Evan Rachel Wood Ain’t MY Vampire Queen

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Like many True Blood fans I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sophie-Anne (Evan Rachel Wood), vampire queen of Louisiana, whose existence had been leaked through various entertainment news sources weeks ago. Last week I was tantalized by the sight of her lavish home and the image of a pale female foot, bathed in a stream of blood. And as a fan of Wood, whose portrayal of a teenage terror in Thirteen (2003, Catherine Hardwicke) blew me away, I was sure that the young actress was well-equipped to handle the role of an 1100-year-old vampire queen.

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But last night I found myself underwhelmed. I don’t blame Queen Sophie-Anne’s failure on the writers–who gave her choice lines like “I haven’t been interested in men since Eisenhower was President”–or the costume designers–who gave her beautiful white gowns and bathing suits to luxuriate in (plus a vintage copy of Vogue to read!). No, this character fell flat due to Wood’s lackluster performance (though EW’s Ken Tucker disagrees with me).

Queen Sophie-Anne is supposed to be more than 1,000 years old, but Wood plays her like a precocious child playing dress up. Such a role is certainly challenging–Wood needs to convey the sense that she is an old soul even as she lives in a teenager’s body, a state of endless arrested development. But it has been done before and done well. Here I can’t help but think of Kirsten Dunst’s turn as Claudia, a mature, blood-thristy vampire trapped in the body of a sweet, prepubescent girl for all of eternity, in Interview with a Vampire (1994, Neil Jordan).

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I believed Dunst’s performance–indeed, I found it to be highly disturbing. Dunst expressed her frustration with her small, child’s body and its incompatibility with her adult hungers. You could see her age in her eyes and in the way she carried her body. Queen Sophie-Anne is supposed to be elegant, regal and a commanding presence (she is the QUEEN after all) but as Wood plays her she is more like an annoying celebutante in the vein of a Paris Hilton or a Lydia Hearst. Blech.

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I am not giving up on Evan Rachel Wood (girlfriend did look hot), but for now I remain unimpressed.

P.S. Not enough Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) in last night’s episode. Just sayin’.

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12 thoughts on “Evan Rachel Wood Ain’t MY Vampire Queen

    Randall said:
    September 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Did you, Amanda, or any of your readers follow the queen’s directions on how to kill Maryann? I sure hope Bill paid better attention than I. I could just see him poised to fill her full of buckshot and then stop to wonder, “Hmm, okay… there’s Maryann, rolling around in pig entrails with the one best sacrifice. Now was I supposed to shoot her now or after she’s consummated the act? Damn, I should’ve taken notes.” Roll credits.

    Nick said:
    September 1, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Yeah, ERW’s portrayal of the Queen was completely underwhelming. Maybe the writers were getting tired of emo vamps?

    princesscowboy responded:
    September 2, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Nick, I also wondered if maybe Wood was playing the Queen in that way as a counterpoint to all the moody, dark vampires on the show. But, then I went on Wikipedia (yes, the source of all knowledge) and read that in the books this character is “New Orleans’s most famous and visible vampire and she has been brave, strategic, and busy in her career as a vampire leader.” As Wood plays her Sophie-Anne is frivolous.

    Nick said:
    September 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I agree, though it sure isn’t the first time the show has departed from the books, from what I hear. All I know is that now I’m even more pissed that Godric died–if Eric can freakin’ FLY(!), what was Godric capable of?

    Annie Petersen said:
    September 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Frivolous is a great word here, both for the character and the casting of Wood. She supposedly called the powers-that-be and asked for a role…too bad she sucked. So. Much.

    I also missed Eric, but we did get the phrase “teacup humans.” So good.

    Alicia said:
    September 3, 2009 at 10:07 am

    OK–I’m LOVING this, Amanda.

    I was much more distracted by Wood’s acting than her (the director’s? writer’s?) characterization of the queen. I honestly couldn’t even get that far into it–I just had “holy CRAP is she bad” running on a loop through my head. So disappointed.

    But Jason Stackhouse, in all his stupid awesomeness (which seems to get better each week), almost makes up for the Sophie-Anne let-down.

    Nick said:
    September 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I agree with Alicia–I have never seen such glorious lackwitted sincerity as Ryan Kwanten portrays through Jason Stackhouse.

    Alicia said:
    September 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm
    Nick said:
    September 5, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Wow, that was a long-ass recap for a single episode.

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