It takes a strong woman to strip down to her birthday suit the first day on the job, and model-turned-actress Jessica Clark is just that and more.
The 27-year-old Brit is causing a stir on HBO's True Blood as the beautiful and beguiling Lilith, who we met in Episode 7 when her naked body rose suddenly from a pool of blood. We still don't don't know much about Lilith, who is said to be the world's first vampire — is she even real, or just a V-induced hallucination? — but according to the actress who plays her, the truth will soon reveal itself.
Wetpaint Entertainment recently caught up with Jessica, who gave us the inside scoop on her character, what it's like being the new kid in Bon Temps, and how she calmed her nerves in front of co-star hotties Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer!
Wetpaint Entertainment: As a newcomer on the show, what was it like filming your first scene completely naked in front of a group of people you just met?
Jessica Clark: It was pretty intense. It was my first day on set, so you show up early in the morning, and you start meeting everybody, go to wardrobe — as it were, not that I had a particularly extensive wardrobe. [laughs] And the other actors, everybody on the set was incredibly kind and welcoming. The cast is great, the crew is great.
The scene, as you remember, is in the karaoke bar, so there are a lot of people there. You have almost all the vampires, plus the wedding party, plus the extras, and then you have the full crew as well. It's a closed set, but a closed set just means anybody that isn't central to the scene isn't there, but there were a lot of people who were central to this scene. [laughs]
You must have been nervous! What was your mindset?
My mindset as Jessica was that you obviously want to do a good job, and it's your first day, and so you get a little anxiety in that respect, but I just really tried to keep my mindset as Lilith, who is this all-powerful vampire goddess. In no way shape or form would she ever experience any self-consciousness or anxiety. To be naked is the natural state coming out of the blood.
So I really just tried to stay present and connected to that power and omnipotence and the thrill of her witnessing The Authority really feast and really worship her in that respect.
How did you get into character? Did you channel Lilith in the biblical sense, or was there some other strong female figure you had in mind?
I read about Lilith herself. I did some research on her. She's present in various books of mythology, and various histories and different cultures had different interpretations of her over the years.
I just so enjoyed her power as a woman, as a biblical, historical, and mythological woman. For a female to have that kind of power and presence was extremely rare, and she was demonized for it in some cultures, so it was that more so than any other specific character.
I really tried to connect with the different interpretations of her, and of course, the specific interpretations that the True Blood world has created.
We always have to ask what it's like working with Alexander Skarsgard, Stephen Moyer, and all the other fabulous True Blood cast members.
Stephen and Alex, they were both fantastic and came right up and introduced themselves. Everybody did, in fact. One of the wonderful things about the set is that as intense as everything gets, it's a real family environment and really jovial. People are joking around, and they really much incorporated me into that very quickly.
The running opening line to me was, "Welcome to True Blood!" But they see it all the time. The rest of the cast has had scenes that involve some kind of nudity, and the crew has worked on the show for a long time, so it really is just another day at the office. In that sense it was great, because they weren't remotely phased, and it helped me.
But I can't speak more highly of them, and you just never know walking into a set — especially a highly established set with such huge stars as Anna [Paquin] and Stephen and Alex, and it's Season 5. I think there's always some chance that people have become disenchanted, or it's not that exciting anymore, but there's no sense of that on the set. Everybody is so excited and invested in creating the best show possible. There's just such a commitment from the leading cast and that infiltrates everybody.
Were you able to meet Anna, even though she wasn't in the scene?
I did get to meet Anna, because she was incredibly gracious and came and introduced herself to me, which — as you said, she wasn't even in that scene — so I was extremely impressed. And I just think she's a phenomenal talent. She was wonderful and welcoming and lovely.
What else can we expect from Lilith? Will we see her again or was she just a hallucination?
I think you will find more about Lilith.
If you had it your way, where you would like to see Lilith go as the season progresses?
I think the True Blood writers are more creative than anything I could ever come up with, so I'm just enjoying the ride. I have always loved the show, and have always wanted to be on the show. Not only was I lucky enough to be cast, but as such a fun character.
I mean, I'm a vampire, I get to have fangs! I'm very into my fangs. So I'm just loving and appreciating it, in whatever capacity they deem Lilith to evolve. I can't wait to see either!
As a fan of the show, is there anyone you would just love to get the chance to film a scene with?
I think Anna, just because she is such phenomenal talent and her work is so nuanced and so clever. She brings so much to Sookie, so that's who I would love to have a scene with.
My favorite character on the show is Pam. I think she's a lot of people's favorite, but I just think Kristin [Bauer van Straten] is phenomenal, and she does such a fabulous job. She was the one person that, having met her, I was just like, "I really love your work." That was the one time I fangirled very slightly, but the rest of the time I kept myself very cool.
In terms of people who don't interact with the vampire world, I think Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) is superb. I just love what he does.
And obviously, the most important question: Team Eric or Team Bill?
That's beyond my capability! Not even Lilith can make that decision.
Lindsay Dreyer is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayNYC.