Interview with Sam Trammell

Sam Trammell is well known for his role in HBO’s “True Blood” as Sam Merlotte. The blue-collared bar owner who also happens to be a shape shifter. Sam is gearing up for Season Four of “True Blood”, which should start filming early next year.  Movie Mikes caught up with Sam to discuss his role in “True Blood” and what he has planned for the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you originally got the role of Sam Merlotte?
Sam Trammell: I got the script from my agent. It was going around town and it was Alan Ball’s new show on HBO. It was a hot commodity, everyone wanted to do it. I just went it and met with the casting director.  They taped me and showed it to Alan. They picked me for the final audition to go in front of HBO. There were about three other guys there for my part. I read in front of the president of HBO and all these executives. I found out four hours later I got the part, it was fairly quick turnaround.

MG: What is the best part of playing the character, it seems like it is made just for you?
ST: Thanks man, well I am from Louisiana originally. It is great to be able to play a character who you kind of represent and a guy from where I am from. I love that he is kind of a blue collar dude and that he owns a bar. I never worked in a bar but I always thought it would be fun to work as a bartender. The other part of it is that he is a supernatural creature which is a really cool thing to have under your belt and as a secret. Since I still get to be like a regular guy.

MG: How do you like the direction that your character has taken with being a shape shifter?
ST: The second half of this year was just funniest acting work that I have ever got to do. You see the dark side of him. You get to see a flashback showing him engaged in criminal activity. That was a blast I really enjoyed it.

MG: Where you familiar with the book series, if not have you read since?
ST: I wasn’t before I got on the show. But once I was cast I read the first four books to get a sense of the world and who Sam was. I read ahead basically and as the series goes I will keep reading them. I am just curious to see what Charlaine (Harris) is thinking for these stories.

MG: What has been the hardest part of working on the show?
ST: A few things, the nights are pretty difficult. When you are doing like four nights in a row and shooting all night. What is tough is not getting to sleep during the day. The first couple of nights are not that hard but then it starts to switch your whole rhythm and that is tough. Another thing is that sometimes you will have like a week off. We have a bunch of different story lines, you do not work every day. You have to stay on the character and need to keep you character up.

MG: What can you let us know about Season Four plans?
ST: Honestly, I do not know what is going to happen. I know we are going to follow the book to a certain degree like we have done. I know their are going to be some witches involved in the stories. The writers are figuring it out themselves right now. They are pitching stories and writing the first couple of scripts. Last year was a really big year for us because a lot more people started watching it.

MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film “Guns, Girls and Gambling”?
ST: Yeah, it stars Christian Slater and Gary Oldman, Dane Cook and also Megan Park from “The Secret Life of an American Teenager”. It sort of a Tarantino-esque hyper reel Western. It sort of involves a bunch of people coming after Christian’s character who has stolen a Native American mask. It is really cool and a lot of fun. I am really excited about it!

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