Yes, it can be a major disappointment when things don’t go according to plan, but sometimes things happen for a reason and, looking back, that’s exactly how Anna Camp feels about losing the lead role in HBO’s True Blood to Anna Paquin.
Camp is in the spotlight for the next edition of Collider Ladies Night in celebration of a whole batch of new releases including The Lovebirds, Desperados and Here Awhile, but paving the way to those projects meant looking back at some of her most unforgettable credits and, of course, that had to include how she scored the role of Sarah Newlin on True Blood. While chatting about having a lengthy resume of film, television and stage credits, Camp revealed that she thought she’d spend the entirety of her career doing theater in New York until she hit it big during her very first pilot season:
“I actually never thought I would be in LA working in TV or film. I thought my whole career would be theater in New York. I mean, I really was like, ‘I’m gonna be broke, but I’m gonna be happy and I’m gonna be really tried and I’m gonna do theater for my whole life because I love it so so much.’ So I was just as shocked to audition for my first pilot season right out of college and luckily book a pilot which was great, and then I met Alan Ball in an audition for True Blood, and passed Anna Paquin in the hallway. I remember they were like, ‘You’re testing for Sookie! You’re testing for Sookie!’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so excited!’ And they were like, ‘You’re testing against this one other girl.’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, who’s this gonna be?’ And I was straight out of college with like no credits. And then in the hallway Anna Paquin and I pass each other and I was like, ‘Oh! Well she’s gonna get it! She has an Oscar!’ [Laughs] You know what I mean? Come on! But it was so nice to have that audition go well and then have Alan Ball offer me the part of Sarah Newlin for the second season so that was pretty cool that that worked out that way.”
So yes, Camp did eventually score a major role on True Blood, but there was still that period between the disappointment of not booking the part of Sookie and the thrill of finding out that the role of Sarah Newlin was hers:
“Funnily enough, my best friend from high school was living in LA at the time and I was in NY, and she was Anna Paquin’s stand-in on True Blood. And she calls me up and she goes, ‘Anna, there’s this show that’s so right for you and this character that Anna Paquin is playing, you woulda been so …’ And I was like, ‘Don’t even talk to me. I tested against her for that role!’ And I was so sad. I luckily booked a pilot that didn’t get picked up to series that same season, but then flash forward, the first season is over, it’s a huge hit and then my agent calls me and he was like, ‘I have a little bit of a surprise for you. Alan Ball called and he really wants you to come be a part of the series in a different role but something that he thinks you could totally kill and he wants to talk to you on the phone.’ So I was freaking out, jumping up and down, talked to Alan Ball on the phone and realized, things happen for a reason, you know? I got to do Equus on Broadway opposite Daniel Radcliffe and I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I been cast as Sookie, so I started to realize that there are certain things that happen the way they’re supposed to and not to beat yourself up too much because that was never my role to begin with; that was always hers. And one thing led to another and then I got to act with her, so it was really great.”
This snippet of our conversation alone highlights how prolific Camp has been over the years, and in a wide variety of mediums nonetheless, so you’re not going to want to miss our full chat on Collider Ladies Night covering her journey from that first pilot season to having three feature films released in a single summer season. While you wait for the full episode to drop, you can catch Camp in The Lovebirds which is now streaming on Netflix. Here Awhile will also be available to watch on VOD beginning June 9th and Desperados drops on Netflix on July 3rd.