Taking a bite out of the Holy Land

A guest at this week’s Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, ‘True Blood’s’ Angela Robinson speaks to the ‘Post’ on vampires, metaphors and fun.

‘I REALLY love genre stuff and the supernatural... I love vampire things and witch stuff, I’m really a geek about the whole thing,’ says ‘True Blood’ writer/producer Angela Robinson. (photo credit: Courtesy)
‘I REALLY love genre stuff and the supernatural... I love vampire things and witch stuff, I’m really a geek about the whole thing,’ says ‘True Blood’ writer/producer Angela Robinson.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
All vampires are intrinsically bisexual,” said Angela Robinson, a writer/director/ producer of many movies and television shows, among them HBO’s hot trailer- trash-vampire series, True Blood. Robinson will be in Tel Aviv for the Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival (TLV Fest), which runs today through till June 15 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
“[True Blood’s creator] Alan Ball thought if you lived on the planet that long, one sex would get too boring.”
Robinson’s career has certainly never been boring. In addition to True Blood, she has been a writer, producer and/or director on a number of television’s most popular and critically acclaimed series, including The L Word and Hung. She has also directed movies, among them, D.E.B.S, which will be shown at TLV Fest.
Currently, she is a consulting producer for the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder, which stars Viola Davis as a criminal law professor who inspires her students to get involved in a twisted murder plot.
“It’s a really fun series,” said Robinson in a recent phone interview from her office in California, and fun is a word that comes up often as she talks about her work.
“I followed my bliss,” she said. “I really love genre stuff and the supernatural.”
Robinson is married to Alexandra Kondracke, also a producer/writer/director. The two have worked together on a number of projects, and have a child. Given that she is a lesbian and has an affinity for anything supernatural, True Blood, which combines both of these themes, was a perfect fit for her.
True Blood, loosely based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris, told the story of vampires and other supernatural beings in rural Louisiana. The jumping- off point for the series was the conceit that an Asian conglomerate begins to manufacture synthetic blood, called True Blood, a drink that allows vampires to live without killing. Vampires then “come out of the coffin” and demand, among other things, tolerance, acceptance and equal rights.
“I love vampire things and witch stuff, I’m really a geek about the whole thing,” she said. “HBO knew that, they were really excited when I came on board. They knew I cared about the rules of the vampire genre.”
The political undertone to the show also inspired her. “‘Coming out of the coffin’ was definitely always a metaphor for being gay.”
Robinson decided to attend TLV Fest because she had heard it was – you guessed it – fun, and she will present her 2004 feature film, D.E.B.S. It’s a comedy/thriller, a kind of Charlie’s Angels set in a high school, with a lesbian angle, that stars Jordana Brewster (Dallas and the Fast and Furious movies).
Robinson, who said she enjoyed going back and forth between movies and television, never intended to write. She studied directing at New York University, directed off-Broadway plays in New York, then headed off to Los Angeles to try to break into movies.
There, she discovered that “screenplays are expensive. I needed to learn how to write in order to be a director. Then you own your own screenplay and don’t have to pay for it.”
D.E.B.S. caught the eye of Ilene Chaiken, one of the creators of the Showtime series The L Word, about a group of chic, upscale lesbians in Los Angeles, and Robinson was invited to write for the show.
Although this was the first high-profile television show about lesbians, Showtime didn’t worry about controversy, political correctness or anything else, according to Robinson. “Working on The L Word was really fun and really exciting. The show was a hit right out of the gate. Showtime was, like, just do your thing. Anxiety wasn’t part of that at all,” she said.
In addition to working on How to Get Away with Murder, she is making episodes of Girltrash, a web series (that was also the basis for a feature film) about five hard-partying girls who get involved with the underworld.
She and Kondracke are also at work on several screenplays, for both movies and television.
“There’s one about Greta Garbo. That’s a dream project,” she said, and if it’s anything like her previous work, it will be as much fun for audiences to watch as it will be for her to write.
To find out more about TLV Fest and to order tickets, go to www.tlvfest.com/en.