Interview: Lizzy Caplan – In the Land of Monsters and Vampires
by Scott Juba
Published: October 15, 2008
By now, Lizzy Caplan should be used to strange surroundings. Most remember her for her role in “Cloverfield,” where she was on the run from a monster tearing up the Big Apple. She’ll soon appear on HBO’s True Blood where she’ll find herself amidst vampires. No matter how surreal the circumstances her characters find themselves in, Caplan says she appreciates the type of roles she gets to portray. “I really enjoy [playing] a tough, strong female character,” she tells me.
Expect more commanding performances from Caplan during her stint on True Blood. She reveals that she will play an original character that doesn’t feature in any of the Charlaine Harris books upon which the series is based. “I normally play a lot of characters that could be considered dark,” Caplan says. “This is a total departure from that. She’s still really twisted and screwed up, but she’s actually sort of a hippie. She loves nature and thinks everything is connected and that there is so much beauty in the world. But she’s actually kind of tweaked in the head.”
According to Caplan, her multi-layered character fits the show’s complex dynamic in which societal labels are not easily defined. “Within the vampire community, there are sort of old school vampires, and then there are progressive vampires,” she explains. “The humans can be just as evil as the vampires.”
Aside from her work on True Blood, Caplan will also appear in an upcoming western, “The Last Rites of Ransom Pride,” where she’ll play the antithesis to the stereotypical damsel in distress. “I get to play such a bad ass,” she boasts.
Caplan says she feels lucky to play such a rugged female character in a film, because she believes that the motion picture industry tends to offer less substantive roles for women than television does. “Television I think is maybe more geared toward women,” she says. “Films are geared to the demographic of young boys. There is not just a lot of faith in women in film. That’s super depressing.”
Thankfully, both film and television creators seem to have a lot of faith in Caplan. Having already worked on projects developed by the likes of J.J. Abrams and Alan Ball, meaty roles are becoming commonplace for Caplan. She says she aspires to continue working with some of the industry’s top creative talent. “There are some directors that I would just die to work with,” she says. “Any Wes Anderson stuff, I would just pee my pants [to do that]. I’m also sort of obsessed with the new Batmans, so that would be unbelievable.”
Given her involvement in both film and television mega-hits, 2008 is proving to be a charmed period in Caplan’s career. “It is a good year,” she acknowledges and jokes, “I realize I should stop bitching and moaning so much.”