Sometimes the family business is embedded in people’s blood. That’s certainly the case with up-and-coming actor Jacob Hopkins, who was discovered at the age of five while accompanying his father, who’s also an actor, to a meeting with his agent. The 10-year-old actor is currently showcasing his talent in his breakthrough role on the fifth season of HBO’s acclaimed fantasy horror drama series ‘True Blood.’ In a recurring arc, Hopkins plays Alexander Drew, the youngest (looking) member of the Vampire authority, who was turned at the age of nine.
Hopkins, who made his debut on the June 17th episode of ‘True Blood,’ ‘Authority Always Wins,’ generously took the time to speak with us recently over the phone. Among other things, Hopkins spoke about why he wanted to portray Alexander; what it was like working with his co-stars, including reuniting with his ‘Priest’ co-star, Stephen Moyer, and another also recently cast Vampire Authority member, Christopher Meloni; and how he prepared for the role of the impulsive vampire.
ShockYa (SY): You play Alexander Drew, a member of the Vampire Authority, on this season of ‘True Blood.’ Why did you want to play Alexander on the show?
Jacob Hopkins (JH): I really like characters like Gollum from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or Jekyll and Hyde. These guys really fascinate me, and that’s how Alexander is. He’s sort of like that too-he has that dual personality. He’s supposed to be really tough and shy. Also, he’s supposed to be creepy. I can really act like that.
SY: How did you get ready for the role of Alexander before you began shooting?
JH: Well, my dad helped me prepare for the role. I had the ideas of what he was supposed to be like. He was supposed to be a creepy, sarcastic, wise vampire. He’s not really scared of anything, he’s really calm. He doesn’t really talk a lot, and he knows you better than you think he does.
So when I got on set, I was thinking I was more important than anyone in that world, and anyone in the Authority. He’s supposed to be this tough vampire.
SY: You have publicity said you were too young to watch ‘True Blood’ before you were cast as Alexander. Are you allowed to watch the episodes that you’re in?
JH: Well, I can only watch the scenes I’m in. I can’t really watch the scenes that are really gory and scary. I was really well-taken care of, so that I wouldn’t see all of that.
SY: You reunited with Stephen Moyer, whom you previously worked with on another vampire project, last year’s horror film ‘Priest,’ on ‘True Blood.’ What was it like working with him again on the show?
JH: Most of my scenes in ‘Priest’ were with Paul Bettany. But I got to see and meet Stephen on the set of ‘Priest.’ When I saw him again on ‘True Blood,’ I said, “Wait, I know you. You’re Stephen Moyer.” He said, “Jacob, I remember you from ‘Priest.’” We got to meet each other again.
Working with Stephen on ‘True Blood,’ he was really good. He’s a really good actor, and he was really admirable. He would really prepare for the role, and was really good at whatever he would do.
SY: What’s it like working with the rest of the cast on the set?
JH: Well, everyone is so nice on set. We all joke around between takes. I was so lucky to work with so many amazing actors. Everyone treated me like a part of the team.
Like Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard immediately came up to me after the dress rehearsal on my first day, and told me how great I did. They made me feel so welcome.
Everyone was really cool and really nice. Chris Meloni, Peter Mensah, Carolyn Hennessy, they’re all awesome, too. I was really blessed to work with them. They’re really cool.
SY: Christopher Meloni also joined ‘True Blood’ this season as Roman, the powerful, 500-year-old vampire leader of the Vampire Authority. Have you gotten to work with him as well?
JH: Oh yes, I’ve gotten to work with Chris. He’s a really cool actor. He wouldn’t rehearse in front of everybody. He wouldn’t mind if he made a mistake in front of everybody, he would go right back to it.
Like I said about Stephen Moyer, Christopher Neloni is someone to admire, too. He’s a really cool guy. He’s a really good actor as a vampire. I like what he did on the show. He was really sly, and really thought of people. He would just look at them. He would glare at them, thinking, yeah, I know you.
SY: Do Christopher and Stephen help you prepare for your scenes and remember your lines?
JH: No, I work with my dad, and rehearse with him.
SY: Your first appearance on the show was on the second episode of the season, ‘Authority Always Wins,’ which aired on June 17. Have you been receiving positive feedback from fans from the show?
JH: I got to take pictures with fans. They always say I do a good job. I got to sign autographs, and they would always say, dude, you did awesome. Or they’d say, it’s really cool when you do stuff like that. It’s always fun, meeting all the fans. They’re really nice.
SY: Were you a fan of vampires before you began working on ‘True Blood?’
JH: Yeah, I actually was. I love werewolves, but after that, I love vampires. I’ve got a whole monster book of them. I got Dracula and all those vampires. My favorite would have to be Alexander. (laughs)
SY: Do you watch vampire and werewolf monsters in your free time?
JH: Well, I have been watching a Disney movie, ‘The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.’ So I’ve watched that before.
SY: You’ve mainly appeared on television shows in your career, including ‘RCVR’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Do you like acting on TV?
JH: Yeah, I actually do. I like acting in movies, and I also like acting on TV shows.
SY: Are there any television shows that you would like to be on?
JH: Well, I would like to be on (the Disney Channel sitcom) ‘Shake It Up.’ That’s actually one of my favorite shows. I have some really cool potential projects right now.
SY: Speaking of projects, do you have any lined up that you can discuss?
JH: I can’t say, but I love my job! The shows I have been on, I’ve had a really good time on. They were such cool shows to be on.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Photo Credit: DharmAVisions