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ON THE SMALL SCREEN; STEPHEN MOYER ON SAFE HOUSE.

TRUE Blood star Stephen Moyer takes the lead in the new series of Safe House. The actor, who hails from Essex, talks about taking over the reins from Christopher Eccleston, life in Los Angeles with Anna Paquin and whether he's ever tuned into TOWIE.

Your character in Safe House, Tom, is described as charismatic but impulsive, how did you find him? HE'S BEEN AWAY FROM THIS POLICE WORK FOR A WHILE AND HE THEREFORE HAS SORT OF DIVORCED HIMSELF FROM IT. AND THEN LITERALLY, THERE'S A SWITCH THAT GETS SWITCHED BACK ON AGAIN, WHICH IS THIS CASE, THIS CROW CASE, WHICH BRINGS HIM BACK. R

I wanted to make him a little bit more studied, a little bit more mature and hopefully that younger version of him, that was part of a case then, has learned and will try to be something different this time, and more measured perhaps.

Are you drawn to darker subject matter? I THINK I am. But often it's not what you choose, it's what kind of comes to you. The last job I did was about teenagers getting shot in North Carolina, which is obviously a big thing in America at the moment, and I was really drawn to that.

They were approaching it in a very fresh way where they're not sort of lionising or making anybody heroic, it's a warts-andall-approach - which I was quite interested in.

I'm quite an optimist I think (some would say stupid) - so it's weird that your sort-of screen persona finds its way... you know, Bill in true blood was quite a sort of haunted chap. But I don't say 'I'm only going in for haunted guys' - it's not something that you say to your agent.

How did Anglesey in North Wales compare with LA? IT was absolutely spellbinding. We had two bad days of fifty mile an hour winds... I thought we were f*****. We hadn't done the sailing stuff yet, we hadn't done a bunch of exteriors yet, and I thought, there's no way we are gonna be able to shoot it. Next day, bright sunshine, millpond - absolutely inexplicable.

None of us wanted to come away, we just fell in love with it.

When you're in LA, what do you miss most about the UK? WINDY roads. I really do - I really miss turning a corner and not knowing what's round a corner. I miss the smallness of it, I miss newsagents, I miss walking everywhere - I live in Venice and one of the reasons we settled there is because you can walk everywhere, it feels like a community. I miss cricket. I miss Radio 4. It doesn't mean you can't have all of those things, but there's a certain time of the day when you're supposed to listen to Woman's Hour, it's not suppose to be at 6 o'clock at night, it's supposed to be 10am in the morning when you're doing things, you know? True Blood was such a sexy show, but how much of the success of it do you think was down to the fact you and Anna (Paquin, Moyer's wife and ex-co-star) were together off-set? I THINK people's interests were peaked by it - that first season, the chemistry was kind of a bit crazy.

We were both single when we met and we tried desperately to try and be grown ups about it and there was just no way it was going to happen.

But I think that's not giving credit to Alan Ball's genius. I think it (the relationship) was a tiny part of the bigger picture to be honest, I think Alan created this extraordinary parallel world which you'd look at and think was impossible and yet, felt so close to reality.

What was it about the show that people loved? I'VE said this before, but the vampire culture of the 1930s came at a time when the world was depressed, in the Great Depression, where those things, whether it be horror or sex, were great escapism. I think in 2008, when our show came out, people were kind of struggling and there was this great frothy, funny, social commentary that was sexy and silly and otherworldly and there was nothing else like it on TV.

As a Brentwood man yourself, are you familiar with The Only Way Is Essex? I'M afraid I am. But I'm very pleased to be able to say I have never, ever seen a single episode of it. The Sugar Hut is actually in a 16th century old coaching inn that was called the White Hart and when I was growing up this place was so beautiful. Just outside where I'm from, in fact you can go in four directions from Brentwood high street and you're in countryside and it's beautiful.

Do you want to fly the flag for that side of Essex then? ONE thing that I'd say about Essex... people are really friendly, people ask you how you are, everybody's nice to each other, and yes, it probably feels like like it's a little bit false but it isn't, you're brought up to be really polite and kind and there's a lot to be said for that. So I will fly the flag for Essex - even though there's a couple of things about it that I kind of might cringe about.

That first season, the chemistry was kind of a bit crazy... On meeting his future wife Anna Paquin on the set of True Blood
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 9, 2017
Words:912
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