Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:16am ET162
By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Oscar winner Anna Paquin is making her first foray into series television as the lead in “True Blood,” an HBO drama pilot from the creator of “Six Feet Under.”

Ryan Kwanten and Sam Trammell have also been cast in the project, which Alan Ball wrote and is set to direct and executive produce.

Based on the “Southern Vampire” book series by Charlaine Harris, “True Blood” takes place in a world in which vampires can buy Japanese-made synthetic blood. Their integration into a small Louisiana town causes quite a stir, and a love story ensues between a vampire and Sookie Stackhouse (Paquin), an innocent waitress who can read people’s minds.

Kwanten will play the waitress’ brother. Trammell will play the owner of the restaurant where she works.

Paquin’s upcoming credits include the films “Margaret” and “Blue State” as well as HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” She also has appeared in the “X-Men” film trilogy, “The Squid and the Whale,” “Almost Famous” and “The Piano,” the latter of which earned her a supporting actress Oscar in 1994.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter