Inquiring vamps want to know . . .
After months of radio silence, the producers of HBO’s supernatural ratings darling, True Blood, have FINALLY begun to pony up some details about the show’s upcoming fourth season. If prior seasons are any indication, True Blood‘s Season 4 will likely premiere during the Summer of 2011. It should also be at least somewhat based on the fourth book in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse fantasy novel series, Dead to the World.
As both a die hard True Blood fan, and an avid reader of the aforementioned book series, on which the show is based, I am always curious as to which actors will end up playing the characters I have read about, and obsessed over, for the past three years. One of the characters in whose casting I’ve had the most interest was Sookie’s fairy cousin, Claude. Claude just so happens to be the twin brother of the elegant fairy, Claudine, who we met toward the end of True Blood‘s third Season . . .
Lara Pulver as Claudine.
In the books, Claude is described as being six-feet tall, with wavy black hair and a flawless physique. With his chiseled jaw, soft brown eyes, and sensuous pouty lips, Claude’s looks literally take women’s breath away. Unfortunately, for those women, he is also VERY gay! In the human world, Claude started off working as a stripper, but eventually transitioned into the dual careers of modeling and night club ownership.
In terms of his personality, Claude is kind of an ass. He’s rude, arrogant, shallow, super snarky, and massively self-absorbed. And yet, Claude displays a soft spot for his sister, over whom he is extremely protective. Later in the series, he develops a friendship with Sookie, and allows her a rare glimpse into his softer, more vulnerable, side.
Lost fans will likely remember Neil from his portrayal of Charlie Pace’s drug-addicted older brother, and fellow Drive Shaft band mate, Liam.
While certainly not a bad choice, by any means (Hopkins did an excellent job playing Liam on Lost, after all), I found the producers’ decision to cast Hopkins as Claude surprising, and a bit off-putting, for a number of reasons:
(1) Age: Now, fairies are basically immortal. So, age shouldn’t really make a difference. Admittedly, however, Hopkins looks a bit older than the baby-faced Claude, who’s features stopped maturing at around age 20, in his book incarnation. Then again, True Blood has been known to “age-up” its cast from the book to the small screen, particularly when it comes to its supernatural characters.
The 41-year old Stephen Moyer plays Vampire Bill Compton, who supposedly “died” around his 30th birthday.
34-year old Alexander Skarsgard’s Viking Vampire, Eric Northman, was purportedly turned into a bloodsucker by his maker, Godric, when the former was around 21-years old.
44-year old Kristen Bauer’s Vampire Pam joined the world of the undead, during the Victorian Era, when she was just 19.
Perhaps, an older-looking Claude was cast, so that he would be more believeable, as a twin for the mature-looking actress who is currently playing Claudine (see above). Yet, part of me was definitely looking forward to True Blood roping more “young blood” (or, at least, more young-looking blood) into its cast dynamic.
(2) Hair Care, Eye Color, Skin Tone: While it’s nothing a trip to the hair-stylist, some colored contacts, and a little makeup can’t fix, I always pictured Claude as having jet black hair, ivory skin, and dark eyes, since that was how he was described in the book. This image contrasts starkly with the light brown-haired, blue eyed, and tan complected Hopkins.
(3) Personal Appearance: Claude, as he was described in the books, is an impeccably groomed, assiduously shaved (assuming fairies even HAVE body hair, which they probably don’t), metrosexually dressed, and slightly effeminate male. Hopkins, at least in the roles he has inhabited thus far, strikes me more as an overtly-masculine, rough-around-the edges, low-maintenance hombre, with a perpetual five-o’clock shadow.
(4) This is how I’m hot: While Pretty Boy Claude is drop dead gorgeous, in an almost feminine “he’s so beautiful it physically hurts to look at him” way, Hopkins strikes me as more of the “ruggedly handsome” type.
And finally . . .
(5) Drive Shaft, Drive Shaft, Drive SHAFT! I’m actually really worried that, every time Claude appears on screen, I will instinctively begin belting out the words to “You all, Everybody!”
(Those of you who were Lost fans probably know what I’m talking about here. Those who weren’t . . . well . . . watch THIS . . .)
