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Chris Bauer as True Blood's Andy Bellefleur.

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True Blood’s Chris Bauer on His Limited Screen Time, Andy Bellefleur’s Ancestry, and V’s Real-Life Drug Equivalent

Will Bon Temps’ local sheriff and resident V-addict Andy Bellefleur finally get clean? Last week’s intervention episode had us feeling hopeful — and gave us insight into why Andy is the way he is (he grew up with a lot of money and no love). But when we spoke with actor Chris Bauer, we felt unsettled enough to ask him what fate awaits his troubled character: Will he finally sober up and be the hero? Of course Bauer couldn’t give us the firm "yes" we wanted to hear, but he kindly indulged our theories, and shared his thoughts on True Blood’s Emmy shutout, his limited screen time, and V’s real-life drug equivalent.

What did you think of your big intervention episode?
You know, it feels so good just to get a few extra minutes of screen time.

Is that frustrating, to share screen time with so many actors?
It could be a lot worse. But in such a good scenario, yeah, that’s what’s hard about it. I still have the challenge of trying to do the best work I can, whether I have to do that with one syllable or five scenes. At least that’s how I console myself.

But there are no hard feelings among the cast?
Absolutely not. It’s a really great group, and everybody’s in the same boat, more or less. I think from the point of view of the audience, they love their supernatural creatures, they love their vampires, they love their shape-shifters. And I totally understand that, but you gotta have the humans in there, too, to give it some plausibility.

This season Andy is addicted to V. When you were figuring out how to get into that character, what sort of drug were you imagining V to be? Ecstasy meets steroids? Heroin meets acid?
I considered it sort of like the best drug salad you could make [laughs]. You know, if drugs were healthy, it’s everything good like steroids, Viagra, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin. Basically anything but pot.

It’s funny you mention Viagra, because when Jason Stackhouse was addicted to V, he spent a lot more time in bed than Andy. Do you feel slighted?
[Laughs.] I consider myself a perfectly sexy guy, but in the vocabulary of popular television, it’s much more likely that guys like Ryan [Kwanten] and Joe [Manganiello] and Alex [Skarsgård] and Steve [Moyer] and Sam [Trammell] are gonna get those little chunks of story. But I gotta say, my impression of Alan Ball as a writer is that he’s a total humanist and by no means would he discern who can be sexy and who can’t. But, realistically, they’re gonna hang those scenes on those other guys, and so be it.

Besides, it makes sense that Jason would tap into that effect of the drug whereas Andy, who has to work through such a different set of emotional issues, would get the more aggressive effects.
Well, he’s a complete rager. He’s got major rage issues. But like most rage, it comes from a profound sadness and solitude and resentment. He’s such a solitary character that his ability to form a relationship long enough to even have a sexual connection is almost impossible.

You came pretty close to getting your love story with Holly, but the V got in the way. Are you rooting for him to win her back?
Yes. I’m rooting for him to be able to integrate as an adult with other adults [laughs].

We learned very early in this season that you are Bill’s great-great-great grandson. Is that story line going to come back into the mix? It’s just dangling there at the moment.
I hope it does. I don’t know yet. If I remember right, Andy had a kind of improbably sympathetic connection to Bill at the very beginning [of this season], and the writers are so deliberate the way they plot this show, I wouldn’t be surprised if that sympathy is resurrected somehow. I’m hoping there’s a vein that they’ll tap there later, because it could be really sweet.

Or what if Andy learns about his ancestry in time to join Grandpa Bill in the war against the witches? Then he can save Holly, she'll marry him, and he can finally be a real hero in love.
I like the fact that your imagination is even engaged to that level; it’s very gratifying to me.

But, seriously, will he ever come out on top?
Honest to God, I don’t know at this point. If the writers figure out a way to story-tell where Andy learns from his mistakes, then maybe he could be a hero. Maybe he could be a husband. Maybe he could be a dad. But so far, it’s bleak.

Were you disappointed when you heard that True Blood didn't get any Emmy nominations?
The Emmys seem like an entity unto themselves that have an agenda that sometimes corresponds to quality, sometimes doesn’t. There are certainly lots of people on True Blood who deserve that kind of attention and don’t get it, and that’s always frustrating. But you gotta pick your battles, and that’s one that’s just not very winnable. And this is just my two cents, but I don’t think True Blood is primarily a performance-oriented show; it’s more of an event-type show. I really feel like True Blood is a big, giant slice of cake for the audience every week; it’s offering people 60 minutes of sometimes thought-provoking entertainment. If you’re gonna give an Emmy out, you should probably give it to the audience of True Blood.

Photo: HBO