To an audience that was decidedly less giddy compared to what “True Blood” lead cast members Anna Paquin (who plays Sookie Stackhouse) and Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) experienced at this year’s Comic-Con, Alan Ball confirmed he is sticking around as creator/exec producer of the popular HBO series. “Everything ends at some point,” said Ball, “but I just closed a deal to do another season. I don’t have any desire to leave because I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life.”
 
On character development in season 4, Anna Paquin revealed that Sookie is entering an era of independence. She’s made a decision to be on her own—which means she’s telling her suitors to get lost. “And she’s sort of OK with whatever that means,” Paquin added. “She’s operating from the position of not being so needy.”
 
Paquin and Moyer’s off-screen romance is no secret to show fans and gossip hounds alike. So has it affected the show on some level? Ball’s response: “I know they think they kept it a secret for a long time. It has never impacted the show in any way other than positive. Their love for each other I think really became part of Sookie and Bill’s love for each other.”
 
As the series attempts to stay true to the books it’s based on (Charlaine Harris’ series of novels “The Southern Vampire Mysteries”), there’s a certain amount of resignation to the source material. “You have to take the fact that things are going to lock you in,” said Ball. But the story is still somewhat mutable. “I work with 5 good, smart writers. It’s a very democratic process. If they say, you should do this this way instead of the way in the books, then I’m going to listen.”
 
From a writing standpoint, the greatest challenge is “telling all the stories in the amount of time we have to tell them,” said Ball. “Organically it’s evolved into a bigger thing every season.” Getting everything done on time requires scaling back and dropping scenes on occasion. The key, said Ball, is that everyone really loves working on the show, from PAs to grips to actors. “The material is so much fun. I still can’t believe I get to do this for a living.”
 

The writing process is not only collaborative within the writers’ circle. Paquin and Moyer are invited to provide input as well. “Alan said to us, if there’s anything missing, anything we cold bring to it, help us,” said Moyer. “What’s amazing about the show is that they write for us now—knowing who we are and what we can do.” Ball agreed: “Both Stephen and Anna mentioned things, and said wouldn’t it be nice if I was able to be a part of this. And [their suggestions] are both going in.” 

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