True Blood's 'Tara' Chats Season 4's Witches and Character Development

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.

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50 Cent And Kenya Barris Developing TV Series Based On 'The 50th Law'

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is teaming up with actor and director Kenya Barris to create a television series based on Jackson's New York Times bestseller, The 50th Law, co-written by author Robert Greene. The Power executive producer and black-ish creator will join forces to create an original show that will stream on Netflix. No word on its premiere date or who has been cast for the series.

In true, 50 Cent fashion, Jackson took to his official Instagram to celebrate and share the news. "Netflix now you know this is a problem, Kenya Barris is no joke," reads his post's caption. "And if me and you ain’t cool, you ain’t gonna make it. 😆Let’s work! 💣Boom🔥 🚦GreenLight Gang #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi #bottlerover"

Jackson will serve as co-producer by way of his G-Unit Film & Television company which has a hand in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost and ABC's For Life. Barris will work alongside his #blackAF co-executive producer Hale Rothstein for the pilot and show's script under his production company, Khalabo Ink Society.

Speaking of Khalabo Ink Society, Barris' and his company will have a hand in a couple of upcoming projects: Kid Cudi's upcoming adult animated music series, Entergalactic and MGM's upcoming biopic on the career and life of comedy legend, Richard Pryor.

Fif's G-Unit Film & Television imprint, more original programming is on the way: Power Book III: Raising Kanan premieres this summer and Black Mafia Family has begun shooting its series debut. His current shows —Power Book II; and For Life—have been renewed for another season on Starz and ABC, respectively.

Jackson and Greene's The 50th Law is a semi-autobiographical book that tackles lessons around fearlessness and strategy while including inspiring stories from 50 Cent's life and tales from notable historical figures. It went on to be a New York Times Bestseller in 2009.

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Questlove Is Directing A Sly Stone Documentary

The Roots' own Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be directing a documentary about the life of Sly Stone, founding member of legendary funk band, Sly and the Family Stone.

The untitled feature film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations."

“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA," said Questlove in a press release. "’s a black musician’s be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”

“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” expressed Amit Dey, Head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.”

The project will mark the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist's second directorial project (see his Sundance award-winning Summer of Soul) by way of his Two One Five Entertainment production company. Award-winning actor and rapper Common will serve as an executive producer via his Star Child Productions along with Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone via ID8 Multimedia. Derik Murray and Brian Gersh of Network Entertainment will serve as producers with Zarah Zohlman and Shawn Gee as producing partners.

The film's official title and release date has not been announced.

Earlier today in partnership with BET Digital and Sony Music's “This Is Black” Black History Month campaign, an animated music video for the group's 1968 hit single, "Everyday People." Revisit the classic song down below.

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FX's 'Hip-Hop Uncovered' Shows How Big U, Deb Antney, Haitian Jack, Bimmy & Trick Trick Hustled The Game With Street Savvy

Rarely do the strong survive long enough to tell their story in their own words, so bear witness to some of the most notorious deal makers and street shakers in FX's new docu-series Hip-Hop Uncovered. Hailing from hardcore locations all over the map, California's Eugene "Big U" Henley, Queens, New York siblings James "Bimmy" Antney and Deb Antney, Detroit's Trick Trick and Brooklyn's infamous Haitian Jack, represent the mind and the muscle of the rap world's background boss section, where the real money and moves are made.

After last week's two-episode debut (Feb. 12th) of a six-episode season, we have the cast member's thoughts on what it was like taping the show and why they participated in the series. Remember, these storied behind the scenes executives are normally in the background, but are now telling their important stories that weave their importance in the industry that shapes the world...hip-hop.“A true dime is steel-heavier than a dollar.” Watch Hip-Hop Uncovered Fridays at 10 pm ET on FX.

Deb Antney: "By doing the show, it was very therapeutic. I’ve opened up and let you get a glance of what is in my Pandora’s box. I’ve shed pounds, even inches. I’m truly grateful I’m here to tell any part of my story. Now get ready for my book Unmanageable Me.

The show allowed me to showcase my truth the way it needed to be told. The Debra Antney way!

Being Debra Antney was not always glitter or gold. Like most, I went through some things. I was defiantly a product of my environment, it made me who I am today! I always knew how to get myself to the top and that’s exactly what I did. Thank you for being a part of my journey."



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Big U: "I loved filming this show. It brought up so many memories going back to the house I grew up in, remembering those special moments with family. It was fun to sort of relive my past, but the best part was really seeing my evolution. I’m such a different man today than I was back then. I feel good that the world will get to see the person I’ve become. I did it because for the first time, I knew I could be in full control of my own story, especially since I’m an Executive Producer on the series."



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Trick Trick: "[Taping the series was] weird as f---!! Because, I’m not used to that type of attention. I’m very private, but oddly enough, it was somewhat... refreshing!

[I did the show] because Big U called.”


"Well, I choose to do the series because I was told who was involved from the cast to an all-Black production. Taping was like me living my past all over again and we show[ed] the world how we really lived and the things we went through."

Haitian Jack: "Taping the series, to me, was definitely a great experience.  Everybody that was on there, [producers] Oby, Rashidi and everyone else were very polite to everyone and we got everything we asked for.  When you have a crew like that, it makes it really easy for you to work with it.

[I did the show because] I like when they started to say, 'Let’s dig back into the past,' because that’s what my life is all about, the past.  The fact that Big U came up with it and hit me up with it is another reason because I respect what he is doing out there with the kids and his foundation. So I didn’t mind teaming up with him and everybody else, Deb and Trick Trick, Bimmy. I think we have a great cast and I’m proud to be a part of it.  I think we did it because we all knew where hip-hop came from because we lived it.  We wasn’t just some people who just popped up out of nowhere and started blogging about it. We were there.  We watched the deaths, we watched the lifetime prison sentences.  We lost a lot of friends to death and prison. We all lived it.  They are going to get a good account of what went on in the 70s and 80s."

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