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Interview with Marshall Allman

Marshall Allman Tommy Mickens

HBO

In this episode, Tommy literally risks his life for his screwed-up parents. Why is he so willing to keep doing it?

Marshall Allman

It's the classic codependent guilt trap. On one hand, he shouldn't have to do this, but on the other hand, he feels that if he walks away, his parents will be out on the street and then dead in a few months. So what's the lesser of two evils?

HBO

He does transform into a pretty tough-looking pit bull -- did you meet his animal counterpart on set?

Marshall Allman

Yeah -- he's totally sweet and like the nicest dog I've ever met -- not as fierce as he looks onscreen. I'm actually anxious to see the dogfight scenes, because when they shot them, it was really strict. They weren't allowed to have two pit bulls in the ring at the same time because of animal protection laws. So I haven't seen how it all turned out.

HBO

Why does Tommy get such a kick out of provoking Sam?

Marshall Allman

Sam's never had a brother, so he doesn't know how it works. Anybody who has a brother -- especially in the South -- knows that pretty much all you do all day is get under each other's skin and mess with each other. It also comes down to the fact that Sam is so na´ve and sincere about his brotherly relationship, that Tommy sees he can take advantage of that. It's a defense mechanism for Tommy, because he has his own secrets that you haven't seen yet. He's gotta be hiding something, right? It is 'True Blood,' after all.

HBO

So do you have a little brother that you picked on?

Marshall Allman

I have a big brother who picked on me! Maybe that's why I'm so excited  because I'm finally getting to return the favor. Me and my brother have a great relationship, but growing up, we definitely fought. I know it's a Southern thing, but I assume that it's like that all around the world.

"Me and my brother have a great relationship, but growing up, we definitely fought. Maybe it's a Southern thing."

HBO

Has Sam Trammell given you any big-brotherly advice while shooting?

Marshall Allman

We definitely had a talk about preparing for the nudity and the shifting -- little things here and there. Knowing that he was there too helped. There's not a whole lot of advice, like, "Wear a really good jock strap," or anything like that. Just knowing he'd been through the same thing helped. My character would never be nervous about being naked, so once I was actually in it, I kind of just got tunnel vision and focused on what I was doing.

HBO

What do you personally have in common with Tommy?

Marshall Allman

Well, I'm naked right now while I'm doing this interview & sorry, didn't mean to make you uncomfortable there. Maybe that's too much information, right? I think I gravitate towards certain things about him. I like his impulsive side -- that he wants to shake things up and be adventurous so he has a good story to tell --I definitely have that side to me. He sees what he wants and goes after it. But I'm definitely more thoughtful toward other people in my real life. I'm not as judgmental or selfish as he is.

HBO

Now that Tommy has dumped Melinda and Joe Lee, what is he dealing with for the rest of the season?

Marshall Allman

We're definitely going to face the question of whether Tommy and Sam can make things work out. Can they be real brothers? And some of what Tommy's still hiding will come out...

31: Hitting the Ground

Season 3