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'True Blood's' Tara Buck on Ginger's Backstory and Infatuation With Eric (Q&A)

The actress tells THR that the barmaid's obsession with Alexander Skarsgard's Eric "becomes her sole mission in life."

True Blood Tara Buck - P 2014
HBO
"True Blood's" Tara Buck

The latest episode of True Blood's flashback-heavy final season delved into the origin of Fangtasia — and its dim-witted barmaid, Ginger (Tara Buck).

It was Ginger who convinced Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) to turn her and Eric's (Alexander Skarsgard) hole-in-the-wall video store into the vampire bar where, in the HBO drama's first season, Bill (Stephen Moyer) would take Sookie (Anna Paquin). She even had the idea for the throne on which Eric sits, calling him "sex on a throne," before Pam glamoured her and took credit for the plan.

Buck, a new series regular this season, tells The Hollywood Reporter that this isn't the last viewers will see of Ginger. "You really get her infatuation with Eric" in this season, she says. "It is something she has spent her life on every day, from morning to night, some day having either a sexual encounter or at least being validated in some way by him. I think that becomes her sole mission in life."

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"My ultimate favorite Ginger scene happens this year. It will happen in another episode coming up," she adds. The actress chats with THR about Ginger's backstory, her trademark scream and her storyline.

What do these scenes mean for Ginger's relationship with the vampires?

We see that truly, she is so obsessed with Eric that she would do anything for him. You see that in the moment she sees him, where you know it's over for her, over for life. You see it, and then you see that Eric realizes what an asset that could be. Then you see the progression of how Pam hates this place, and truly it just is sort of surviving in this interim of her existence, and Ginger has so much enthusiasm and so much creativity. … It's the first time that Ginger probably is glamoured and her mind is erased, and what's left is she is completely loyal. She doesn't necessarily remember the details of how this place came to be, but they see they owe her something.

I think just over the series, when people ask, "Why do they keep Ginger around, she's always f—ing stuff up. If they ask her to do something, she gets maybe 40 percent. Why on earth do they keep her around?" When you see this, you realize that there is something that is a part of Eric and Pam that although they're vampires, they do have some kind of conscience.

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Is this the backstory you anticipated for this character?

Not in that detail. It's definitely more fun and fantastic than I imagined. I'd always known that Ginger was this small-town southern girl who came from nothing, who had big dreams and wanted an adventurous, exciting life, and yet she's surrounded by a bunch of rednecks. I think that core of it I always associated with her relationship with Pam and Eric, and specifically Eric. She was a groupie, and Eric was Mick Jagger. She would follow him and do whatever just so she could live in the overflow of his glorious life. And in a strange way, that's exactly what happened. She goes to this little video store an hour away from Shreveport on her big adventure, and she might as well have gone to Europe. I don't think she ever returns home — she never looks back.

Will this season take Ginger into darker territory?

No. (Laughs.) I think you could expect that what she's going through is dark and sad — and hopefully the outcome for the audience is anything but. I hope it will be light and hilarious. I can't take her too seriously. As an actress, I take her seriously, but as a character, I think she's supposed to be fun.

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And will it include just as much screaming?

Absolutely. I think I can safely say it will continue to evolve, and you will see the many colors of Ginger's scream. It will not be a repeat of previous screaming. Ginger shows all of her emotions through a scream, and you will see the various feelings going on with her.

Do you have to practice that scream?

No, thank god — otherwise my neighbors would hate me. What's been so fun is, the truth is, when I first auditioned for the part, I wasn't even asked to scream. It wasn't part of the character profile. It simply was in that first season. She's in that great scene where Bill stakes Longshadow, and he disintegrates, and I throw up. Sookie is covered from head to toe in blood, so I think she and I both scream. It wasn't a planned thing. When I came back, again it wasn't necessarily there, but then I put it in. I started screaming, and then it became a running gag. I kept thinking, especially after season two, I was like, "I've got to stop screaming. How much can you scream before people want to put your eyes out?" But I think the writers have managed to put it in in such clever ways.

What's your favorite of Ginger's scenes?

There's my ultimate favorite coming up. However, I do love when I was in season four, when Pam had a skin-eating disease and I have to give her shots. She has that wonderful pink coffin, and the witches start calling, and her coffin is shaking. I have no idea what to do to assist her, but I swore that I would protect her, so all I can think to do is jump on top of that coffin. It definitely sort of solidified the screaming.

Email: Austin.Siegemund-Broka@THR.com
Twitter: @asiegemundbroka