Kristin Bauer van Straten is the voice of Pamela Swynford De Beaufort. Phew, that’s a lot of names.
But we mean it both figuratively and literally with regard to the long-running vampire series True Blood. Only select actresses have the pipes to deliver Pam’s sarcastic zingers.
“Yes, but I had to lower it, because in my normal voice – my higher, optimistic voice – it just doesn’t work,” van Straten says. “It had to drop a little bit. And the Southern drawl helps.”
True Blood is heading into its seventh and final season next summer on HBO and HBO Canada, and van Straten recently was in Toronto to promote the series. The fifth season currently is available on DVD, with the sixth season due to arrive on DVD next spring.
“I did not, boy, I did not,” van Straten says when asked if she anticipated True Blood would run this long. “I guess there always is that hope in an actor’s mind that at some point you will get a great role to sink your teeth into, for lack of better words. But you can’t hope for that with every audition.
“At a certain point you have to see yourself in it, you have to really create it before you book it, so you can book it. Then all the rest of it, which keeps it going for seven years, is so out of your control. But it has surprised me.
“I’m so biased, because I love these people and these writers so much. But they’ve taken it to a new depth. Saying they’ve taken it to a new level almost implies superficiality. They’ve peeled the onion every year, for each character.”
For Pam, a vampire whose coldness provides much of the humour on True Blood, the onion-peeling has revealed a softer side when it comes to her maker Eric Northman, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Some observers actually have called Pam the most human character on the show.
“I know, isn’t that funny?” van Straten says. “It’s almost like in painting, where I like to paint fairly dark, because the highlights just pop.”
In that regard, True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer van Straten is a “pop-culture” icon.