Lauren Bowles Bewitches Bon Temps

by Elizabeth Glauser on June 27, 2014

2012---AugSept---Scene-Magazine-Digital-Edition_web Lauren Bowles and Chris Bauer photo by John P. Johnson/HBO

This article originally ran in the August/September 2012 issue of Scene Magazine. Bowles joins the cast of HBO’s True Blood in its third season.

The latest season of True Blood teems with cliffhangers and mysteries, but Lauren Bowles
keeps tight lipped. “I can give nothing away, so don’t even ask,” says Bowles, better known to fans as Holly, the bewitching beauty with the honor of being one of the longest surviving waitresses Merlotte’s has employed since vamps surfaced in quiet Bon Temps.

The D.C. native joined the cast at the end of season three, when Sookie and company were busy fighting off royal vampires and their ravenous werewolf followers in nearby Mississippi. She missed out on most of that mayhem, but kept an eye on the crew of Merlotte’s. The devoted single mom and Wiccan waitress was a big player in season four, featured as a reluctant participant in a plot to end the lives of vampires.

The latest season has Bowles exploring the softer side of Holly as she starts up a romance with Bon Temps’ sheriff Andy Bellefleur. “It’s really fun this year,” says Bowles. “Last year we got to explore her Wiccan world. This year is more a focus on her personal life and that’s great fun as an actor to just get to know, dimensionally, more aspects of your character and to get to play that stuff is really, really fun for me this season.”

“It’s a free-for-all,” Bowles reveals of the season. “Everyone is quite literally running for their lives and I’ll leave it at that, but I am so confident that everyone is going to be on the edge of their seats this entire season.” Fan favorite or not, no one seems safe from the True Death in Bon Temps this season, with danger coming from the reemergence of the powerful Russell Edgington, a pack of revenge-seeking werewolves and a murderous mob donning Obama masks set to extinguish supernatural beings.

As a True Blood regular, Bowles gets to know how this season will play out, but before she was cast the actress was one of the show’s millions of fans, watching the writing of showrunner Alan Ball play out on the small screen. “The audition came in and I was a huge True Blood fan, but even more than that I was an Alan Ball fan,” says Bowles. “I became obsessed with him after American Beauty. I had never seen a movie like that before. And then Six Feet Under and True Blood… his writing just so resonated with me so all I could think about was that I was going to meet him in the audition.”

“Quite frankly the job seemed too big to get. I thought, ‘Well, they’ll go with a name on this.’ My goal was just to not make too big of an ass of myself so that they’d bring me back for a guest spot or something. It just wasn’t really on my radar that I would book it,” admits Bowles. “I went in and met Alan and I had to confess to him that I was just such a big fan and I was very nervous. He was so reassuring and the nicest guy so it totally put me at ease. Then I just auditioned and literally by the time I got home, I got the call that I had booked it. And you have to understand, in this town, for parts that size, that never happens. Usually it involves going back and reading for the studio, but because it’s HBO, they really kind of hire auteurs and let them do their thing, and that was definitely Alan. It was a total dream come true.”

2012---AugSept---Scene-Magazine-Digital-Edition_web2 Lauren Bowles and Carrie Preston photo by John P. Johnson/HBO

Bowles’ casting may have resulted in her dream job, but the anxiety of joining an already established show didn’t subside. “I joined at the end of season three so [I was] definitely new kid on the block and you just never know in terms of shows what you’re gonna walk into. It can sometimes be a nightmare, I’m not gonna lie,” says Bowles. “My first day, I’m in hair and make-up and I ask, ‘How is everyone, really?’ to kind of prepare myself. And they were like, ‘Everyone is awesome.’ And I said, ‘Come on.’ And they were like, ‘Seriously, everyone genuinely is awesome. You don’t last long on this show if you’re not!’ And I’ll be darned if that is not the exact truth.”

Surviving more than two seasons into the show, Bowles is now a veteran member of the cast with her own supernatural storyline. Unfortunately, her late entrance left her out of their early visits to Louisiana for shooting. Now the Louisiana landscape is recreated in California to resemble fictional the bayou town of Bon Temps. “When you’re in these mountains and you see how they’ve dressed it, it’s the craziest thing,” says Bowles. “When you are down there, or up there rather, you wouldn’t believe it.”

Even the uncanniest resemblance to southern swamps can’t take the place of the real thing, a fact that makes New Orleans and Baton Rouge one of the actress’s dream sites to work. “There’s just no region like it. There really isn’t. And there’s something so romantic about the region, I don’t mean just in the sense of boy-meets-girl romantic, but just like with the weather and the look of it all, the history behind it,” says Bowles. “It’s just steeped in drama and storytelling, so it’s not surprising for me that such interesting stories are set there.”

Holly’s Louisiana story has Bowles portraying a fiercely protective single mother of two teenage boys with a penchant for witchcraft, but in reality the actress is happily married to actor Patrick Fischler with a baby girl. Her better half recently visited New Orleans for the filming of Two Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, but filming True Blood and their young child kept her from taking a trip down to New Orleans. Keep up with the blonde beauty by following her on Twitter (@LaurenEBowles) and catch her at work playing Merlotte’s favorite Holly Sundays at 8:00pm on HBO.