The following interview contains many spoilers about the True Blood series finale. Proceed with caution — or come back after you’ve gotten around to watching the episode.
Who was that man sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner next to a pregnant Sookie Stackhouse in the series finale of True Blood? All we know is that he has a beard and seems to be making our favorite telepathic waitresses happy, so we’ve taken to calling him Mr. Faceless Beard Guy and Mr. Sookie Stackhouse. Showrunner Brian Buckner told reporters yesterday that the character was intended to be an everyman whose identity was irrelevant; he also said that, to cast the role, they chose “the man with the best arms from our stunt crew.” It turns out that those anonymous arms belong to actor and stunt performer Timothy Eulich, and Vulture tracked him down for a quick chat about getting the gig and what it’s like being married to Sookie.
Did you get a chance to see the series finale of True Blood?
I honestly haven’t been able to watch the whole thing, but I did watch that final sequence that we shot just now. After we get off the phone, I’ll watch the rest. [Laughs] But I was laughing with my wife Sunday night about all the tweets from all the people freaking out about not getting to see Sookie’s husband’s face. It was fun!
I know you’ve been doing stunts on the show for a long time. But you also had a speaking part in season two, right?
Yeah, I had a little fight with Alex Skarsgård, and after that, I did another little part in season three or four. I didn’t come back until season five, when I started doubling for [Michael McMillian’s character] Steve Newlin. And then I came back and started working on every single episode of seasons six and seven for the stunt department, doubling for a lot of different characters, helping with rigging, stunt coordinating, all sorts of stuff. After I did that first stunt for Michael, I kind of developed a relationship with the stunt coordinator, Hiro Koda, and we became fast friends. We’ve been working on everything together since then.
That was you? Did you have to go nude for that?
No, I didn’t. That was his body. I just did the fire. With everything that we did, we worked very closely with the visual-effects team, so they wanted to get the real fire elements for that. I was in a full black suit on a black backdrop, with a huge fire burn, and they went and layered in Alex baking on the mountainside. But that was definitely Alex’s body. [Chuckles] I didn’t take my clothes off for that! I’ve also doubled Sam [Trammell]. And other than that, I’ve just played little parts on the show — I was a vampire guard in season three, and in season six I was the vampire being dragged behind the pickup truck. Yep, that was me!
But the only one with a speaking part was that guy in season two. He even has a name: Rich. And Sookie even saves his life. Is it possible that Sookie ended up with Rich, or are you playing a completely different guy?
You know, I was thinking about that, and I don’t think it’s terribly far-fetched that it’s Rich! I don’t think the writers would necessarily think that [laughs] but I mean, Sookie did save Rich from being killed by Eric in that scene, so there was a little moment there and it’s possible it turned into something, years and years later. “Hey, remember that time at church when you saved my life? That was really awesome of you. We should go have a drink sometime.” Yeah, I think it would have been nice.
Just so we can stop referring to him as Mr. Sookie, how about if we call him Rich and move on?
A couple of people have asked me if the character had a name, and as far as I know, he did not. On the call sheet, it was listed as “Stunt/Sookie’s Husband.” I don’t think that was on his birth certificate, though! [Laughs]
So, that was you with the turkey as well?
Yeah, it was me, and that was my voice. It was requested that a stunt performer be used for that part because of the turkey-in-the-deep-fryer scene, because if you look it up on YouTube, there are tons of people putting frozen turkeys into deep fryers, and they explode and set people’s garages on fire and all sorts of terrible things. So they wanted a trained professional in that role, just in case. But everything went just fine. There were no explosions. We shot the turkey [scene] first. And then we waited for it to get dark to shoot the table scene. But they knew whoever was going to be the guy putting the turkey in was going to be the guy [and] they never wanted to see his face. I didn’t have to audition, because pretty much almost everyone over there knew me anyways, but I sent in photos of my arms. They wanted her husband to have manly arms, I guess! So I was coming back from a vacation with my wife, and she was shooting pictures of my arms in the airport.
What about the beard? Did they want Sookie’s husband to have a beard?
There was quite a bit of discussion about whether or not the beard would be kept. I was told, point blank, by one of the [assistant directors], “You’re going to have to shave that off, before next week.” And then the director came up and was like, “Maybe you should shave it. Maybe you should keep it. We’ll let you know.” So they ran it up the ladder and decided that they liked the beard! I’ve since shaved it off. [Laughs]
Do you think Sookie would have taken her husband’s last name?
I feel like Sookie is the kind of girl who would want to keep her name, you know? She is Sookie Stackhouse, for sure. I don’t see her changing her name. The kids, on the other hand, when they’re born? That will be up for debate. It’s hard to hyphenate Stackhouse, though.
So almost everybody was at the Stackhouse house for Thanksgiving — even Jane Bodehouse.
[Laughs] Everybody was there.
Except maybe Hadley and Hunter. It would have been nice if Sookie were back in touch with them.
That’s a good point. I didn’t think about that.
Well, as her husband, you’re going to have to start!
[Laughs] Well, let me see what I can do! I’ll do some digging! [Laughs]
Have you even had a moment to think about what it would be like to be married to Sookie Stackhouse? Because it was all so sudden for the rest of us.
It was. But you know, I think it would be a difficult relationship. She is always getting into some kind of adventure! It would be very difficult to keep up with, as a regular human being man. And he would probably try to talk some sense into her, too. “You know, maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea to go out into the woods in the middle of the night when there are Hep-V vampires running around out there.” But she does what she wants, really. At the end of the day, I don’t know if you tell Sookie what to do.
But that’s why we love her.