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True Blood’s Rob Kazinsky on His Character’s Big Reveal

Rob Kazinsky. Photo: HBO

Last night’s episode of True Blood revealed the true identity of Warlow, the vampire who killed Sookie Stackhouse’s parents and who might be the only entity able to kill Billith. (So, needless to say, spoilers follow.) Although we were first introduced to Ben Flynn as a human-faerie hybrid, it turns out that he is an entirely new kind of supernatural species: a vampire-faerie hybrid. He can walk in the sun, read minds, banish someone to another dimension, glamour humans, and his blood — which glows! — also has a vampire’s usual healing and seduction properties. Yet he seems immune to silver, at least if it’s only trace amounts in Sookie’s home cooking. Actor Rob Kazinsky, who is also in Pacific Rim this week, chatted with Vulture about finding out he was Warlow, dressing and undressing the part, and what would happen if his character could breed.

Up until this point, all you could say was that you were Sookie’s new love interest. And as the season started, some people were even speculating that Rutger Hauer was Warlow, not you …
Yeah, well, when a network tells you that upon pain of death you can’t talk about it, it makes you nervous! [Laughs.] And to be honest, I thought Rutger was going to be Warlow as well. Before I got cast, I didn’t know I was going to be playing Warlow. I thought I was just auditioning for the part of Ben. I didn’t know until about three weeks after I got the part! And I didn’t hear from anybody else other than wardrobe, who had my name written up on the wall as “Ben/Warlow.” And I was like, “Who’s what? Am I Warlow?” And eventually they told me that I was. I really wanted Rutger to be Warlow at one point. I was like, “Oh, that would be so cool!”

So what are the parameters with vampire-faerie hybrids? What are all their powers and weaknesses? We’ve never seen one on the show before.
And he’s the only one that’s ever been made. Can he bleed? Can he cry? Can he have children? These are all questions we’re going to find out about. It’s kind of nice to be a new breed of creature. Faeries have never been the most fascinating of creatures on the show. They’ve always been kind of pathetic, let’s be honest. They’ve always been fairly weak. And here’s one who’s 6,000 years old. And he’s not only the most powerful faerie around, he’s the most powerful vampire around, too. And that’s kind of an intimidating prospect, if he were to ever let go, if you know what I mean. The best way I can describe him is he’s a drug addict, and he hates what he is, he hates being addicted, he’s been clean for a long time, but he’s prone to the occasional relapse. And if he were to ever truly, really let go, it could possibly be the end of all things. And the future of all vampires kind of depends on his actions. But you’re also dealing with a creature of immense pride, and if someone’s going to cross him, it’s not going to end up well. He has a temper. He has a dark side.

What are his motives with Sookie Stackhouse? He saved Jason. He saved Niall as a child. And instead of killing Niall, he transports him to another realm.
Here’s the thing: The best way I can possibly describe Warlow is, he is a faerie. Faeries are of good will, they’re good creatures at heart, they’re creatures of light. And that’s not going to change in him. Even though he’s been changed to the ultimate perversion of that, it doesn’t change the conscience he carries around with him; he’s still a moral creature. He still wishes to do the right thing at all times, where possible, and that is the only thing that is stopping him. However, you’re also dealing with a creature who was thrown out by his own people, who has been thrown out by humans, faeries, and vampires. He’s very lonely. And despite the fact that he hates everything he is, he never had the courage to end it, he had the arrogance to think that he’d make it right, and he’s never really been able to stop himself from letting go. We made a decision that when it was daytime, he’d be in control of what he was, and when it was nighttime, he wouldn’t be as in control of what he was.

Is that why he has two different identities, two different appearances?
Not really two different appearances. They were purposely vague about his appearance in season five because they didn’t know who was going to be playing him later. But you saw him when he came in with the big beard and the hat — which, I got to tell you, was so much fun to put on. I went into what we refer to on set as “toilet jail,” because everyone comes out all covered in goop, and I come out with this giant beard, giant hair, giant fingernails, claws, really, because he had been in there for so very long! The guy was in prison, in solitary confinement [when Claudine had banished him to another realm] for 20, 25 years. If that doesn’t make you a little Boo Radley …  and that was four or five hours every day of getting into this horrible getup, which was massively uncomfortable. But the fact that I look nothing like that guy is kind of a good red herring.

That, and the lies Warlow told as Ben.
Everything Ben said to Sookie is true. When he was being Ben, he wasn’t lying. He really does feel that way. And he has idolized her from afar for a very, very long time. That’s the fundamental thing to remember: He wasn’t putting on an act. He was being himself. But he knew that if he were to approach her as Warlow, he would never, ever get close.

What do you think Warlow-Sookie babies would be like, if he can breed?
This is the kind of discussion that’s always ongoing. If Ben could breed, and they could have children? Since vampires cannot have children, I would imagine that if Warlow and Sookie were to have children, they’d be entirely fae. It would be the fae part of both of them. But that’s the beauty of having a new breed of creature: imagining the possibilities.

Apparently you have a lot of nude scenes coming up?
I have an awful lot of nude scenes coming up, because you’re dealing with fae, who are incredibly sexual creatures, and there’s a lot of sex scenes — not just with Sookie! There’s kind of a sixties free love impermanence in Bon Temps. It’s going to be quite compulsive viewing, I hope. There’s nothing that takes you out of the show more than someone who isn’t naked when they should be. If someone’s naked in character, they should be naked on the show. And there’s nothing more removing than someone who’s using a vase to cover their modesty. You can specify how much nudity you’re willing to do in your rider, but I didn’t specify anything, so I’m just naked all the time. Hopefully people won’t be too disappointed.

True Blood’s Rob Kazinsky on His Big Reveal