Last weekend's True Blood introduced us to another new character: a fairy named Claude. Claude isn't exactly new, but the man who plays him is. Claude had a blink-and-you'll-miss-him role in season four, but has been recast for an expanded role this season. Newcomer Giles Matthey has stepped into what will surely be his breakout role. We spoke to Giles about landing the role and the level of awesomeness on the True Blood set.
Tell us a little bit about Claude.
Claude is a fairy. He was featured in last season and helped Sookie escape from Queen Mab in fairyland. He was actually portrayed by another actor last season. I was fortunate enough to be recast in the role. We've had a very, very small glimpse of Claude. This season goes into fairies a bit, it goes into what they are like. Claude acts as a mentor-type figure to Sookie. Helps her understand things about herself, and what it means to be a fairy. I would like to think that he is protective over her - as any mentor should be.
So will we get more background on the fairies this year? It was sprinkled throughout last season, but there was never really a sense of backstory.
You will see a focus. Obviously I can't give too much away, but there is a focus on fairies, more so than any other season. How that plays out, and what that means for the characters... you'll just have to wait and see.
Did you watch True Blood before you were cast?
The only exposure I had to True Blood was seeing two rather handsome men circling like dogs around a pretty blonde lady. I thought, "They look ridiculously handsome. I'm changing the channel now." When I originally read for the role, I did a taping at my agency, and had no idea what True Blood was. It's not very big in England, and even though I had been in New York for two years, at the time I didn't watch much TV - I was all about school and focus and all those boring things. A couple weeks [after I read for the role] I was in Los Angeles and I was told to go in [to read] for Alan Ball. I didn't have much idea who he was, which I think helped me in the audition. I was so lucky and fortunate that I was cast in the role, and from then on, I watched it a lot. I actually became a fan, which is kind of weird because you get cast in something, then you watch it, then you are in it, but you become a fan in between, then you get nervous. It's like, "Oh my gosh, you're Sookie! You're Alcide!" It was very bizarre.
I became a fan after I got the role. It was really the writing and the acting. The thing about True Blood for me is that it would be very easy to just tap into the current culture of vampires and fantasy, and it is very easy to do it wrong. The actors on True Blood are just brilliant.
I know Claude was in barely minutes of the last season--
Minutes? Barely seconds!
Did his appearance, created from another actor, inform your performance at all?
I think it would be a bad idea to copy someone else's portrayal. It's a very strange position to be in. I don't think it is a good idea to copy other people's interpretations because then it is not your own, and it won't be your own truth. So I really tried to make it my own. Also, Audrey and Laura, who help with costumes, are so good, and Alan gives the final OK on costumes, and that is a huge help. The way they decide to dress you can really answer a lot of questions about your character. I think that is a hint for the fairies. Let's just say that they are very sexual creatures.
In last week's episode, Jessica has a very strong reaction to you when you enter the shop. Will you have more interactions with Jessica?
I wish I could answer that question, but it might give too much away, and I don't want to get fired. I've really had a good time on True Blood and would like to stick around!
Can you tell us how many episodes you are going to be in?
I'm in eight episodes. It's a dream come true - really, it is. I have worked on a couple projects, and I don't think I've come across a group of people who I have felt this supported and connected to. As an actor, you want to feel safe - once you are at ease with yourself, you can do good work. Ryan [Kwanten, who plays Jason] and Anna [Paquin, who plays Sookie] have been so supportive - and they don't have to be! They are stars - they have their own lives and their own work. As a professional you are expected to turn up, do your stuff well, and that's it. It's not like that on True Blood. I really feel like you are only as strong as your weakest link, so they all really help everyone. Everyone is so generous.
The cast is so huge and it grows exponentially every season. Was there anyone that you wanted to work with that you didn't get a chance to?
That would give away a little bit, so I will just say a generic: "Yes, of course." Maybe we'll do something impromptu - some street theater or something!
This is really your first big role. What was your reaction when you booked it?
I cried. It wasn't like I was jumping for joy - I actually burst into tears. I was at the airport and I burst into tears and collapsed on my luggage. I wasn't sad about getting the role - I was sad that there weren't people there to experience it with me. Then set in the huge excitement and joy. It was weird - I did not expect myself to act like that. I thought it would all be joy, and it really was - about the show - but I don't know why, my mind just went there. I just wanted to share this amazing moment - because it really was a life-changing thing. I am so honored to be part of this great show.