If there’s one thing fans of HBO’s “True Blood” know, it’s that quick-witted vampire Pam (Kristin Bauer) has been dealt a few harsh blows this past season. First, her one true confidant — and blood-sucking badass partner-in-crime — Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) turns into Mr. Nice Guy, and then that evil witch (literally) Marnie (Fiona Shaw) casts a spell that starts to rot Pam’s flesh. And if there’s anything that Pam loves more than Eric, it’s her pretty little face.
In Sunday (Sept. 11) night’s season four finale, the tension between Pam and her maker Eric reached a humorous boiling point when Pam, ever the dramatic, throws a bona fide vamp temper tantrum at Fangtasia, exclaiming, “I am so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her stupid name.” And while Pam’s less-than-pleasant sentiments may have echoed the thoughts of millions of viewers, it didn’t do much to detour Eric from Sookie’s, well, “precious fairy vagina.”
“He really is the one rock in her life — the one person she really loves and would do anything for,” Bauer told . “She would die for Eric. That’s it for her. He’s her maker. He really is her best friend, her daddy, and they just have such a complicated relationship. And she loves being his lieutenant. She doesn’t want to be first-in-command, so when he’s not there to be her rock, she doesn’t like it. That will definitely come into play when we go into Pam and Eric’s pasts next season.”
But as an actress, Bauer points out, fans are just starting to understand Pam and all of her intricacies as a character — “part vulnerable, part badass” — and season five promises to explore Pam’s origins even further.
“I loved seeing a vulnerable side to Pam this season, ” said Bauer. “As an actor, you want to do something new every year and do something deeper, so it was incredibly fun for me to get to see who she was without Eric because he wasn’t really there for her this season. And then you take away her looks — her vanity — and I had no idea how she would react. It’s the same in real life too. When the sh-t hits the fan, you really discover yourself, and the fact that she becomes a warrior made me love her even more. She could have sat there and cried and felt sorry for herself, but that’s not Pam.”
Although Pam isn’t one to cry and breakdown, there were a few vulnerable scenes for Bauer this past season. In “Burning Down the House,” Sookie finally helped Eric break the spell that erased his memory. While Pam was initially overjoyed at the thought of Eric returning to his normal self, she suddenly realized that she was no longer Eric’s number one girl — and although she would never admit it, for the first time, Pam looked really hurt.
“In that scene, she realizes that she’ll never have the same relationship with Eric that she once had,” said Bauer. “There’s this incredibly touching scene between Eric and Sookie and then this incredibly touching moment between Eric and Pam, and then you realize that this is a huge issue for both women. Pam has always been number one.”
Since season one, Eric and Pam have always shared a strong bond — one that transcends behind the camera as well.
“Speaking for myself, I have total faith and trust and love of Alex [Skarsgard],” said Bauer. “He’s a great guy. I’ve been sitting next to him for four years now and after all of the long nights, the tough scenes and even the easier scenes, we always laugh a lot. He’s really funny. That’s one thing you don’t always see in Eric, but Alex is so funny. I just have a great relationship for the whole group — Anna [Paquin], Stephen [Moyer] and Alex. I feel so comfortable with them. They’re talented and funny, so I couldn’t ask for more.”
And while Bauer couldn’t choose one favorite behind-the-scenes moment (although the badass slow motion walk in episode 10 was pretty cool), she does believe that the chemistry between the cast is what ultimately makes “True Blood” so enjoyable — for both the cast and the fans.
“It’s like lightning striking,” said Bauer. “I’ve been on a lot of sets, and this doesn’t happen everyday.”
“We have such a big family. Seventy percent of the show, I’m not in, so I like to see everyone’s storylines. I don’t know anything about the werewolf world or Sam’s world. Every week, I’m just fascinated. One of my favorite moments all season was that great scene in episode 10 between Chris Bauer and Todd Lowe, the Bellefleurs. I couldn’t wait to see that. Chis [Bauer] is definitely one of the main girl-crushes on set — we all love him. He’s got some sort of x-factor [laughs].”
She may have a crush on Chris Bauer — and let’s face it, who doesn’t? — but she does have some trouble getting one cast-member’s name right.
“I’m watching the show and reading the scripts every week, and after what seems like years, I have a scene with Ryan [Kwanten], and halfway through the day, Anna [Paquin] says to me, ‘Do you realize you’re calling him Jason?’ And Ryan is so sweet, that he never even said a word. He was just responding to Jason all day.”
As for Bauer, she admits that she often gets called Pam — on and off screen. However, Kristin Bauer couldn’t be more different than Pam Swynford De Beaufort. For example, Bauer likes to cry — a lot.
“I’m one of those people that has to cry at least 30 times a day,” said Bauer. “Alex [Skarsgard] makes fun of me all of the time for crying on set.”
Perhaps next season, Bauer’s tendency to tear-up will prove handy.
“True Blood” has always been the type of show that mixes raw, tender moments with delightfully comedic ones. One of the standout scenes from season four was the ultimate show-down between evil witch Marnie and a very angry Pam. In the end, Pam’s tendency of irrationally acting before thinking caused the flesh to literally rot off her body. Once again, the viewers were exposed to a very different Pam — one that couldn’t hide behind her beauty. And for Bauer, that was a challenge in multiple ways. It looks like it’s not so easy to show emotions through prosthetics.
“It was a lot of everything,” said Bauer, laughing, “It was sort of like ‘Volume 11’ and Spinal Tap.”
“It was many many hours to create that effect, but I love that kind of stuff, and I love to see how that’s done. Part of it was doing the scene, and then seeing the change in Pam — both physically and emotionally. It’s really rewarding to watch the scenes and see how I did because from inside the makeup, you really don’t know if you’re creating the image and desires you had in your head. I felt like I did pretty close to what I hoped to do, so I feel really good about that now.”