Denis O’Hare talked with Vulture about the season finale. Lots of interesting details, but I’m excerpting just a couple.
When did you first find out Russell was going to die?
I didn’t find out definitively for a while, but there was some controversy about how to do it. We always knew in the end it would be Eric, but the question was how. Given that Russell’s so powerful, how could Eric surprise him? So the plausible answer is that he was drunk on fairy blood lust, and he isn’t watching his back, and Eric takes advantage before he can respond. There’s a nice moment when Russell begins to glow, like, Oh, maybe the fairy blood has made him immune, maybe it’s not going to happen. And then the glow withdraws — oh no! [Laughs.]
And at that moment, he only has one thing to say: “Fuck.”
That was Alan Ball’s rewrite, and when I saw that, I thought, Oh my God, that’s perfect. I mean, what else is Russell going to say? I love that his attitude is more like, Ah, well, not a sense of resistance or a last flash of anger, pity, or pathos. I think you get that sense in Interview With the Vampire that vampires get bored after they stay alive a long time, and it’s hard to keep forming new attachments. When Russell lost Talbot [in season three], he also lost some of the meaning in his life, and that’s why he grabs on to Steve Newlin. He needs a reason to enjoy life, because at this point, the pursuit of power isn’t enough. He might as well die; who is there left to meet — Mitt Romney?
Do you think Russell could return as a flashback or hallucination for his progeny the way Godric does for Eric? Or did Russell not have any others besides Talbot?
We have not met his other progeny. He could be a guy who never made any others. There was a lovely scene in season three where Russell and Eric had an intense moment, where Eric accepts his authority, and kneels before him, and you discover how Russell never had a son and he adopts Eric. That scene was cut, but there is an echo of that when Eric kneeled before him again this season. And for Eric to take Russell’s life, it was appropriate, and Russell knew that and he welcomed it. This was the only person he’s ever accepted as a son.
Sounds like a lot of moments were cut. Ever figure out who Russell’s maker was?
You know, I had my own back story for Russell. Alan Ball and those guys let me run with it, and at one point they asked me for this info: “Can you send it to us?” We never officially talked about this on the show, but Russell’s real name was Korun, which is ancient Celtic and means “Raven.” And I know who his maker is, but whoever it was, he killed him. Again, this is all back story I made up, and HBO hasn’t approved it, but I’ve been playing with it for years. My theory was Russell was a slave for most of his life, and after he was made a vampire, he killed all the slave masters and in that same hateful rage, he killed his maker.
What are you going to miss the most?
During season three, we had such a great core group — the actors who played Lorena [Mariana Klaveno], Talbot [Theo Alexander], Franklin Mott [James Frain], plus Alex [Skarsgaard], Stephen [Moyer], and Anna [Paquin]. We hung out so much on set, because we had a lot of scenes together. I was pretty close to Kristen Bauer, too. I love her. We were such a good group. And there was definitely talk around the set during season five about not killing Russell. One of the cast members was lobbying to keep Russell around, and he went and talked to Alan and the head writers, but they sadly shook their heads, and they said, “For credibility’s sake, he has to go. We can’t let him survive again.” [I heard that Alex Skarsgard tried to argue with the writers not to kill Russell. Could Eric be the major character above? – MVB]