Secrets of a Baby Vampire

Q&A with 'True Blood''s sexy redhead Deborah Ann Woll

September 3, 2010 11:17 AM ET


Jessica, the 17-year-old "baby vampire," is one of the few characters that Alan Ball added to True Blood's script from Charlaine Harris' original book series. She was a virgin when Bill Compton "made" her in Season One, which means that sex is always going to be painful for her: Vampire wounds heal immediately, so her hymen can't stay permanently torn. Deborah Ann Woll, a Brooklyn-born actress, shares some of the secret vampire knowledge she's gained from performing the role.

Do you think sex is something that will ever become pleasurable for Jessica, since she has an intact hymen?

I think if you resist it and it's a problem for you, then it's going to hurt. But if you can somehow release into it and let go and allow it to be that moment of pain that leads to greater pleasure, then that's a very adult, grown-up way of looking at sex. I'm not sure Jessica's at that point yet, but I hope she would be with time.

What do you think it felt like to be "made" a vampire by Bill?

I think it hurt a lot. It was traumatic. But it's also a magical process. When you make someone, essentially you drain them of their blood almost to the point of death, where there's still just a spark of life left, and then you feed them yours, your vampiric blood, to replenish theirs, which is why they then have your blood in them. It's a very strong bond.

Do you think that True Blood has made you more comfortable with blood, gore and death?

I've always been comfortable with blood and gore. I'm a big genre fan. I love science fiction and fantasy and horror. Pretty much all the old Universal pictures with Frankenstein and Dracula and The Creature From the Black Lagoon – all that stuff is really great. I used to watch it all the time, so I love horror movies, and monster stories are really fascinating for what they represent. I've been a big nerd my whole life.

Did you read a lot of vampire fiction?

I didn't read Anne Rice or anything like that when I was growing up. I did read Bram Stoker – I liked that. I liked Stephen King's Salem's Lot. I'm reading that again – that's a scary vampire book. So vampires have certainly been interesting to me, and when I got the role on the show, I did all kinds of research on historical personalities who were considered to have a vampiric nature to them and why the myth of the vampire might have come into being in the first place.

What are the historic personalities?

We mention some every now and then on the show as kind of a wink-wink to the historians. There's Elizabeth Báthory, who was essentially a serial murderer. She murdered hundreds of virginal women and tortured them horribly and would bathe in their blood, because she thought it would make her eternally beautiful and youthful. She would sometimes drink it, because she felt like that would make her immortal, but she was royalty, and at that point it was illegal to put royalty in jail. She had sent out declarations that she was essentially starting a charm school, and young peasant families could send their young daughters to this charm school, which would then elevate them to a better level of society and give them a better chance in life. So she essentially tricked these poor young women into coming to live with her in the idea that they might actually get a better life, and she was just torturing and killing them for her own purposes.

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