To shoot the title sequence, the production crew took a 4 day trip to Louisiana, Chicago (where the church was filmed), and Seattle (for the bar scenes and writhing bodies). They would jump out of their cars as soon as they saw something they liked, or got permission to shoot people's homes, like the man in the rocking chair. He later had a few beers with them. Executive producer Mark Bayshore is the man dancing with the girl, her arm around him, and his sons are the boys with berry juice over their faces.
The title sequence avoids using any of the actors because Alan Ball dislikes other TV shows that do that. Since we're watching these people for the next hour anyway he doesn't see the point in it.
The name of the fictional northern Louisiana town, Bon Temps, means "good times" in French, and is a nod to the Cajun expression, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!")
In the novels, Tara doesn't appear until Book 2, Living Dead In Dallas. She's only a minor character and not Sookie's best friend like she is in the series.
The American Southern accent sounding main cast includes Anna Paquin who grew up in New Zealand, British Stephen Moyer, Australian Ryan Kwanten and Swedish Alexander Skarsgård.
The part of Tara Thornton was originally given to Brook Kerr. Rutina Wesley replaced her after two episodes were filmed. All of Kerr's scenes were re-shot.
The name of the werewolf bar, "Lou Pine's," is a play on the word "lupine," an adjective that means "having to do with wolves" (from the Latin "lupus," for wolf).
Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels makes a cameo in the Season 2 finale at Merlotte's. Also in the same episode, Bill Compton has a reservation at a French restaurant, and where he's written Mr, the r is superscripted, just like it was in the olden days; a reflection of his age.
Stellan Skarsgård was offered a role but had to turn it down as he was unavailable.
Alexander Skarsgård, who plays Eric, is from Sweden and the language spoken by him and his subjects is Swedish.
Sam Trammell is the only cast member who is actually from Louisiana, the setting of the show.
The books are told from Sookie's perspective, but the series breaks away from this approach.
Michael Raymond-James hired a dialect coach to pull off a Cajun accent. The two worked closely on the script, inserting French into Rene's dialogue for effect. Some people found it hard to understand this, because his accent was that authentic. The dialect coach did the same work with Michael Jeter on The Green Mile (1999).
Currently the show with the largest cable audience, a record previously held by The Sopranos (1999).
The Dallas hotel Sookie and Bill Compton check into in Season 2 is the hotel Carmilla, a reference to the vampire novel of the same name from 1872. The scenes at Carmilla were shot in 2 days, 18 hours for the first and 24 hours the following week. The guests brushed shoulders with Anna Paquin as well as the employees.
Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten and Nelsan Ellis are the only actors to appear in every episode of the series. Scott Winant is the only director who worked on every season.
Stephen Moyer is the only cast member who directed episodes. He directed 3 episodes between 2012 - 2014.
At Maryann's mansion, there is a mural of Pan beside the pool. The female figure in the mural was altered to look like Maryann.
The exteriors for the mansion home of Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, and his husband, Talbot, were filmed on location at Longwood, a mansion in Natchez, Mississippi. Longwood is unusual in several respects: it is an octagonal structure, an architectural style that was otherwise unknown at the time in the region; the tower has a large, onion-shaped dome on its top; and because the Civil War interrupted its construction, it has never been completed - the family that commissioned it was never able to live in the main part of the house and instead furnished the basement. Longwood is a registered National Historic Landmark
Joe Manganiello revealed in an interview that there were plans for an emotional storyline with Robert Patrick (Alcide's father) and another with him teaching Luna's daughter what it meant to be a werewolf, but the change of showrunners in the middle of season six ditched all those ideas.
Maryann is supposedly a Maenad. In Greek, this is a female follower of Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine. To illustrate that point, Maryann is often seen drinking a glass of wine.
Russell Edgington favors Waterford crystal. His mansion is filled with pieces, and the urn containing Talbot's remains his also by Waterford. According to production designer Suzuki Ingerslev, the pieces were lent to the production by the owners of the famous Irish crystal manufacturers because they are fans of the show.
In the book and TV series, you can rescind a vampire's invite, which goes against most vampiric lore.
Godric is a teenager in the novels. When his lair was blown up it was actually destroyed. It was toughest on the crew because they built it from scratch.
In the book series, in order to modernize, Godric has changed his name to Godfrey, and he is an old vampire of unspecified age.
Stephen Moyer starred in the 2011 post-apocalyptic vampire flick "Priest" between seasons of "True Blood".
Nearly every episode of True Blood (2008) ends on a cliffhanger. The following episode picks up right where the last one left off.
Each episode title is a song that always plays out over the end credits. One of the songs from Season 2, Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus had to have a line changed. It went from "white as snow" to "black as snow" to remove any connection of race and sin, and the suggestion that white is pure while black is not.
Because vampires are scarred by silver, they cannot use traditional silverware; Russell Edgington's table is set with gold flatware.
The first season is based mostly on 'Dead Until Dark,' the first book of Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series.
Fiona Shaw portrays a witch in this series. Ironically, her most famous role is of Petunia Dursley in the "Harry Potter" films, a woman that despises the supernatural and witchcraft.
Vampires cry tears of blood in the series; this may have been inspired by the works of Anne Rice, where vampires do the same.
