You may know Carrie Preston for her role as Arlene Fowler, the red-headed sassy waitress in HBO’s hit series, True Blood. Or you may recognize her from her work on The Good Wife. Theatre fans may have caught her onstage at a local Shakespeare festival, and movie-goers may point her out for any number of roles in such major films as My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Mercury Rising or Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Where ever you’ve seen her, as busy as this talented lady is, chances are you are going to see a lot more of her.
Mike Parker – Let’s see, True Blood, Bag of Hammers, What’s Wrong With Virginia?…I could go on, but it would just be ridiculous. Bottom line is, you’ve been a busy girl lately.
Carrie Preston – I certainly have. It is intentional. I can’t complain. I like to be busy, so I try to make that happen. I directed a film, That’s What She Said. It’s kind of a dude thing. I like to call it a ‘wo-mance.’ The girls come out on top. One of my best friends wrote the screenplay and I directed it in New York. We have a great cast. It definitely has the same kind of vibe as Bridesmaids. It should appeal to the same audience.
Parker – It takes some people a long time to determine their calling in life. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. You appear to have been focused on pursuing a career in the performing arts since you were a young girl.
Carrie – Yes, I started doing plays when I was around eight years old and never looked back. I remember asking my mom, ‘Do you think that I can do this for a living? And she said, “Well, somebody has to do it. Why not you?”
Parker – So, how did a kid from Macon, Georgia end up at Julliard?
Carrie – Circuitously (laughs). I always had this dream of going to Julliard, but when I first auditioned I got turned down. I got an undergrad degree from a little college in Indiana. The teacher in my theatre program told me he would get me into Julliard, which was a pretty bold statement. At the end of my time in college I auditioned for Julliard again, and I got in. That’s what took me to New York. I grew up in small towns, so being in that nurturing womb of Julliard was a wonderful place.
Parker – You are gearing up for the fourth season of HBO’s hit show, True Blood. How much fun is that?
Carrie – It is a wonderful show to be a part of. I did seven pilots before True Blood and only one of them made it to air and it was short lived. To have that pilot hit so big was a great reward. If you had told me that True Blood would be the one that hit, I would have laughed. It is a fun part. I get to transform every episode.
Parker – In addition to being an accomplished actress, you are also involved with producing and directing. Do you have a preference?
Carrie – It is fun because they all feed off of each other. I learned a lot about acting in front of the camera by being behind the camera. Sitting in the editing bay brings a lot of insight into what you need to do as an actress to help out the director. I love it all. Each is fulfilling in different ways.
Parker – While most folks know you for your film and television work, you have a solid resume on the stage working opposite some pretty high profile actors, like Patrick Stewart, Vanessa Redgrave, Roger Rees, and Mia Farrow. And I notice you seem to be drawn to Shakespeare. Where did this love affair with the immortal Bard come from?
Carrie – I love Shakespeare! It’s like people say, if you know how to play Beethoven you can play anything. If you can handle the language in Shakespeare you can act anything. There is a complexity to his plays and a universality to his work. To find a role that is iconic and to be able to put your own spin on it is an extraordinary thing.
The Seven Questions
1. What’s your favorite sound?
Carrie – “Yes!”
2. What makes you happy?
Carrie – Passion.
3. What makes you angry?
Carrie – Passivity.
4. What is the secret of success?
Carrie – Dedication.
5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Carrie – William Shakespeare.
6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Carrie – “She lived. She loved.”
7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Carrie – “I accept you for everything that you are.” I already know that, but it would be nice to hear Him say that.
Recent Conversations we’ve had:
- Memphis Beat’s Jason Lee
- There Be Dragon’s Olga Kurylenko
- Movie Dude Ben Lyons
- Booking Agent Steve Martin
- Grave Robbery Expert Brian Kannard
- CS Lewis Expert Devin Brown
- Walden Media’s Micheal Flaherty
- Love and Other Drugs’ Lucy Roucis
- Narnia’s Douglas Gresham
- Filmmaker Gary Wheeler