Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin: 'You're left with unanswerable questions, and that's a very dark place to go'

Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin: 'You're left with unanswerable questions, which this film tackles pretty head on, and that's a very dark place to go'

Husband and wife team discuss Moyer's directorial debut, The Parting Glass

Husband and wife team Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin have been together since they met on the pilot episode of vampire TV show True Blood, back in 2007. We caught up with them at the Edinburgh Film Festival to discuss The Parting Glass, Moyer's directorial debut, in which Paquin co-stars as a troubled young woman whose suicide sparks grief-stricken memories among the gathering members of her family.

How did the project come about?

Stephen Moyer: I had been looking to direct something. I absolutely loved working with [writer] Dennis O'Hare [on True Blood] and he told me the story of what had happened to his sister. And I very strongly felt that it was something that covered a lot of bases, emotionally, but also comedically. So I thought it would be a fascinating journey to take an audience on. It takes place in twenty four hours and I wanted to play on that idea of the audience being along for the ride, almost like they had a seat in the car.

You obviously have a great working relationship. How would you define it?

Stephen: I don't think I've ever had somebody whom I trust as much as I do Anna, who pushes me to be the creative version of myself that I desire to be, and is so supportive of those sometimes difficult artistic choices. For me, personally it's the perfect relationship as both worker and partner.

Did you have to have a strict rule about not talking about the film at the end of the day?

Anna Paquin: Not really, but occasionally it would be like, 'okay, no more shop talk!'

Was the difficult subject matter part of the appeal for you?

Anna: Yes. People aren't necessarily jumping with joy to watch things about [suicide], but I think it's really important and I think it's something that the more we actually shine a light on it, the less the stigma, the more people might actually reach out for help in those moments as opposed to just deciding to end it. I think that's ultimately what the sibling group of any family in that situation go through – you're left with unanswerable questions, which this film tackles pretty head on, without flinching and that's a very dark place to go.

Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin: 'You're left with unanswerable questions, and that's a very dark place to go'

Do you have plans to work together again?

Stephen: I'm always looking for something for Anna. Funnily enough, I don't include this in that. Having Anna on this was a massive bonus for me, but this wasn't the one. I'm looking for something specifically for Anna where we get to go deep together. I've just got to find the right thing for her to do. And also I want her to direct me in something.

What will be your lasting memories of True Blood?

Anna: Our crew and the actors that were with us the whole time, were such a family and we're all actually still very actively in each other's lives and certainly very much in each other's hearts. I know that sounds very cheesy, but it's true.

Stephen: I was texting with Alex yesterday, during the Sweden game. Skars wasn't on the pilot but he's very much part of our world. I remember very specifically being in Sam's Bar, during the pilot and thinking to myself, I'm not sure I've ever been this happy on a set before. It was just such an extraordinary energy and being around Alan Ball at his creative best where he's just firing on more cylinders than anyone has a right to have. It was just joyous.

What are your next projects?

Anna: I've just wrapped a TV show called Flack and Stephen's an executive producer on that.

Stephen: And we've just started season two of The Gifted, which is a show that I'm in for Marvel. It's funny because it looks like one credit. Anna's done like four jobs in the same amount of time that I did one and you look and you go, 'that's not fair', because it looks like I haven't been doing anything! She'll never tell you this, but Anna's also in Martin Scorsese's new movie (The Irishman) and was with Harvey Keitel again and De Niro and Pacino. I mean, I just want to slap her at this point.

Screening as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018. General release TBC.

The Parting Glass

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • US
  • 15
  • Directed by: Stephen Moyer
  • Cast: Ed Asner, Rhys Ifans, Cynthia Nixon, Melissa Leo, Anna Paquin

After the death of Coleen (Paquin), her family goes to her house and old wounds are opened up on the way. Stagey family drama which is obviously heartfelt; O’Hare’s writing is often excellent, but it sometimes seems close to theatre than to cinema.