Gayle Jo Cater, a writer for the USA Today, wrote about the underlining success of the True Blood actor Nelan Ellis. The following will provide you with further information about the actor and the character.
True Blood’s resident drug-dealing, fang-banging Internet-pornographer/prostitute Lafayette can get anyone just about anything he desires.
And he has managed to do just that for Nelsan Ellis, the actor who plays him.
“I don’t think my agent has to beg to get me in the room for an audition anymore,” says Ellis, who can also be seen this fall on the big screen in Secretariat.
But playing such a wildly flamboyant character has caused more tension in his family. “They accept that I’m an actor and I can now pay my rent, and that’s about as far as it goes,” says Ellis, 32. “I don’t necessarily think they appreciate Lafayette.”
Ellis mother hasn’t seen the show, and only the sister out of “about eight (siblings), give or take” is a fan, Ellis says. “Lakieya never misses an episode: she texts me before and after. I took my brother to a premiere and he sort of disappeared. I think he was a little embarrassed.”
Regardless, Ellis relishes the role he describes as “an actor’s wonderland” for giving him stability in a life that began with a turbulent childhood.
Ellis and his siblings were wards of the state, moving from his grandmother’s house to his aunt’s house to other relative’s homes in Alabama.
“They were strong women,” he says. “They told me if I wanted to do something, to be something, I had to make it happen.”
Ellis did just that. First he joined the Marine Corps, where he says he “loved and appreciated” his first taste of discipline, and then he attended the Juilliard School, where he wrote and staged Ugly, a play about the tragic consequences of domestic abuse, after his sister Alice was shot and killed by her husband. From there, he wrote a screenplay, which he describes as “basically the white version of Precious.” But it was a hard sell.
“It’s something very real, but you have to take the truth and put it in a dress in order for people to want it, to buy it. You can’t just tell the truth, the truth isn’t commercial.”
True Blood, however, has drawn in fans despite its dark story lines, one of which last season revolved around Lafayette being locked in a dungeon, shot and then ultimately saved by drinking lifesaving vampires’ blood.
Ellis promises Season 3, which starts Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO, won’t disappoint. “The werewolves are coming in. The vampire King of Texas is being introduced. I get a love interest. I get a mother (played by Alfre Woodard), and you’ll see the softer side of Lafayette.”
Off screen, Ellis’ softer side oozes out of him, whether it’s when he’s talking about his on-and-off girlfriend of 17 years, aspiring actress Tiffany Snow (“When I lose my way, she brings me back”) or the aunt and grandmother who took him in (“They told me my life was my own, to do whatever was in my mind to do with it.”)
“If I didn’t do anything with it, it would be my own fault,” he says. “Whatever happens with it is up to me.”