‘True Blood’ premieres

HBO vampire shows draws blood, fans

HOLLYWOOD — At Thursday’s premiere for Alan Ball’s new HBO vampire skein “True Blood,” entertainment prexy Sue Naegle got a big laugh for her witty introduction.

“A bizarre cult of mythical creatures: They look like us, they talk like us, but they’re not like us. They’re predators that feed on the living, but enough about the republican convention,” she said.

While Anne Rice often gets credit for creating Louisiana vampire lore, this didn’t daunt author Charlaine Harris prior to penning her own series “Southern Vampire Mysteries” in 1999 centering on a young telepathic femme protag.

“I thought, let’s create the flip side of Anne Rice: What if vampires lived in Northern Louisiana instead of Southern? What if they were funny instead of angst-ridden? That’s how it evolved,” explained Harris prior to the screening.

Mesmerized by Harris’ blend of humor and emotion in “Mysteries,” Ball sunk his teeth into adapting them as his second HBO series.

“I was wasting time in a book store (before a dental appointment) and came across the first book.  The tagline on the cover was ‘Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.’ That made laugh,” said the Oscar-winning scribe.