The bird lady sculpture that Sam Merlotte stole from Maryann was made in 3 days. 2 other copies were made and kept on standby. Cindy Jackson didn't mind because she was used to tight deadlines after designing toys for Happy Meals. She did it in her kitchen after her studio was demolished by a wayward driver. The sculpture was a bird lady because it best reflected Maryann's nature, which is why Michelle Forbes performed many scenes with her arms up in the air; she's supposed to be communing with her god.
Carrie Preston revealed on an interview given in 2016 that she found out she was getting paid less than a male actor who had a role similar to hers in size and importance.
While shooting some of Season 2, Ashley Jones was concurrently appearing in The Bold and the Beautiful (1987). She often went without sleep between shifts. She also has a no-nudity clause written into her contract, even when the casting call insisted on it. So whenever Daphne's character involves anything like seduction, its done in silhouette instead.
The main note creator Alan Ball gave Michelle Forbes to portray Maryann was to play "pure bliss".
The Fellowship of the Sun church is the Sky Rose chapel at Rose Hills memorial park in Whittier, California. Its 15 miles East of downtown LA. Its the largest cemetery in the US with over 600 employees. It was one of the first to offer all services of memorialization.
James Marsters auditioned for a role but producers felt he was too short for the part.
During Season 1, we see the coffins of the three members of Malcolm's nest. One of the coffins in the nest (specifically the green marble one) has "Gott ist tot" written repeatedly around it's side. "Gott ist tot" is German for "God is dead".
The environment of Bon Temps, hot and humid, is meant to be like a character in the series; to set the scene for passion and horror.
After Alan Ball left the showrunner position after season 5, Mark Hudis took over. But after a few episodes of season 6 had been shot, Hudis was replaced with Brian Buckner, who ran the show until the end.
Alexander Skarsgard's character has a relation with his brother's, Bill and Gustaf, characters in Vikings and Hemlock Grove. Bill plays a upir, a vampire who can walk in the sun, in Hemlock Grove. Gustaf plays a viking in Vikings.
Queen Sophie-Anne's house doesn't have an ocean view really; the windows each had a custom made diorama to give the illusion of a view; its meant to show what she might like to gaze upon in daylight.
In season 4 the name of the Shreveport Werewolf pack leader is Marcus Bozeman. In Dutch "Bozeman" means 'angry man'.
The stones in Miss Jeanette's exorcism belong to one of the show's writers, Chris Offutt. He has a whole collection of them since childhood.
In Season 4, Episode 3 "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?", Sookie is seen reading a novel by Charlaine Harris at her kitchen table. Charlaine Harris is author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.
Katee Sackhoff was offered the role of Debbie Pelt but turned it down to appear in the pilot Boston's Finest (2010).
Zack Snyder is reportedly a huge fan of this series and "noticed" Joe Manganiello as a possible Superman even before signing in for Man of Steel (2013). Manganiello was about to make a screen test with a Superman suit when HBO stepped in and prohibited him from any auditions due to contractual obligations with this series.
Bill Compton was born on April 9, 1840, and died (made into a vampire) on November 25, 1868, according to the novels. Although he has the appearance of a 28 year old man, he is 168 years old in the pilot episode.
Maryann's mansion was filmed close to the Huntington Library and gardens, the Santa Anita racecourse and the LA arboretum; all popular filming destinations.
Anna Paquin worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) between seasons. But all her scenes in the film were deleted.
Lafayette was one of the most important characters on the show, in fact one of the few that was in every episode; however, he was killed early on in the second book "Living Dead in Dallas".
Courtney Ford (Portia Bellefleur) previously auditioned for the roles of Daphne Landry and Debbie Pelt.
In the pilot episode, when Sookie returns home from the bar, her gran Adele Stackhouse ( Lois Smith) can be seen reading a Charlaine Harris novel called Last Scene Alive.
Stephen Moyer had already appeared as a vampire in the excellent UK TV series Ultraviolet. He was the best friend, Jack Beresford, of the main character Michael Colefield who was played by Jack Davenport.
Season 2 corresponds loosely to Living Dead in Dallas, the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Season 3 corresponds loosely to Club Dead, the third book in the series.
In the book series, the synthetic blood Tru Blood is called TrueBlood (with an E and no space) most of the time.
Michelle Forbes watched the films of Ken Russell, as well as channeled 80s artist Lydia Lunch to get her portrayal of Maryann.
When Bill takes Sookie to Fangtasia for the first time in Season: 1 Episode: 4, a remix of Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" can be heard playing.
Nelsan Ellis died of Complications from heart failure on July 8th 2017 at the age of 39.
Mehcad Brooks, Britt Morgan, Jim Parrack and Joe Manganiello would all portray DC Comics characters in later productions. Parrack portrayed Frost in Suicide Squad (2016), Manganiello is set to star as Deathstroke in "The Batman" (both set in the DC Extended Universe). Brooks and Morgan guest-star in Supergirl (2015) as James Olsen and Livewire, respectively. Joe Manganiello was also considered for the role of Clark Kent/Superman in Man of Steel (2013).
The song commonly heard in scenes involving a Wolf pack, is "Spoonful" by Howlin Wolf
Anna Paquin starred as the Marvel Comics character Rogue in the X-Men (2000) film series, while Stephen Moyer has a role in the Fox television series also based on the "X-Men" comics.
In the show in season 2 Eric reveals that Godric is his maker; however, in the Charlaine Harris' novels, his maker is actually a man named Appius Livius Ocella.