The actress Michelle Forbes is getting a lot of attention right now because of her dazzling turn on HBO's "True Blood" (season finale this Sunday) as the terrifyingly alluring Maryann, an ancient maenad, who seduces an entire town into performing wild acts of mass debauchery. My colleague Laura Miller called Maryann "an excellent showcase for [Forbes'] silken menace . . . she attains the optimal pitch of blended threat and seduction," adding, "Forbes was born to play beautiful, evil queens."
Forbes has been stealing scenes in the finest television shows ("In Treatment," "Battlestar Galactica," "Lost," "Boston Legal," "24," "Alias," "Wonderland," "Homicide") for a very long time now; her participation on a TV show seems to practically translate to a Michelin star rating. Along the way, she may have cut a more imperious figure through the world of pop culture than just about any actor of her generation (Forbes is 44) .
When she sat down to talk to us, she expressed some bewilderment at why she's alway cast as such strong women, such as Battlestar's power-mad Admiral Helena Cain. She said her recent role as Kate, the vulnerable -- and exasperated -- wife of the conflicted therapist Paul on "In Treatment" was more like the real her than just about any character she's played.
Forbes chatted with Kerry Lauerman via Skype about how she's crafted such a compelling career -- and about that "True Blood" season finale. She's also one class act, gamely waiting out a fluttery Internet connection that sometime left her image blurring mysteriously -- not unlike Maryann herself. (A transcript is forthcoming.)