Where you recognize Todd Lowe from likely depends on what generation you’re from. For me, it was a dark theater in the spring of 2000. The movie was ‘Where the Heart Is,’ and the character was a good looking mechanic in a white t-shirt and jeans who went by the name of Troy. Natalie Portman, who played opposite Lowe, never had it so good. More notably, the younger crowd will remember him as Zack on ‘Gilmore Girls.’ But of all the wonderful characters he’s played, Terry Bellefleur from Bon Temps, Louisiana has to be one of the roles that has touched our hearts here at TVRage.com the most.
WARNING: ‘True Blood’ spoilers are ahead. If you don’t want to know what’s happened, then read no further!
Recently, I was lucky enough to speak with Mr. Lowe to discuss the recent passing of one of our favorite ‘True Blood’ staples. Here's what he had to say.
TVRage: First of all, let me take this opportunity to say thank you for doing this interview. We certainly appreciate your time.
Todd Lowe: No problem.
TVRage: A couple things: 1. We were all really sad to see Terry go. All of TVRage.com said, “No! No! Not him! He’s one of our favorites.”
Lowe: Well, that’s always nice to hear!
TVRage: Let me go ahead and jump into the questions that I have prepared, if you have some time.
Lowe: I do have some time.
TVRage: Post Traumatic Stress (which of course is what Terry is suffering from because of everything that has happened with his military background) is not something that one can just portray out-of-the-box, typically. Did you do anything in the way of special preparations, like spend time with veterans who had it in order to observe it?
Lowe: Well, I initially painted Terry’s PTSD with a broad paintbrush. I drew from people I knew growing up like the “Homeless, will work for anything” veterans. In the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Terry was written as a Vietnam veteran. Those guys were drafted, they didn’t choose to enlist. So, I kind of started that with him. We did go ahead and update him. We made him a veteran of Gulf conflicts. The writers never went too deep into it. The show is sort of based on mysteries, so we left it that he was ailing from something. But you never see or know what his PTSD is really stemming from. We don’t know what it does to him other than cause him moments of panic.
When I’m playing him I try to cloud my mind with a bunch of different things and then give one clear focus like making French fries, or talking to my wife. But no, I wouldn’t pretend to know too much about it and we left it kind of vague.
TVRage: You’re right, the show is very much about mysteries. You never know exactly what it is that he’s thinking. But, you can visibly tell that there are twenty different things that he’s trying to get through. Another thing I love about Terry is that he’s always been a constant with ‘True Blood.’ When you take a look at many of the scenes, he’s always in the background somewhere doing something. In that way, has it occurred to you that he’s this cohesive glue, even stable, as weird as that sounds, in the storyline?
Lowe: Yeah, I had heard something from Alan Ball [‘True Blood’ executive producer] that we need to keep our core cast, even if they are only in one scene, just to keep it fresh in the viewer’s memory that there are these denizens of Bon Temps that are there. I credit Alan Ball for this.
TVRage: In previous interviews, you said that you were told about your character dying at the beginning of the season. Would you have preferred knowing sooner, or do you think it would have changed how you portrayed him?
Lowe: No, I was glad to know at the beginning of the year. It gave me the opportunity to portray myself and look for other jobs. I was grateful rather than being surprised with, “Oh you die!”
TVRage: Something we both have in common is that I play an electric guitar and I know that you play as well. How long have you been playing?
Lowe: I’ve been playing for a good twenty years.
TVRage: Do you have a favorite venue?
Lowe: Well, we’re really happy with our place in Downtown L.A. and we play there every Thursday. It’s called Villains Tavern. It suits this little outfit, I should say big outfit, really well. It’s a cramped stage and we bring a lot of energy to it. I haven’t really been able to think about touring or getting outside of town, because I always had a work schedule to adhere to. They could always call you the day before you work and I couldn’t take the time out of town. Now I’m looking forward to that.
TVRage: Both playing live and theater brings a certain amount of pushing the performer with adrenaline, because you’re feeding off of the crowd. Obviously when you’re running lines take after take, like with ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘True Blood,’ it’s a different mindset. If you could have gotten it broken up during filming is that something you would have elected? Or do you like the long stretches and then finally getting to switch gears?
Lowe: I like the security of having a job to go to next week or next month. That was always nice. But the artist in me there’s a little bit more urgency. I love being on stage. There’s adrenaline on set too. It’s a long day of focus. But on stage you can’t take it back and you can’t reshoot it. It’s moment to moment. You just have to grow and build the experience.
TVRage: Again, I appreciate your time. What can we expect coming up from you?
Lowe: Right now, I’m enjoying the time off. I’m reflecting on the work I did on that show and I’m proud of it. I’m being somewhat selective in looking for the next film or television project to leap into. In the meantime, I’m doing a little bit more writing. I’d love to get something on the air, or a short film. And the music, I’m looking forward to getting some time and being able to focus on that.
For the latest on Mr. Todd Lowe, you can follow his Twitter, or you can check here for more information on Villains Tavern, where he can be seen and heard every Thursday night.