Jessica Tuck: Nan’s Agenda Behind Her “Agenda”By True Blood News on May 27 2011 | 29 Comments »
Since the day we started devoting an insane amount of time to this website, one of our hopes was to nab an interview with Jessica Tuck. Her character, Nan Flanagan, had fascinated us from the very first True Blood episode, “Strange Love.” Nan was always in the peripheral, setting the tone for the state of vampire politics; but now, it has gotten to the point where she is the focal point of most of the speculation that involve our dearest vampires. What is Nan’s agenda? How high up is she with the Authority?
Last October, Jessica was upgraded to a regular on True Blood and the theories have run wild regarding her implications on the show’s storyline, American Vampire League’s agenda and most recently, her possible relationship with Bill Compton. Finally, here it comes: enjoy our chat with Jessica, but be warned, this interview contains spoilers.
TB-N: You graduated from Yale with a psychology degree, did you ever practice psychology? What drew you to acting and what was your first role?
JT: I have never done anything “professional” with my psychology degree but I do feel that my studies have helped me as an actress. Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour and as an actor you are always exploring characters – who they are, what makes them tick, how they interact with others. This is in part what drew me to acting – the opportunity to explore the psychology of human being. I am also a restless person and acting promised constant challenge and change – it’s a very engaging profession. I started out doing a lot of NYU student films and small independent films. The first job that really paid my rent was a three year gig on the Soap Opera, One Life To Live.
TB-N: Your experience in television has been very vast, you’ve been nominated for an Emmy and you’ve been in one of my favorite (cancelled!) TV shows, 1999′s Cupid with Jeremy Piven. Are there any favorite genres that you prefer? What are you watching now?
JT: I love both comedy and drama. It’s more about the character for me – is there something to sink my teeth into? I don’t watch a lot of TV- don’t seem to have the time. OF COURSE, I watch True Blood. I was also a huge fan of Big Love before it went off the air. I like Grey’s Anatomy and I watch Project Runway and Dancing With The Stars with my 8 year old daughter. My husband and I like Real Time with Bill Maher and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
TB-N: Did you audition for the role of Nan Flanagan or another role? Can you tell us a bit about the process you went through to become Nan?
JT: I did audition for Nan. It was a pretty straight forward process. It was one audition for Alan Ball. Originally, Nan was only going to be in a few episodes and then they just kept writing her in. I feel very fortunate that she has grown into the character she is today.
TB-N: Nan has a very public-friendly persona, she is a well-spoken politician and dresses elegantly while on TV, however, off-camera we see her as some kind of dominatrix who is one of the toughest vampires we’ve seen on True Blood. How does Nan juggle her PR job role with that of vampire enforcer?
JT: I think part of what makes Nan so scary is the fact that she can flip from one persona to the other so easily. I don’t think it’s a “juggle” for her. She doesn’t have much of a conscience. She does what she has to do to get the job done and doesn’t apologize for it. She believes in her power and her right to wield it .
TB-N: In season 1 and 2 we take Nan’s mainstreaming as gospel but in season 3 we see her true colors in the sense that she isn’t all about doing what she preaches. She says she only drinks the Tru Blood but later we see her drinking from the dancer in her limo. Is Nan an outlier in the fact that she eats people, or do you think all vampires involved with the Authority are doing it as well? Does she really believe in the public AVL cause, or as usual with vampires, she has a completely different agenda?
JT: I can’t speak for the entire AVL but I highly doubt that Nan is the only one that strays from True Blood. I think as long as it’s consensual and kept out of the public eye- it’s fine. The dancer in the limo was more than happy to engage with Nan. I do believe that Nan is sincere about wanting to mainstream vampires.
That said, it would be foolish to think that her efforts were just about making humans and vamps one big happy family. There is an “agenda” behind her agenda but that is not for me to reveal right now. Stay tuned.
TB-N: Nan is also one of the most mysterious characters in True Blood. We don’t know much about her, though she has been featured since episode 1 (on the TV at the Grabbit Kwik). Will we get to know Nan’s story better? Maybe some flashbacks or more info about her background? Are you allowed to tell us how old Nan is or where was she born?
JT: Nan is mysterious- even to me. I don’t know how old she is or where she was born. More about Nan is revealed in season 4 but I can’t go into detail without spoiling things for you.
TB-N: We’re not sure if you wander around the Internet and run into any True Blood speculation, but there’s a widespread theory in the wild about you and Mr. Bill Compton. Is there anything you might be able to say about Nan’s relationship with Bill without giving anything away?
JT: All I can say is that Nan and Bill have a history. Details of that history will be revealed in season 4. If I say anything more than that, I’ll get myself in trouble.
TB-N: Nan is about the only character that seems to be able to break Eric Northman’s balls. Is there some past history between them that would cause this or does Nan simply treat everyone with a steel fist?
JT: As far as i know, there is no history between Eric and Nan that justifies her attitude towards him. Honestly, i think she’s just a bitchy ball buster – she needs some lessons in personal dynamics.
TB-N: Nan probably didn’t know what a real “Vampire national disaster” looked like until she saw King Russell Edgington despining Jerry McCafferty on live TV. How do you think it’s possible to win the human public’s opinion back after such a mess?
JT: Well, I think the case needs to be made that Russell Edgington was ONE bad apple and does not represent all vampires. And of course a little glamouring here and there can’t hurt.
TB-N: Is there any special character that you’d like to see Nan interacting with?
JT: I think Jessica is a great character and Nan gets to interact with her a bit in season 4.
TB-N: Which episode or storyline in TB has been your favorite so far?
JT: I thought the Russell Edgington arc last year was fantastic.
TB-N: Our readers love hearing about what happens on the set while filming True Blood. Can you share any funny moment you’ve encountered on set?
JT: I wish i could relate some fabulous incident but i don’t have one. What I can tell you is that it’s a great group of people – cast and crew. Even when the hours get long, people are fun to be around. And let’s face it, what could be more delicious than dressing up like a vampire, fangs and all, and running around with Eric, Bill and Sookie? Life is good.
TB-N: What would you say that fans can expect of Season 4 apart from witches and more craziness?
JT: Relationships between the characters get much more complicated and redifined. I love this season – I think there is a lot to “sink your teeth into.” You won’t be disappointed.
TB-N: And finally, what’s next for Jessica Tuck? Any projects in the works?
JT: I just finished a great little independent film called Model Minority.
Model Minority will premiere in 2012 and it’s directed by Lily Mariye. Jessica will play Angie, the mother of Kayla, an underprivileged Japanese American 16 year old, who endangers her promising future as an aspiring artist when she becomes involved with a drug dealer.
Many thanks to Jessica for answering our questions and stoking our excitement for True Blood season 4! Bring it on!