Some tidbits of interest from HBO's TCA sesh for its new vampire drama "True Blood":
**Creator/exec producer Alan Ball (pictured with stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer) affirms right off the bat that he's no vampire freak. He stumbled on the book series that spawned "True Blood" while browsing in a bookstore as he waited for a dental appointment. He was sold by the tagline "Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend wasn't such a good idea" on the first installment of Charlaine Harris' series of Sookie Stackhouse novels. As he read through it, he realized the colorful characters and backwoods Loo-zee-ana setting would make a fine TV show.
**Ball, renowned for "Six Feet Under" and "American Beauty," has never seen "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel" or read Anne Rice novels. But he does have a favorite vamp pic, 1987's "Near Dark," which marked the directorial debut of Kathryn Bigelow. "The best vampire movie ever made, in my opinion," Ball told TCA-ers.
**Ball didn't say whether he'd seen CBS' "Moonlight" or not, but he did volunteer an opinion on the show."I think it's pretty lame when you let your vampire go out in the day just because you don't want to shoot at night," Ball said.
**A great deal of thought was put into how to depict the physiological attributes of the undead. No quick slip-on fangs for "True Blood's" vampires. "We took great pains to depict a certain kind of physiology for the fangs, where they are actually retracted like rattlesnake fangs, and then they click forward. I wanted to approach the supernatural not as being something that exists outside of nature, but something that is more deeply rooted in nature," Ball said.