True Blood Q&A: Carolyn Hennesy On Rosalyn Harris & The Vampire Authority

Christopher Meloni may be taking the reigns as Roman, the head of the Vampire Authority on Season 5 of “True Blood,” but with a strong and saucy woman like Carolyn Hennesy (who plays Rosalyn Harris) in his cabinet, those blood suckers are most definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with in Season 5.

After her delightful turn as the true cougar (Barbara) in “Cougar Town,” and the mob lawyer-turned-dish-delivering gossip columnist Diane Miller on ABC’s “General Hospital,” Carolyn is now playing a diva of another, more ancient kind on “True Blood.” And, to hear her tell it, Carolyn was swept into the fold quickly by creator and executive producer Alan Ball.

“I was called for an audition and that’s it. I went in, I auditioned. Obviously, Alan Ball said, ‘Oh, I see something I like here and let’s see how this works…’ And that was it. That afternoon I was a vampire,” she laughed.

If Season 4 was all about the witches, this time around, Carolyn said she and her fellow members of the undead are bringing plenty of vampire action when Season 5 premieres on June 10 at 9 PM on HBO.

“[It] will be full to the brim this year. It’s gory, it’s gooey; it’s fun; it’s fierce; it is tense and anxious and wild. So, fasten your seatbelts,” she told Access.

Carolyn revealed more about what’s ahead: We recently saw the first photo of Rosalyn Harris wearing her pearls and her Chanel-looking…

Carolyn Hennesy: Chanel looking? Honey! She’s in Chanel! It’s interesting because not only is the character of Rosalyn very much Jones New York/Chanel/Prada, but [TB costume designer Audrey Fisher] — that’s the way she thinks. So these aren’t knockoffs. Obviously vampires [are] ageless… almost from the beginning of time, so they have lots of reserves, lots of money at their disposal. This woman can afford the best and knows it and demand the best for herself… Rosalyn will be wearing many, many designer fashions.

Access: Fabulous. It seems like you get to be the ‘Dynasty’ style character then, in that style garb.

Carolyn: Yes, when you think of Rosalyn, think Alexis Carrington. Think Anne Richards. Think any of the great old grand broads, the broads with balls.

Access: Do you have any idea how old Rosalyn is?

Carolyn: I would venture to say that Rosalyn is at least 1,500 years old… We’re seeing a promo now… it’s all of us in sort of the monks garb… and Christopher Meloni reveals his face at the very end. It’s the drawing of the blood out of the wrist and all of us authority members, or most of us authority members, are gathered around, and we are very hungry and we’re very excited. Well, you take a look at the robes, and the robes are Dark Ages, Medieval times, so we’re going back some.

Access: So we meet the full Vampire Authority this season… and I’m guessing it has to do with these Bon Temps vampires causing all that trouble, killing at least two VA members before, burying a king…

Carolyn: They’re rascals! Well, we do meet the Vampire Authority in full force this year, and that’s all of us. Peter Mensah, Christopher Heyerdahl, Chris Meloni… Lucy Griffiths. All of them are just spectacular. Old, wise, powerful and gorgeous (laughs).

Access: The VA has to be really angry at this point to step in. Let’s face it, the Bon Temps vampires are troublemakers. They can’t stay under the radar.

Carolyn: They can’t… But I will say that Bon Temps is a microcosm of what’s going on in the world with regards to Vampire Authority. There are huge battles coming, because let’s not forget — and this is not a spoiler — there have been the vampires who are for mainstreaming, who want the Vampire Rights Act passed, and then there are those who are against mainstreaming, like the Russell Edgingtons – ‘We are vampires! We will eat you.’ So this is going to be a battle royale.

Access: How do you interact with Christopher Meloni on a character level?

Carolyn: He’s my boss, so we look up to him, we do what he says. He wields the big stake, as it were. His word is law. He looks to the other chancellors, he looks to the other authority members for advice and counsel, but basically, at the end of the day, his word goes.

Access: Now vampires are very lustful creatures — is there any love in your future on the show?

Carolyn: As it stands now, Rosalyn is flying solo.

Access: She’s had her fill throughout the ages?

Carolyn: Oh, yes. Rosalyn is a bawdy, lusty, very passionate creature. She is in a lull right now. But that’s OK… As I say, there are more important things that [are] on her mind, that’s on the mind of all the other Vampire Authority members.

Access: So that means you get to keep on the nice clothing, because in ‘True Blood,’ they try and make everybody disrobe at some point. I think it’s in the contract.

Carolyn: Not in mine. No, no, no. As I always say, they want to keep their ratings. There will be no nudity out of this chick. Just trust me trust me on this.

Access: You need to be much kinder on yourself. But, let’s face it, no one is going to mind seeing more Alexander [Skarsgard] shirtless.

Carolyn: Are you kidding? I’m hoping for it. I’m hoping for it in the scenes that I do. I go through the script, it’s like, ‘No! He doesn’t have to take off his shirt? Nuts!’ But that’s all right… You know what? It’s fascinating because he’s one of the most sweetest, most personable individuals I’ve ever met, just like Stephen Moyer. So, you really are blinded by the beauty for about five minutes and then you go, ‘Oh, look, there is a real person under there.’

Access: Do you have very many scenes with Denis O’Hare [Russell Edgington]? He is so good in this.

Carolyn: He is what I call, ‘A fearless actor,’ and I like to think I’m as fearless actor and then I watch Denis and I go, ‘Oh, really. That’s the way it’s done.’ I do have a number of scenes with him.

Access: How would you describe your scenes with him? Spirited? Tense?

Carolyn: I would say extremely spirited. And ‘tense’ is also a brilliant word, very edge of your seat, but you’ve heard the term ‘chewing scenery’? This would be a scenery buffet!

Access: Now there are a couple of other new cast members this season – a little Scott Foley action. Any scenes with him?

Carolyn: Scott Foley? No. What’s fun though is that I worked with Scott Foley on ‘Cougar Town,’ so we’ll sit across the table reads from each other and just go, ‘Hey!’ ‘Hey, pal. How you doing? ‘Good to see you on this!’

Access: What does it feel like to be part of this show at this point?

Carolyn: Here’s the deal, I have never had more fun, and I know this may just kill some of the soap fans, but in terms of an actress on set, I have never had more fun in my entire life. I love the character that I created on ‘General Hospital.’ I love Diane Miller. I will go to my grave thinking Diane Miller is one of the finest characters in my repertoire. Period. But, in terms of just sheer fun on the set, and the luxuriousness of the set, the costumes, the clothes, the makeup, the detail, the abundance — It’s just spectacular.

-- Jolie Lash

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