Then again, it’s possible that the reason I’m being so VERY nitpicky about the producers’ casting choice for Claude, is that NONE of MY top three choices for the role made the cut. If you know me well enough, you can probably guess who those three choices were. But I’m going to tell you them, anyway . . .
Now, let’s see . . . a tall, dark-haired, insanely attractive, smooth-faced male, who looks like he’s in his 20’s, is capable of playing a homosexual, and can exhibit a snarky, rude, and mean-spirited, persona, while still being inherently loveable. Who on Earth could fill that tall order? Oh . . . I know . . . THIS GUY!
Of course, I’m talking about Ian Somerhalder! Based on their respective physical and personality descriptions, it seems entirely possible that Claude and Damon Salvatore were separated at birth.
And those of you out there who doubt that a “ladies man” like Ian can play a convincing homosexual, need only watch the below clip from the 2002 film, Rules of Attraction, to be proven wrong . . .
Sure, Ian’s a bit busy now, what with his STARRING role in The Vampire Diaries, and all. But, considering that True Blood airs during the summer time, during his signature show’s hiatus, I’m sure the producers of both shows can work something out! Then again, I love Ian so much, I’d probably cast him in the role of Sookie’s GRANDMA, if I thought he had a shot at getting the part . . .
R.I.P. Adele Stackhouse
So, Ian would probably be my first choice to play Claude. However, if he was busy, my second choice would do a great job in the role as well . . .
Like Ian, Ed Westwick fits Charlaine Harris’ physical description of Claude to a tee! Dark haired, dark eyed, with a sculpted physique, and the smooth baby-face of a guy in his early 20’s (Westwick is 23.), Ed effortlessly embodies the look of this magical character. As Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, Ed has also proven himself very capable of pulling off Claude’s unique and multi-faceted personality.
Like Claude, Chuck can be rude, snide, arrogant, spoiled, and ever-so-slightly effeminate, but he can also be fiercely loyal, clever, and inherently likeable. It also doesn’t hurt that Westwick is British, especially considering that all the “fairies” we’ve seen on True Blood so far, seem to possess a British accent. (I’m not really sure what being British has to do with being a fairy. But, apparently, the two are related in True Blood world).
My third and final Dream-Pick-that-Just-Wasn’t-Meant-to-Be for the role of Claude is Jason Dohring . . .
A few years back, Jason melted girls hearts the world over, as spoiled rich kid / brooding bad boy / hopeless romantic Logan Echolls, in the television series, Veronica Mars. Logan had this special way of always being two things at once. He was both snide and sweet; mean-spirited and kind-hearted, good-humored and ill-tempered, arrogant and insecure, popular and lonely, a lover and a fighter, a romantic and a cynic. But above all, he was a guy fans loved, desired, and rooted for, no matter what jerky or douchebaggy thing he happened to be doing at the time. If Claude was straight, and human, I suspect he’d be a lot like Logan Echolls . . .
But Claude is not just a loveable scoundrel, he’s also sophisticated and an impeccable dresser. Can Jason pull that off? YES HE CAN!
After the unfortunate, WAY BEFORE ITS TIME, cancellation of Veronica Mars, Jason Dohring landed the role of wealthy vampire Josef Konstantin in the short-lived CBS drama, Moonlight. There, Jason showed himself to have a knack for fashion, as well as a penchant for silk and leather, two fabrics of which Clothes Horse Claude would DEFINITELY approve!
But, as I’ve mentioned, the casting directors at True Blood have already chosen their Claude, and it’s neither Ian Somerhalder, nor Ed Westwick, nor Jason Dohring. It’s Neil Hopkins. Therefore, I guess us fans just have to trust that they made the right decision.
So, in THAT spirit (and to show there are no hard feelings), I’ve decided to end this post with a highlight reel from Neil’s portrayal of Liam Pace on Lost. And I have to say, it’s pretty darn impressive . . .
Well, at least that’s my take on it. Now, I turn the discussion over to you, fellow Fang Bangers. Do you think Neil Hopkins will make a good Fairy Claude? If not, who would you have chosen to inhabit the role?