Kristin Bauer Talks True Blood, Witches, Courtesans, and Phoenix Comicon

Pamela Swynford De Beaufort is one bad-ass babe. As one of the many vampiric femme fatales who populate the fictional world of HBO's True Blood, she can not only kick ass, but can do so in style. 

And much like her character, actress Kristin Bauer isn't afraid to pull any punches.

The show's fourth season makes its debut next month, Jackalope Ranch caught up with the actress before she appears at this weekend's Phoenix Comicon

Bauer was more than happy to discuss her motivations behind playing the character, but wouldn't spill too many spoilers about the season, other than the fact that Pam's gonna be in mortal danger and that both witches and fairies will be afoot.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season of True Blood? I'm sure you've been sworn to secrecy.
Yeah, on fear of death, literally (laughs).

So if you reveal too much, HBO might send some vampires or werewolves after you?
Yeah, they'd send the witches, werewolves and vampires after me. Pam is in dire straits this year. I personally love when I watch TV to see the characters that I love get pushed to their limits. They did that to Pam last year as well and she had a more vulnerable response at the thought of losing her maker [Eric Northman]. And this year she's lost him in a sense because he's lost his memory. I can't tell you more than that what happens but it was really exciting and challenging for me to play and to see this other side of Pam. 

What can you say about the fourth season. I've heard there will be plenty of fairies and witches.
Yeah, they've released one of the previews where we're allowed to say witches and it makes it very interesting for the vampire world because they have different powers than we have and it creates interesting drama. Right now we're shooting episode 10, so I don't actually even know how it's going to wrap up.

Have you considered reading all the books in the Southern Vampire Mysteries (which True Blood is adapted from) to find out what happens to your character?
I haven't read the book but it seems as if he keeps within the books but then adds to it so it makes it something for everyone because the people who have read the books also don't know everything that's going to happen which is great.

Why haven't you read the books? Is it because you don't want to know where the story goes or spoil it for yourself?
Kind of. The first season when I booked the job I started a couple days later and i realized it was based on books so I snatched up book one and I was reading the scripts along side the book and it wasn't super helpful. It was a little confusing because I was at the same place in both and then I would on one hand expect things with ... Pam's story line in book one is fairly parallel but I started realizing that if I read book two and for one she's not really in the books very much until book four. So I could either be disappointed by that or ... but I don't know if that's what they're going to do with True Blood. So also I have certain protection mechanisms to stay sane in this business so i didn't want to fall in love with the story line that might not happen and I wanted it to just be a surprise by the scripts and also he started changing things fairly quickly like the fact that Lafayette doesn't die.

When you first started back when you took this role, what did you do to get into the character?
The way that it was written was, especially season one, she has these great lines and she's very sarcastic and I've been known to be a little sarcastic so i just basically channels my most unapologetic and caustic self. There's so much humor in Pam's lines that I just looked for that sort of unbridled personality who has a very dry sense of humor. And that was all that I did because that was mainly the roll and as the seasons have gone and they put her in more dire situations then I discover ... like season three I really discovered and again in season four the depth of her devotion to Eric, which is fun because she really doesn't have many attachments in the world and it's really fun to me that she has one.

Will she still be pining for Eric throughout this season?
Yeah, I think it's such an interesting complicated relationship between a vampire and a maker because there's usually a sexual relationship at some point and so there's a romantic one and then there's definitely a progeny relationship a father/daughter relationship. And then they're also coworkers and coadvisers to each other so it's really at any given time the scene calls on a different of that relationship because you would never have in a human relationship a romantic relationship and a father/daughter relationship. But for vampires it works because you know each other over thousands of years. Can you imagine a thousand year marriage? There's going to be some days when you can't stand each other.

Will there be drama between Sookie and Pam over Eric. We've heard about a possible love triangle this season.
I can't say what we do this season and I certainly don't know what we're going to do in the future but it is interesting that dynamic that Pam appears to be attracted to Suki and loves to flirt with her but yet Eric has a deeper connection to Sookie and Pam always has to respect that. But I tend to wonder if Pam wouldn't want to share. Last season Eric had a thing for ... I always keep confusing the character named with the show name ... he had a thing for Yvetta and Pam, of course, has a love scene with Yvetta on Eric's desk. It seems like Pam is definitely the rebellious child.

When you started acting did you ever envision that you'd be doing such a scene?
No, and I think of that almost every day on the set. I look around and say out loud, "You guys, we're at work, this is what we do for a living." And I think it strikes everybody as hilarious.

Is the blood really corn syrup and food coloring?
It is, that's exactly what it is and there's a few different kinds. I think that was one of the things I wrote down last year, the cabinet of different kinds of bloods and I said there are different kinds of bloods and Briget Ellis the make up artist just listed them off. Oh yeah, and she went through all the different kinds. Hysterical.

Do you ever get tired of the taste?
Yeah, it's very nice of them to make it sweet for us but you definitely don't want to swallow a bunch of it. We always use spit cups, it's very glamorous.

Can you reveal if Pam experiences "true death" this season?
I cannot.

During the finale of last season, Pam was worried if she's get all the cement out of her hair. Can you reveal if that happens?
She definitely did. One thing Pam would take care of first and foremost is her hair (laughs).

For me it might have been more of a cliffhanger than what was happening with Bill and Sookie.
You've been worried about that all winter? What's going on with Pam's hair? Well, you and me both.

With some shows that are still developing a mythology, actors will sometimes invent a backstory to fill in the gaps. Have you done that with Pam?
Yeah, because I have no idea what her backstory is. I speak Swedish to Eric and I also have a southern accent, but he doesn't. And then there was a line from this past season where Pam said, "Pease remember I'm not a hooker, that was a long, long time ago." I know she's a hundred years old, so I picture her in Victorian times wearing some great corsets and clothing and having something to do with being a hooker.

What else have you imagined about Pam's history?
I have this scene in my head I've written that we will never see (and probably isn't the truth), but it's somehow meeting Eric and he's a customer and I'm in an alley and he saves me and I beg him to make me. When I see what they've written, as opposed to what I've written in my head, it's always much better.

Do you envision her as a courtesan of sorts?
Yeah, I picture her somehow as this lady of means from a family of means who rebels against going the conventional route and ending up as some sort of courtesan because she leads a double life. Because Pam always wanted freedom from the constraints of society and so I just somehow picture her finding this other life in a time where women had no mobility and no choices.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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