1. What has been your strangest fan encounter?
William Sanderson: A fan sent us three dolls made as Larry, Darryl and Darryl [from Newhart]. I have them to this day. I don’t know if that’s strange. I have fond memories when I look at them.
2. You’re at a magazine rack and can pick three magazines. What are they?
If Memphis is winning, then Sports Illustrated. I get very depressed when they’re not. I might pick up Time and then some magazine that I hope I might be in. People, especially. They put me in it a few times.
3. Do you have a favorite sports team?
It’s definitely the University of Memphis [his alma mater], but now that I have a home [in Harrisburg, Pa.], I pull for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I sure love the Pennsylvania teams. They’re tough.
4. When was the last time you were starstruck?
I just ran into Susan Sarandon recently at a party for HBO. I walked up and said, “I was in a movie [The Client] with you,” and she had a big smile and said, “Yes you were.” I was going to thank her for something she did, and this guy just — like they do at parties — came right up and started talking, and I just eased away.
5. If your TV only carried three shows, which three would you want?
The Big Bang Theory, Big Love, and I like to watch a show with my wife to calm down, and she watches Ugly Betty.
6. When was the last time you felt like crying?
The Hannah Montana movie yesterday. I think it had something to do with it being set in Tennessee, where I’m from. That song, “The Climb,” that’s a pretty good song. It’s just a twist on everybody saying it’s not the arrival, it’s the journey.
7. There are a lot of different nationalities trying Southern accents on True Blood. As a true Southerner, are you able to give them tips?
Lord, Lord, I don’t give them tips. I’m just kind of in awe at how good they are. … Chris Bauer is an actor I’m so lucky to work with, and he can do all kinds of dialects and I always believe I’m standing there with a Southerner. When somebody down the pecking order like me gets into Tommy Lee Jones syndrome, you can get in trouble fast. He likes to direct everything. … People find him difficult.
8. You finished law school but shunned the bar exam in order to pursue acting. How do you think you would have fared as a lawyer?
If I got a great mentor, and applied myself, I think I’d have been all right. But I’m somewhat lazy and they told me gathering facts is a very important thing [for lawyers] and that’s hard work. I just never can answer why I did that.
You can catch up with Sanderson when he resumes the role of Sheriff Bud Dearborne when the vampire drama True Blood returns Sundays beginning June 14 on HBO (HD). He also gets a rare moment in the spotlight as part of a special highlighting character actors, Starz Inside: The Face Is Familiar, which premieres June 9 on Starz (HD).