Well, after the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman this will probably barely register as shocking, but to True Blood fans it might at the very least be a little surprising:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Moyer has been cast to star in a up-coming televised three-hour, live version of Sound of Music, which is scheduled to premiere on NBC on December 5th. Moyer will play Capt. George Von Trapp, who, as fans of Sound of Music will well remember, is the father of seven children living in Austria right before World War II. He hires a governess named Maria to take care of his children, she does her whole twirling in a bucolic field while expressing her joy about the hills being alive with the sound of music thing, the two fall in love, and then the damn Nazi’s come to totally cock-block their love. Stupid Nazis. In the classic 1965 film version, Maria was portrayed by Julie Andrews, but Carrie Underwood will be the singing and dancing governess for the new version.
Like many actors who become defined by one role, it’s easy to simply think of Stephen Moyer as
“Vampire” Bill Compton on HBO’s True Blood. As such, an honest reaction to this news would be to ask if Moyer can even sing. He only rose to fame within the past 6 or 7 years on True Blood, in which the British-born actor speaks with a southern accent so suspect it’s not at all surprising to learn that it’s just the voice that came out of his mouth at his audition with very little thought behind it. In fact, the producers and writers seemed to became so aware of how much Moyer’s hilariously overwrought pronunciation of the name “Sookie” was undercutting the show that in its second season he barely ever said it, and at one point Anna Paquin as Sookie even did a loving-but-funny impression of how Vampire Bill said her name.
But, damn, Vampire Bill can actually sing and dance and everything. His casting in this special comes after he completed a three-night run in a limited engagement version of the musical Chicago in Hollywood. He played Billy Flynn. No, seriously, there’s video proof below:
However, at times it’s easy to forget that Moyer is British, and like seemingly all British actors he has a not-small supply of theater work in his background, having spent 5 years with the National Theater of Wales, Royal Shakespeare Company (not that they’re a big deal or anything), and Oxford Stage Company. So, underneath Vampire Bill may actually beat the still-living heart of an Austrian naval officer about to fall in love and break out into song because the man (Moyer) has range, damnit.
Just as Ben Affleck as Batman inspired countless jokes about his Boston accent or famous best bud Matt Damon being right behind him to be cast as Robin, this news about Moyer will likely be met with plenty of vampire-related jokes and puns. Yes, yes, we all can’t wait to see Moyer sink his teeth into the role, and that in this version of Sound of Music if Von Trapp attempts to join Maria on the bucolic field during the day he’ll burst into flames what with being a vampire and everything. However, what I really want to know is: will he say the name Maria in a potentially funny way? That’s his thing now, yet Maria is not as inherently funny a name as Sookie. Sigh.
What do you think? Offended at the mere suggestion of Moyer being in this? Or at the mere suggestion that this is in any way surprising because Moyer is among the finest talents working today and how dare anyone say different? Or somewhere, hopefully, in the less extreme middle of those two? Leave a comment to let us know.
UPDATED: 12/8/2013 – So, this actually happened….and people ate it up. The Sound of Music: Live, which NBC apprently sunk $9 million into, was watched by 18 million people, many of whom clearly hate-watched and took to Twitter for communal mockery. It’s hard to say who has been mocked/criticized more, Carrie Underwood or Stephen Moyer. Where did you fall on it? Here’s Moyer singing “Edelweiss” opposite some ginormous swastikas: