Michelle has given a brief telephone interview to Boston Herald. What we do not know already is that she was initially frustrated with the character of Maryann. Read on.
“She is a woman who is all about appetite. She’s not human. She has a definite myopic quest that she is on. And she is going to have one hell of a time achieving that quest. Maryann is definitely a character that’s about perspective in the sense that she sees her goal as beautiful and blissful and of the divine and pure, so she doesn’t consider what she is doing as being bad at all. It’s quite a beautiful thing, and she’s graciously allowing everyone to come with her. I don’t perceive her as a villain.”
Forbes admitted she first was perplexed by the character.
“I was initially confounded and a bit intimidated and uncomfortable in Maryann’s expansiveness,” she said. “She’s so expansive that it was almost suffocating. I didn’t know where or how to move and then that little bulb goes off. And then you realize, ‘Oh, my God. This is so much fun.’ When else do I get to play something like this?”
Early in her career, she famously turned down a starring role in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
“I guess I was sort of stubborn and defiant right out of the gate,” she said. “I just knew I was too young to do one thing for seven years. I think, like most actors, I want to be challenged. The most important thing to me is I just want to be scared when I go to work.”
After she wraps up filming on the HBO supernatural drama, she hopes to take a well-deserved vacation. And what can viewers expect for the rest of the season of “True Blood”?
“This year does get really insane, and everyone is in for quite a ride,” she said. “We are having so much fun on this show, I can’t even tell you. It’s a beautiful, disciplined playground. It’s going to get pretty out there. It truly is a roller coaster.”
In other news, thanks to relentless activity on Twitter, the staff of the Brooklyn Museum (which is home to the 'Bird Lady' statue) got to converse with Suzuki Ingerslev, the production designer of True Blood.
How True Blood found the “Bird Lady”
For everything there's Google
The script for Episode 1 of Season 2 called for “a primitive piece of art; like a dancing girl” to be placed on the character Maryann’s coffee table. Suzuki and Cat Smith, Art Director, went to Google to look for images that fit these requirements, hoping to find something that inspired them. They looked at many different types of ancient images including Mycenaean, Etruscan, and Minoan examples. Entering search terms something like “Egyptian female statues,” they came across our very own “Bird Lady.” They printed out a selection of appropriate images and presented them to Alan Ball, the show’s creator.
The timelessness of Maryann
He was immediately drawn to the “Bird Lady,” seeing something so elegant, beautiful and perfect in her form that she became the obvious choice. As Suzuki pointed out, though she is not the first to do so, this ancient figure looks both modern and primitive at the same time. In terms of the show, she said using it helped to emphasize that Maryann’s character is timeless.
We also found it interesting that Suzuki said they looked at a lot of Egyptian images and chose this one precisely because it is not a “typical” ancient Egyptian representation. This was precisely the thinking behind curator James F. Romano’s choice of the “Bird Lady” as the signature image for the reinstalled Egyptian galleries, which opened in April 2003. As usual, he wanted to get people to stop, look and think twice.
How True Blood created their “Bird Lady”
The vision of movement
As part of Alan Ball’s vision for the show, which involves going the distance to add a level of authenticity, an artist was hired to make a version of the “Bird Lady” based on renderings off the web. Cindy Jackson made three statues in case one got broken during filming. Suzuki wanted a base that let the figure float and emphasized its sense of movement. So the artist drilled a rod into the bottom of the statue that connects to a flat base. We explained that we obviously couldn’t do that to a 5,500 year old object but we do have a special mount that safely produces the same floating effect.
HBO’s version of “Bird Lady” made for the series True Blood by artist Cindy Jackson from a mold she created and casting plaster.
Tthe “Bird Lady” can be read as a clue to Maryann’s eternal nature, but no, there is not necessarily any further connection.