Kristin Bauer loves her job on "True Blood." The veteran TV actress has played scene-stealing, zinger-spouting Pam for five seasons now and isn't shy about her love for all things wicked, even Walmart sweatsuits.
"I'm really so happy with the world I'm living in. I hope it goes to 17 years," Bauer told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. "I hope we have vampires with walkers and denture fangs. That's my fantasy."
Season 5 of "True Blood" kicked off with a dirt nap for Pam as she threw on Sookie's Walmart finest and sired Tara (Rutina Wesley), turning her former enemy into a vampire. Below, Bauer dissects the new dynamic between Pam and Tara, the upcoming twists and turns of Season 5 and the ever-fabulous fashions of Pam.
After the premiere, I think the one question you must be getting asked is, "Was that a real Walmart sweatsuit?"
[Laughs.] Amazingly, I don't know. We put this thing on in the fitting -- we had a whole bunch to try -- and we did not continue after we saw that fabulous shade of yellow. And then Audrey [Fisher, "True Blood" costume designer] dyed the pants to be slightly a different yellow than the top and shortened them so they'd be too short. It's just genius.
Did you pick that one out or was it a group effort?
It was a group effort. They go and pull all kinds of amazing things and then we try them on, but we always agree. Every Pam outfit -- when we see it, we know we got it. We keep trying different things together and then we go, "Oh my god, this is it."
I fully expect fans to come up to you in Walmart sweatsuits or start giving them to you.
Totally. I can't wait to see Walmart -- I'm always writing letters trying to get them to stop doing things that they shouldn't do. [Laughs.] I have this unbelievable karma with Walmart.
Any more questionable Pam fashions coming up?
I wouldn't say questionable, but I'd say more amazing. I didn't think it was possible that Audrey Fisher could outdo herself from past seasons, but she has. You expect there's a line you cross where you've jumped the shark and go "OK, that's now ridiculous." There's an outfit coming up that's actually teased in a scene with Alex where I'm saying "How could you think I dug up Russell Edgington?" That purple corset outfit, we just kept adding more and more and thought, "God, is there a line? Can you cross the line with Pam?" and after this outfit came together we were like, "No, there's no line."
Obviously the Walmart line was the standout oneliner from the episode. What line do fans quote to you most?
Before Walmart, I got "Blah, blah vampire emergency, blah," and then after that I got "fairy vagina." And so I think the clear winner was the Walmart sweatsuit, but I saw on Twitter a bit of "super snatch." [Laughs.] This is my life, isn't it fabulous?
It is! And Pam has the best lines by far.
I know, those writers are just unbelievable.
The episode ended with a big cliffhanger. How's the dynamic between Pam and Tara going to evolve this season?
It's pretty fantastic because the best drama is conflict. You've got two people now tied together because Pam's one Achilles' heel has been tied into making this relationship possible, which is Sookie will fix things with Eric if she turns Tara. How else could you get Pam to turn someone she spent the last season trying to kill? She hates this girl and in a lot of ways, they're very similar. They're both in your face, they're both bold, they're both fearless, so it's a lot of conflict.
Both have had relationships with women in the past.
Are we going to see any romance there?
I'd love to see how they can pull that off -- two people trying to kill each other -- but with this show, anything is possible. I cannot wait to answer that question as well. I heard in the books that Pam gets a girlfriend and I'm just so curious as to how and when that can ever happen.
From time to time you've had women that you've been, you know draining or something, but you've never had a love interest.
Right, no. I went down on one girl and that's it. [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] You are ready. You are ready for a girlfriend.
Right, apparently Pam is. I don't know if it's just been off-camera or there's been a dry spell.
From what I've seen, it does seem like a very big year for Pam. There are flashbacks making it your own sort of prequel. What's it been like exploring that side of the character?
It's great to finally see how this relationship with Eric began and also who Pam was before she was a vampire. I think it explains, or supports, so beautifully what we know of Pam. The writing was just so brilliant. It makes so much sense and also it was nice to try to find and play the character that you see threads of Pam. You see who she was as a human because humans have to deal with fear -- fear of death, illness, money -- all that stuff that vampires don't have to worry about.
You have plenty of new cast members this season --Christopher Meloni, Carolyn Hennesy -- what's it been like with all these new faces?
Oh, it's great. It's so great. Really the only time we see the entire cast is at a table read and there's so many great actors and the guest stars are just amazing. Carolyn is incredible. She creates this amazing character. How lucky to have Denis O'Hare back. Oh god, Denis O'Hare is remarkable.
Will Pam and Russell be having a face-off down the line?
Well, you'll just have to see. I mean, he's pretty intimidating. I feel like whenever I'm in a scene with him and have been, he just raises the bar. And we've got Steve Newlin [Michael McMillian] back -- you know these great characters. There's a few people you're going to see back this year that you don't know about yet.
From what season? We can do some teasing.
Hmm, well there's a few seasons. They're picking from the last four.
Will Pam be facing off against any fairies?
Well, you're just going to have to wait and see.
Oh man, you're not giving anything away!
I know! Isn't it terrible, isn't it terrible? It's very interesting this year, who gets to play with whom and the factions within the factions and you're not quite sure who's on which side and where romances develop. I mean, we saw Eric with his sister. [Laughs.]
What do you think will shock fans most this season? Is there like a benchmark?
There are -- I don't remember which episode, but probably around the middle of the season. What's really fun to see this year is that everything is at stake. The vampire world -- which I'm very partial to, this probably happens in the other world, but I'm much obviously closer to the vampire world -- you think you know people and you don't. That's the fun, difficult thing for the vampires this year. We saw the clip where Eric doesn't even trust Pam because everybody is playing a card and a side, but you don't know if that's actually how they feel because we're into the political world.
Is there anybody you'd like to see guest star? You guys always have such a great guest stars.
Yeah, well, I am a huge "Deadwood" fan. I was just falling asleep watching one of those pirate movies and was reminded of Ian McShane, who played Al Swearengen. As a little bucket list for me, I would love to act with him.
Is there anything you want to touch upon that we didn't? I could go on forever.
I know, me too because I love this show so much. I love Pam, I love her relationships too, especially with Eric and this new relationship with Tara has been fascinating to play all year. The writing has been so amazing because you tie someone to someone where now you're responsible for their life, but you wanted to take it. You'd rather be killing her, but now you're responsible for her. It's been really fun to find the nuances.
It definitely seems like it will be quite the tumultuous relationship between Pam and Tara.
Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello)
Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer)
Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard)
Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten)
Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Wolf)
Roman (Christopher Meloni)
Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten)
Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis)
Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare)
Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell)
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin)
Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley)