Janina Gavankar (Luna) made her True Blood debut just a few weeks ago in the Season 4 premiere, but this sexy shapeshifter is already shaking things up in Bon Temps.
In part one of an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Janina opens up about fitting in with the cast, why she can’t get enough of co-star Sam Trammell, and her quest to watch True Blood in public places.
Wetpaint Entertainment: We learned this week that Luna has a daughter, Emma. Can you give us any hints on who the baby daddy is?
Janina Gavankar: Nope. I love that we’re using the word baby daddy. Can we say another name for him? Baby were-daddy, because he’s a werewolf, right? Baby were-daddy. That’s coining today.
Luna is really good-hearted — or she seems so thus far — is there anything (other than her daughter) that Luna is hiding?
[Laughs] There are details that we will find out about soon. I mean, she dropped the two major bombs. She really likes Sam so she's really trying to be honest at this point. He kind of busted her on having a child and he’s totally OK with her. She felt totally comfortable telling him about the father of the child, so those are two big bombs that have been dropped. But yes, there’s more.
Is Luna involved in the upcoming war between the witches and the vamps?
No. She and Sam have a whole other mess going on.
Will we learn any more about Luna’s ability to shift into humans?
If you could shift into anyone famous, who would it be?
What’s it like playing a shapeshifter?
It’s pretty great. I’m a nerdy actor so I love things that require sitting around and thinking about logistics of what would work, and what it would mean to get to a certain point. I had plenty of hours of sitting around thinking about if I was a shifter growing up, what would that mean about my child development? What did I do? Where did I run? Who was I with? When I got to college what was that like? And all of that stuff. I love making up back story and all of that really nerdy actor stuff.
Do you have any input on what animal you shift into?
Yes, as it is right now it seems as if we can shift into anything. We’ve all found each other in this little support group and we all go running as horses together. When we’re sitting around the campfire we’re talking about the weirdest thing you’ve shifted into and it seems as if we can shift into anything. I can skin-walk, because I did once. Everybody's like, “I can’t do that” or “I haven’t done that,” and we realize to be able to, you have to kill a family member, which is horrible. So I can do anything.
What was it like joining the cast as a newbie after 3 seasons? Was everyone welcoming?
Absolutely. I did this before on my first series, The L Word. I came in as a regular in the fourth season of an already hit show that had a cult following, and one that I hadn’t really seen before, but I knew everybody loved. It’s kind of funny that I’ve done this dance once before, so in that respect I was really relaxed and I kind of sat back.
I think just having an awareness of being a freshman in a group of seniors helped. Everybody really loves their job, they love the show. The table reads are my favorite thing in the whole entire world because it’s like watching the TV show right there. That’s as close to watching it for the first time as we get, if you think about it.
What’s Sam Trammell like?
Sam I met when I did my second audition and, as you can imagine, he’s just the warmest man on the planet [laughs.] When he hugs you, he hugs all of you. He’s fantastic. You really have to trust the person that you’re going to go down this road with and I knew that I was coming in as his love interest. We just got along really well immediately. He’s kind of a serious actor. Every single cast member has the same thing about them — we all take what we do very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves very seriously. Even though I’m pretty serious about what I do, I’m more of a jokester than most people [laughs].
I remember on the first day there was a few times when he looked at me a little sideways at some of the random voices that came out of my face and the silly dances or whatever. He pretty much melted and by the end of the day, he was doing the same thing. So as soon as that happened, I knew that we were going to have a great month together.
So far, the majority of your scenes have been with Sam. Can we expect some upcoming scenes with other cast members?
Yes. So much happens in such a short amount of time on this show, but the answer is yes.
That Funny or Die shapeshifting video you did with Marshall Allman was hilarious. How did you keep a straight face?
He’s an incredibly unprofessional actor and I am appalled that he even went for it, and I kept a straight face because I was disgusted the entire time. That’s my official quote.
[Watch the video here!]
What’s next for you?
Friday, I wrapped a film in Austin called Satellite of Love, a little bit of music coming up and some stuff that I can’t talk about! You know what I’m trying to do right now? In Austin, I didn’t have HBO and I happened to be getting coffee at Joe’s Coffee on South Congress and they had a poster — which I stole for my mom — and it said ‘Watch True Blood on our big screen at Joe’s Coffee downtown.’ So I took a picture of it and I tweeted it out and was like, “Maybe I’ll watch this her tonight, ha ha” and then I really thought about it and I was like, “Why not?!” So I went and watched with everybody — quietly in the corner — I watched the episode in a totally public screening place.
Did anybody recognize you?
Two people did, but that was about it. It was the best way to watch the show, ever. Every single line that gets laughed at I clinch my teeth and I’m like, “Yeah! score one for the writer!” and every time an actor does something that incites a reaction I’m like, ‘Yeah, score one for them!’ I just get so proud. I really loved sharing that with everyone. I think I’m going to — while I’m in L.A. — try and find some more [public places to watch True Blood.]
It must be so fulfilling to see people enjoying your work.
I wasn’t even in that episode! I’m going to do that. Tell everybody to tweet at me at @Janina and tell me of different [places to go to and watch True Blood] and I’m not going to tell anybody — I’m just going to randomly show up. In L.A. and the surrounding area, I’ll travel.
Also, Comic-Con, that’s coming up, Thursday-Sunday. I’m live-tweeting the whole thing for HBO, posting videos, hang out with the cast backstage at the panel, do a little live-feed for people back home who can’t make it to Comic-Con. I’m going to be totally geeking out for everybody. I’m just excited to be a part of something where I can share it with a bunch of people.