July 21, 2013 7:21pm PT by Rebecca Ford
'True Blood's' Tragic Death: The Actor Speaks (Q&A)
When new True Blood showrunner Brian Buckner took the stage at Comic-Con for the HBO show's panel on Saturday, he made a point to emphasize that he planned to take the show back to its roots by lowering the number of storylines.
Well, that was fast.
[Warning: Major spoilers from Sunday's episode ahead.]
We should have known that one way to do that would be to kill off a character. We just didn't think it would happen this soon, or that it would be someone who has been on the show since the very first season.
On Sunday's episode, Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe) died. The vet, who suffered from PTSD, had always been a rather tragic character on the show, dealing with ghosts from his past and suffering from major guilt for his more recent decision to kill his former Marine buddy (Scott Foley).
Last week, we saw he enlisted one of his former Marine friends to help him end his life. Despite his friends' and family's best efforts, Terry was killed off, although he got to enjoy his last hours in a state of glamoured bliss.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Lowe ahead of this Sunday's episode about how he found out he'd be leaving the show, what it was like to shoot those final scenes and what he thought of Terry's tragic journey.
THR: How did you find out that the show was going to kill off Terry?
Todd Lowe: I was in my car, driving, and I got a call from my reps, and it was a conference call. I hadn't read for anything lately, so I was like, Why are my manager and my agent calling me at the same time? I had a feeling what it might be. They said, "Yeah, Terry is going to die this year." I didn't know how it was going to happen. A couple weeks went by and then they changed showrunners and then Brian Buckner took me out for a drink and said, "Look, listen, this is how we're going to do it. It has nothing to do with your performance or anything. We just feel like there are a lot of people on this show, and no one ever really truly dies, and we feel that with killing Terry, he has a lot of sympathy, so I think we can get a lot of dramatic and emotional mileage out of it." I said, "Ok, write me an aria if you can -- a big scene." And he did. It's a nice way to go out, very poignant.
THR: What was it like shooting those final episodes?
Lowe: It was a tough six months, I'm not going to lie about that. Coming to work every day and kind of planning my suicide. I went through a bit of a depression, and I didn't really get any of the quirky, funny Terry moments this year that I always look forward to, so it took a toll on me. I was in a dark place for a while, but just like with a death of a loved one; I felt sorrow and grief and now acceptance. I'm coming out of the grieving process for losing someone that I loved. I loved playing Terry.
THR: I can imagine it's tough to leave behind a character you've been playing for so many years.
Lowe: Yeah, it is, but I can put this behind me and move on to other things. And wait for the next project that I'm going to be right for.
THR: Did you think this was the right way for Terry to die?
Lowe: I went through phases of denial, like, "This isn't the way to send him out. He needs to go out in a more noble way." In dramatic terms, I think it does make sense. I kind of feel like I went out for the good of the many on this show. And for the fans. So, I think they did a beautiful job with writing me out.
THR: Are you going to watch the episode on Sunday?
Lowe: Yeah, I am. I don't think I'm going to watch it with friends like I normally do. I might have a private viewing. I want to see how it plays.
THR: How do you think you'll look back on this part of your career?
Lowe: Fondly. I made a lot of friends, I played a great part, I think I did a pretty good job at it. I made a little bit of money and I've been saving it. I don't have to jump right into another project if it's something I'm not really that excited about. I'm looking forward to the next phase.
THR: What do you want to do next?
Lowe: I've been doing a little bit of writing. I would like to get a show up and have a little bit more control on the production side. I've done some writing in the past, but I'm a novice, so I don't know if it's going to go anywhere. I've got a project that I'm kind of excited about. It would ideally be a comedy-drama that's in a unique workplace based on some experiences that I had in my early twenties.
True Blood airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.