does your character Lorena have any redeeming qualities?
MK: Stylish, witty, loyal, cultured…stylish.
TB-N: Lorena is one of those characters we love to hate. Do you enjoy the role of villain?
MK: I do enjoy playing the villain. As much as my dad would prefer me to play a good character, I seem to only get cast as the bad ones. I can’t say that I know why, exactly. They’re much more fun I think. I hope that doesn’t make me seem evil in real life. (I promise I’m not!) I like to think of it as “playing my shadow.” I get to explore my opposite self in an artistic and satisfying way. That way she doesn’t come out in a fit of road rage.
TB-N: There isn’t a lot of detail about Lorena’s character in the books, she’s just plain evil. Did you read the books before you started on the show and what do you think you and the scriptwriters have brought to her character?
MK: I did read several of the books before I really got started and I enjoyed them very much. However, I love how Alan and the writers have taken the world of the books and expanded on them. I hope that we’ve brought a depth to her, a reason for her “evil” nature. I of course have a much more loving relationship with Lorena. I don’t think she’s evil for the sake of evil. I think she’s driven by love, by her deep longing for love, and the pain of being denied reciprocation. She’s broken. To me, that’s infinitely more interesting than a woman who is just plain evil.
TB-N: Alan Ball’s Lorena portrays Lorena as a lonely woman in love, condemned to walk alone for the rest of eternity without any hope of having the man she loves back. How do you think Lorena has spent the last 70 years without Bill?
MK: I’m really hesitant to answer that question for fear of being completely wrong if the writers decide to depict that period later on. To be completely honest, I haven’t concretely answered that question for myself. It’s one of the challenges of working on a television show, I’ve discovered. You don’t know what that next script holds for your character or what new information you’ll be given, so you have to remain facile to a degree. Your great and creative ideas may need to get thrown out the window if the writers go in a completely different direction. Luckily we have incredible writers on this show so we’re all in excellent hands. I do, of course, have some ideas of what Lorena was up to during that time. I’m sure she had many failed attempts at finding a substitute for Bill. She traveled quite a bit, I think. Maybe she took some classes at a night school.
TB-N: Do you get recognized much when you are out and about? Are you worried that men might be too scared to ask you out?
MK: I’ve discovered that I get recognized when I do my hair and put make-up on. I don’t think people associate a glamorous vampire with a girl wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a ponytail, and a plain face. Everyone who has come up to me has been really lovely. People are such fans of the show and it feels great to be a part of that. As far as men, I’m not really sure. I have a boyfriend so I don’t have to worry about that. I kind of like that idea, though. Maybe it will keep me safer walking around out there.
TB-N: Lorena has some gorgeous clothes. Do you have any input into your wardrobe and what was your favorite outfit?
MK: I’m so glad you asked that so I have the opportunity to gush. Audrey Fisher, our costume designer, is amazing and I was such a lucky girl this past season. It is a collaborative process but an easy one since we tend to agree on everything. My favorite has to be the exquisite green dress. Although I couldn’t really sit down for fifteen hours since it wrinkled so easily, I loved wearing that dress. They built it especially for me, which is why it fit so perfectly. It also took two people to help get me into it. Of course I didn’t bring a camera to set that day so I didn’t get any pictures for myself.
TB-N: We have to ask, what is it like to work with Stephen Moyer? Do you have some laughs to break up all the intense scenes you have to shoot together?
MK: Working with Stephen is sheer fun. He has my favorite sense of humor in a person: wicked. There are a lot of laughs breaking up those vampy scenes. We’re also big music lovers. We spent much of the downtime comparing and/or sharing our indie rock collections with each other. Another thing worth mentioning about Stephen is that he is the most technically skilled actor I’ve ever worked with. He knows so much about lighting, lenses, angles and precisely how to set up every single shot. It’s really impressive and I try to learn as much as I can from him.
TB-N: Us ladies know how irresistible Bill is, but really, why can’t Lorena get the message and leave him alone? What is it about him that she seems to need?
“ Working with Stephen is sheer fun. He has my favorite sense of humor in a person: wicked.”
MK: I think, as is the case in many ill-fated relationships, what attracts Lorena to Bill is the very thing that keeps them apart. In my opinion, it’s his conscience and essential “goodness” that she’s attracted to. In the Civil War flashback I refer to Bill as an “honorable man.”
I think it speaks to something in Lorena’s human past that drives her need for Bill. She’d clearly been searching for a companion and no one was deemed worthy enough until Bill came along. But loving his humanity and honor is what makes her a tragic character and why I love her all the more. Bill’s good qualities prevent him from returning Lorena’s feelings. Even as a vampire he strives to maintain his humanity as much as he can, which is why he wants nothing to do with her.
TB-N: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Do you think Lorena will be back causing havoc in Season 3?
MK: Oh, I hope so. Lorena is definitely coming back and I have a feeling she’s pissed off.
TB-N: Lorena is one of the many formidable women in the show. Is it a deliberate act of the writers to make True Blood a show about strong women, crazy or not? Does it make you proud as we think it’s awesome!
“Lorena is definitely coming back and I have a feeling she’s pissed off!”
MK: I can’t speak for the writers but I think it is deliberate. I think Alan and the writers are incredible at creating female characters that are not only strong but also complex. We get to kick ass but also show vulnerability. It’s great writing and an actor’s dream. As a woman, it definitely makes me proud.
TB-N: Our favorite part of season 2 was when Lorena got whacked with the plasma TV. Did you enjoy filming that sequence? Did you have to reshoot it several times or was it a one-take? What other favorite scenes do you have?
MK: I did enjoy filming that scene. I had my mom, dad, and brother on set that day watching us film so it was particularly fun. We shot it in different pieces and I think we did do multiple takes on each piece. It was actually a really cool special effect, but I won’t even try to explain how it was done. I’m completely ignorant when it comes to those things so I apologize that I can only say it was “cool.”
One of my favorite scenes was the confrontation with Sookie in episode 208. Alexander Woo wrote that episode and he gave me some particularly awesome lines. I really enjoyed playing Lorena’s arc in that scene. I got to strut in and then sheepishly walk out in shame. Again—an actor’s dream. It was the first time I got to work with Anna and we had a great time being bitchy to each other. It took hours and hours to film that scene and she had me cracking up nearly the whole time. I adore her and hope that we have more to do together next season. I also loved working with Allan Hyde. I thought he played that character beautifully.
TB-N: You have just finished a new film- No God, No Master. Could you tell us a little about it? What other projects have you been working on this summer?
MK: No God No Master is a crime drama set in New York in 1919. It’s the story of a government agent, played by David Strathairn, who is trying to solve the case of a number of anarchist bombings going off around the city. The script is based on real historical events that took place and I found the story fascinating. I play a very mysterious woman whom David’s character can’t quite put his finger on. He knows I’m associated with the anarchist group to some extent but no one is quite sure where my loyalties lie. It was a great departure from Lorena. She chain-smokes and has a Russian accent and I loved the period costumes. The real joy came from working with David Strathairn, though. I’ve looked up to him as an actor for years and it was truly a dream to act opposite him.
TB-N: Did you steal Bill?
MK: I honestly don’t know. But we go back to work in a few weeks so I’ll find out very soon. I wouldn’t want to spoil it, though. That wouldn’t be any fun now would it?
Thanks TrueBlood ES for the caps
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