Body Snatched: Interview with Nelsan Ellis

Nelsan Ellis shares what it's like to play a character within a character, what's up with Lafayette's hair, and who he thinks Sookie should settle down with.

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Possession is really the word of the season, and Lafayette gets a major dose of it in ‘Let’s Get Out of Here.’ How did you prepare to play the restless spirit of a murdered Creole woman?

Study the actress who’s playing the role. I was studying her dailies, and then she and I got together to work.  I talked a lot to Fiona and tried to figure out what “possession” meant to me. I realized that I don’t become the person – the person becomes me. They get into a body where the mechanics are already there. Mavis has this funky little swish to her walk, but I was like, “No, my hips can’t move like that.” But I’d have something subtle that suggested that that was the direction that my hips wanted to go in. So, I tried to figure out what subtle nuances I could take from her that would remind the audience of who she was inside of me but also stay true to what Lafayette is, what his body does and the fact that he’s still in there.

He always seems to be at the mercy of this insane world around him – why is it that trouble always finds Lafayette?

Because he knows what to do with it … Lafayette is a survivor. Trouble comes, and then he surmounts it and moves on. I don’t know why he has all these problems. He got on this moving train that just won’t stop, and it just takes him deeper and deeper. I just hope he calms down next season.

Read the rest of the interview on HBO.com