Michael Starr

Michael Starr

TV
exclusive

Stephen Moyer gave tips to Joe Manganiello and wife Anna Paquin in ‘True Blood’ sex scenes: ‘It’s OK, grab it’

“True Blood” stars Anna Paquin, 41, and Stephen Moyer, 54, met on HBO’s beloved fantasy horror drama (2008-2014) known for its graphic sex scenes.

That made it a little, well, awkward once Moyer (vampire Bill Compton) began directing “True Blood” episodes — and filming sex scenes involving Paquin, who played telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse.

But the married couple, who live in Manhattan, told The Post that they eventually got used to what could have been an extremely difficult situation.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer as Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton in “True Blood.”

“Steve started directing me when we were on ‘True Blood,'” Paquin said. “And in Season 7, our final season, he directed the season opener, which had Sookie in love with the giant beautiful werewolf Joe Manganiello.

“Steve directed us in a rather explicit sex scene,” she said, “so when you ask if it is awkward to shoot a movie with your husband, the bar for awkward is set terribly high in our household, not to mention on that show in general.

“Stephen cut his teeth directing [on ‘True Blood’] and by Season 3 or 4, it would be like, ‘Hi honey, who are you f–king on camera today?'”

“There was actually a day where we were walking from our trailers, Alex Skarsgard and Anna and another actor, and we were all working in dressing gowns going toward our stages,” Moyer said. “It got to a point where I was about to go to one stage and Anna and Alex to another and I was just like, ‘Go for it, guys, good luck, have a good time, make it look good.’

“In that Season 7 sequence with Big Joe, there was just a funny moment where I’m going, ‘Joe, you can do it, mate. It’s OK, grab it, you can do it.'”

Paquin and Joe Manganiello shot some explicit sex scenes, directed by Moyer, on Season 7 of “True Blood.”

Now, Moyer is directing Paquin in the upcoming big-screen indie drama “A Bit of Light,” out April 5.

It’s nothing like “True Blood” (no sex scenes) and, by now, they’ve got their own language when it comes to filming with Moyer behind the camera.

Moyer and Paquin met and married while co-starring on “True Blood.” AP

“One of the great joys of working with Anna is that I think she’s a brilliant, genius actor,” Moyer said. “But we also have a shorthand. We don’t talk about [a scene] the night before like, ‘Right, tomorrow, this is what we’re going to do.’ We sort of skirt around that because we have a deep understanding of each other as performers and we trust each other.

“Sometimes we leave it to the moment we’re shooting a scene to talk about it.”

Compton (Moyer) and Stackhouse (Paquin) share a moment in “True Blood.”

Paquin, who won an Oscar in 1994 as a child actor on “The Piano,” said it helps that she’s worked on several sides of the camera.

“As an actress/producer, I always act with one eye on the clock,” she said. “To a certain extent, there are conversations that happen at home, but those are to do with the logistics of how we can get XYZ accomplished, like what does the scene need that the movie doesn’t exist without?

“We find that in discussing mechanical things sometimes little bits of creative stuff get worked out in the process.”

Paquin and Moyer said they would work together again in a TV series if the right opportunity presented itself.

Paquin and Moyer at the “True Blood” signing at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2009. Getty Images

“It hasn’t come up yet, but that would be the fantasy scenario for our still-school-age children,” Paquin said. “If sort of a ‘True Blood’-type thing happened now, our kids would be ecstatic and it would be a huge priority for us to shoot in one place.”

“We’ve never found the right thing for us in terms of acting together [again],” Moyer said. “But we do have a really fun project, an animated series, which is really funny that would involve both of us being voices on that show.

“When we came up with this idea during the pandemic, all the massive animated companies had a crazy backlog of brilliant ideas … but we still sort of hold out a little dream for that one.”

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