VIBE caught up with Rutina Wesley, better known by True Blood fans as "Tara," the snarky tell-it-like-it-is mouth almighty of Bontemps. Here, she chats season four's witch craft, why playing Tara can be challenging and this season's new addition, Fiona Shaw. —Starrene Rhett
What can True Blood fans look forward to with the season three DVD?
There is some fun commentary from different characters and some of the directors. The best feature of the DVD is the play by play of the episode where the character will actually tell you what’s going on in that moment⎯what was funny about something, if it was a wardrobe malfunction, or if they forgot their lines there, so its like an inside scoop, behind the scenes type of thing. It’s like welcome to our world, there are a lot of funny things when the cameras are not rolling, but even when they are rolling, you don’t get to see it on the final episode.
Share a funny story from set during taping last season.
One of my favorite scenes is when James Frain (Vamp who kidnapped Tara) throws his plate at the guy’s head and then proposes to me and he’s like “What’s wrong?” and I am like “I don’t eat flowers, I eat food.” That was a crazy scene. James is very playful and very professional. He has some of the greatest instincts out there that I’ve ever seen in an actor, so it was just a real treat working with him.
Speaking of all the craziness Tara went through last season, she just can’t seem to catch a break. I know you can’t reveal too much, but what will we see from Tara season four, will she be angry Tara again or find some real happiness?
I think that she is going to get sucked back into the world of Bontemps and ideally be faced with vampires again and get swept up in a world that she never even dreamed of. Without saying too much, there will be a little bit of happiness for her for a while but it is True Blood so it probably won’t last; but it is definitely a more stable Tara. She had some time to find herself and love herself and find some confidence in herself and grow hopefully that will open her up to the possibility of other things in the world when you are secure with yourself it allows you to be secure in friendships, relationships or what have you. It will be nice to see her stand on her own two feet finally. I would even say it’s a little bit of the season one Tara that we got back, you know the sassy kind of funny Tara there’s gonna be some of those funny moments this season but it’s also very bloody and very raw and she’s gonna be faced with a lot of challenges this season.
Your personality is so opposite of Tara so what’s your most challenging thing about playing her?
I think the most challenging thing about Tara that she’s she is so volatile. I hate to use that word. I would rather describe her as a hard flower. As the season goes on, we are sort of chipping away at the outside of that flower, that rock. Then we see these beautiful soft petals come through, which is the essence of her because ideally she is a young woman who didn’t really have a good childhood and that’s why she is so hard and has all these walls up and all these defenses. I think that s very challenging to play. Also, just facing vampires and being tied up or duct taped⎯all that stuff, mentally, as a woman, is very hard for me especially because I have to go home to my husband and he’s like, “Can you leave Tara at work?” I love the funny sassy Tara. I love throwing people off, because that is not how I am usually in my normal life. I love just letting people have it. I think Tara is like the voice of reason, she’s the truth, she’s fair, she’s a loyal friend and we will see that definitely in season four. She is one of those characters that any actor would dream of playing. The entire writing team has given me an incredible journey every episode is something different; I have to pull from the depths of my pool of talents and I have to go there because if not, it is not going to be believable.
Season four is going to see a lot more witches. Give us some cool points about what we can expect.
So when you have witches and vampires, supernatural creatures there is bound to be some tension [laughs]. You are going to see some things not go so well, some fighting, some bloody True Blood, which we all know and love.
Lafayette started dabbling in witchcraft last season, is he going to be a villain?
No, I wouldn’t say he is a villain but his character is gong to go through a whole ordeal that is going to challenge Lafayette as a person. He is going to have to look within himself and see something that he has inside that he didn’t know, so it is going to be interesting to see him take that journey. We also have the lovely Fiona Shaw who is joining us this season. She is out of this world. she is such a treat to work with. She came to speak when I was at Juilliard, she also was in Medea (Ed note: Not Tyler Perry) and to now work with someone like her is so amazing. I can’t even put her talent into work. She is so brilliant and so generous. The advice that she gives me from just watching her blows my mind. That is such a real treat. I hope people love to watch her.
True Blood season 4 premieres Sunday, June 24 at 9pm on HBO. True Blood season 3 is now available on DVD.