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LOS ANGELES -- When True Blood fans last saw the vampire drama's beloved heroine, Sookie Stackhouse had disappeared in a flash of light.
"At the end of season three, Sookie was taken away, as we know, by the fairy queen," explains Stephen Moyer, who plays vampire Bill Compton in the HBO series. "And so we know that that's very possibly where she may be, as without giving much away. And so we may begin the episode with that."
Cast and crew of the popular show gathered Tuesday night in Hollywood for their fourth-season premiere, but chose their words even more carefully than usual, so as not to reveal any of the bounty of spoilers for the Sunday-night debut at 9 p.m. on HBO.
"Sookie has some adventures in Fairyland," Anna Paquin reveals playfully about the character she plays. "Sookie has some persona life adventures. Sookie ends up in danger. Sookie ends up in more danger. Sookie somehow ends up narrowly escaping getting killed on various occasions, as usual. You know, it's just an average day in Bon Temps."
Fiona Shaw has been added to the cast as the leader of a coven of witches, a new element to True Blood.
"She is formidable and amazing, and I think everyone's going to really love her," Paquin says.
The fourth season of Blood marks the first that Paquin, 28, and Moyer, 41, have worked together on the series as wife and husband. The two were wed in August, 2010. "Most people who work in film or TV almost never see their families and spouses, so I consider it an absolute luxury to get to actually see mine at work," says Paquin.
Adds Moyer: "I don't see her very much. I see her at home and we talk about work a little bit and we get on our day. I miss it. We met on the show and we're used to being on set. When we're there, we actually get a little excited and giddy, when we get to do stuff together. … We're very sarcastic with each other. We're very rude to each other. We always have been. And the crew enjoys it."
The show is an international success, shown in some 50 countries worldwide. "You know, it's a really fun show that, even though it's based in a very specific part of America, I feel like these sort of ideas that get dealt with are very sort of universal and thematically interesting on deeper levels," Paquin says. "It's not just about vampires. There's always a bigger idea at play."
Novelist Charlaine Harris says she'll wrap the "Sookie Stackhouse" series after the 13th book. The 11th, Dead Reckoning, was published last month, and debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times list of best-sellers.