A pop-culture fanatic herself, Deborah Ann Woll never expected her role as beloved True Blood character Jessica Hamby to last almost seven seasons.
“I came in at the end of the first season of True Blood, so it was a little over six years for me,” Woll told Supanova TV host Quinny.
“I was supposed to come in for two episodes and then disappear, and I always had the impression that maybe they might want to cut back on Jessica somewhere, but I think they liked the idea of messing with her father’s perfect life.”
The same goes for Daredevil, where she won over Marvel fans as Karen across three seasons of the Netflix series and its spin-off, Defenders.
“We knew that the Defenders series was on the cards, but Daredevil had to first be successful in order for the other shows to happen.”
As for what superpowers she’d like to see Karen take on, Woll offered up: “Karen has already got a super brain and super heart, so it would be interesting to be able to look into someone and sense their vulnerabilities and you could use that for either good or bad.
“I think that’s a little bit of what she already does on instinct, like in that amazing scene with the Kingpin where they are up in his loft and playing cat and mouse with each other, that’s what she is trying to do. But it would be interesting if she actually had the knack of really sensing where you are vulnerable emotionally.”
Outside of her success on True Blood and Daredevil, Woll has become well-known among Dungeons & Dragons fans for ‘Twiggy’.
“I am a huge nerd and Dungeons & Dragons is about as nerdy as you can get,” she laughed.
“Twiggy was a character that I created a few years ago for a backroom game at D&D Live.
“I found this photograph from when I was five years old with about 20 necklaces on and a little tiara and a smock dress, and thought, ‘Look how happy and confident and creative that kid is.’
“And I think as adults, we want to try and get back to being that kid, who wasn’t self-conscious and spoke their mind and did cool things. So I wanted to create a character who embodied that, and Twiggy came to mind.”
Following her Supanova TV appearance, fans had a chance to ask questions at her Q&A panel. Here are just a few of the highlights.
GETTING INTO DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
“I was into D&D as a kid but my favourite thing to say about D&D is it’s the nerdiest game you could ever play, but requires friends. You have to be social when you do it, which is one of the wonderful things about it because a lot of people, like myself, have trouble sometimes taking that first step into new friendships. I came into D&D in my 20s but my manager at the time played, and that’s how I came into the fold, and I wanted to play all the time, so I started writing my own adventures and I’ve been running and playing since then.”
D&D IS MORE ACCEPTABLE NOW
“When I was younger it felt like an exclusive club. It felt like you didn’t get to play unless you knew a specific person. Part of that was because it was very precious for people that played, they felt ostracised by others because of it, so they guarded it very closely. But now we’re in a day and age where it’s so exciting that we can really share this game. Honestly, I call myself a D&D pusher. I really think that everyone should play D&D. Just start, you cannot play D&D wrong; maybe that’s a controversial opinion, but I think D&D is like playing make-believe when you were eight years old, and it’s just the most gratifying experience. It’s freeing, and really allows you to own who you are, even if that’s through playing another character.”
THE GROSSEST PART OF TRUE BLOOD
“I vomited buckets of blood on Alexander Skarsgård. He was very nice about it. I had vomited all this blood on him and then had to fall on the ground and writhe around in it, so that was pretty gross.”
“My base makeup came off of the death pallet. They have the normal complexion tone pallet and then they had the death pallet, you know, corpse, freezer burn, things like that. Playing a vampire, they didn’t want you to see our blood through our skin so that natural flush that we get as human beings, they didn’t want that coming out, so we had this kind of opaque makeup up top, so it was incredibly important that they match my pale skin.”
KAREN’S ROLE IN DAREDEVIL
“The cool thing about that Netflix Marvel world was that not everyone was super-powered. Most of the characters that you encountered were regular human beings. But that didn’t mean that we weren’t heroes, that we couldn’t affect change and bring down bad guys. I appreciated that the [Daredevil] writers used [Karen Page] that way, and said, ‘Look, she’s a hero’; she’s as much as Matt Murdock or Foggy is, they just have different tactics. You can bring down the bad guy without punching him in the face. Karen does it with her brain, with her perseverance.”
WHAT IF DAREDEVIL JOINED WITH THE MCU?
“One thing I really love about the Daredevil Netflix shows, it’s very centralised, it’s specific, you know. Matt Murdock just defends 10 blocks of Manhattan. I think that’s that great, he’s bringing down one guy! And it takes him three years! There’s something really fun about that because it mirrors the frustration we feel in our lives. It’s really hard to get the bad guy, and the bad guy isn’t an alien or a god, or a superhero. The bad guy’s just a bad guy who figured out how to use the system and is greedy… I would hope that if they merged the movie world and the TV world that it could contain some of that specificity. Some of that frustration about how hard it is to bring down the bad guy.”
ON BEN AFFLECK’S DAREDEVIL
“It needed more Karen.”
Lead image: Deborah Ann Woll at Supanova 2019 – Brisbane. Photo by Ewan Ly.