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Valerie Cruz, ‘True Blood’s’ First Latina Vampire

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on July 5, 2009

valerie cruz

Valerie Cruz

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith – National Ledger

Valerie Cruz, who comes aboard “True Blood” this season as the show’s first Latina vampire, Isabel, recounts that she was surprised to find series creator Alan Ball on hand when she first went in for a casting meeting.
   “Funny, I wasn’t even expecting him to be in the room. A lot of producers nowadays, it’s like they can’t even be bothered to be in the room anymore. They want it on tape,” says the actress, known as Sylvia Prado — Jimmy Smits’ wife — to “Dexter” fans. “There are a lot of things you can’t get from an audition tape — the energy when someone walks in, their interaction. Alan is such a class act. He’s there at every table read. The writers I’ve spoken to say he’s incredibly gracious — he trusts the people that he hires to really do a great job. The cool thing about it is, once you’re cast, once the whole thing is put together, he takes a step back and lets people do creatively what they want to do.”
   One thing she did, as Isabel, “I definitely asked for the wardrobe. Everyone was pretty gracious about that. She’s 600 years old and definitely from the time of the Spanish Inquisition in my mind. It’s pretty clear where she comes from. She still speaks with a Spanish accent.”
   Adds Cruz, “I’ve always loved vampires, so I was really excited about doing the show. Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find an actor who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of playing a character with this mindset that you live forever. The world just weighs on you differently, you know? That’s part of what makes vampires so interesting to play. In a sense they lack humanity, but in another sense there is a great humanness about them.”
   Cruz says she became an avid fan of “True Blood” in its first season. “My handful of Sunday nights when I could watch TV were ‘Mad Men’ and ‘True Blood,’ even though I was working on ‘Dexter’ at the time. It made me feel a little bit of a traitor.” 

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