Many people are familiar with Stephen Moyer, the actor, specifically from the hit HBO show "True Blood". He plays vampire Bill Compton. Others may have seen him last month on TV in the live version of "The Sound of Music". He played Captain Von Trapp. However, most people probably don't know Stephen Moyer is also a producer.
He and his wife, Anna Paquin, took on producing roles in the new movie "Free Ride" which opens this Friday, January 10 at select theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will also be available through Video on Demand. The movie stars Academy Award winner Anna Paquin in the lead role.
At the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, I had the opportunity to speak to Stephen Moyer about his role as producer and what he did to help bring this movie to life. l. I decided to work in a fun question about the upcoming season of "True Blood" and the answer I got back was both shocking and surprising exclusive news regarding the show's future.
You've been an actor for a while now. As an actor your job has been to memorize your lines, hit your marks and emote, but on "Free Ride" your job was producer. What were some of the jobs you did during the making of this film? I was actually making a movie in Toronto at the time called "The Barrens". It was one of those situations where we had a window to make "Free Ride" because Anna was going back to work and I was going back to work as well. We had this window, so we took it. That meant while I was on set in Toronto, I was on the phone doing deals for "Free Ride", trying to make it happen. My co-producers kind of ran it and every weekend I'd run down to Sarasota to try and do as much as I can and pull ropes and make everything happen. It's been a great experience. It's the first movie that our company has taken from beginning to end and we got many more to come, but we are very excited about this one.
On "True Blood" you get to work alongside your wife as an actor, on "Free Ride" you were working with her as a co-producer. Was that any kind of different experience? I first got this script as an actor. It was a great part for me, but I decided I didn't want to do it because I wanted her to play this part. I thought it was an amazing part for Anna. She is one of the hardest working, most committed actors/actresses that I've ever worked with, so I knew that having her on board and having her play this part, she'd just dive in, which she did. It's a story about a real life situation about this fantastic female protagonist who is here tonight at FLIFF. She's pretty amazing and it's this incredible story of her life.
And that story is what really drew you to it. Yeah and Anna is magnificent in it. I think the two extraordinary performances are really... everybody is great, but Anna and Liana Liberato, who plays her daughter, is a beautiful understanding of what it must have been like to go through it.
What is the aspect of being a producer that you really loved the most? I started out in a little town in Essex in England and I watched everybody else kind of creating stuff. It was all musicals back then. Amateur, I'm talking amateur. I decided I wanted to set up my own theater company and I did that when I was 17, so I've been doing this for a long while. I set that up with paper round money. I had my own paper round. I did it with flipping burgers money too. We were pretty successful, actually. I like the fact that it's not me in front of the lights when I'm doing this part of the job. Of course, I then have to make up for it by doing it now (laughs). So there is no getting away from it really.
HBO announced that the next season is going to be the last season of "True Blood". So what are fans supposed to do in the summer of 2015? What are you going to do in the summer of 2015? I'm not sure about the summer of 2015, but if things go the way I'm hoping there will be something to watch in the summer of 2016. We'll have an announcement about that... soonish.
There you have it! If luck holds out then "True Blood" may follow in the footsteps of "Sex and the City" and "Entourage" and have its own movie released in the summer of 2016. In the meantime, the final season of "True Blood" has begun filming and will premiere this summer. Don't forget, you can catch "Free Ride" beginning this weekend On Demand or maybe in your local movie theater. Check your local listings.
Remember, you can always catch up on the latest movie news, local movie events and movie reviews by subscribing to this column.