Sam Trammell returns for HallowEast events
George Washington High School graduate Sam Trammell, who plays shapeshifter Sam Merlotte on HBO’s “True Blood,” returns home Friday for a fan gathering and “Inside the Actor’s Studio”-style live interview.
“Most TV shows, you get scripts a week before you shoot them,” he said. “You might get pages the day before you shoot.”
Often, a show begins its season with only some of the episodes completed. This especially happens with shows like “Lost” and “Heroes,” which have broad storylines but are open to making changes later in the season based on earlier rating successes or failures. Ball doesn’t work that way. “Alan likes to have everything done,” Trammell said. “He wants to finish shooting the season before it airs — just in case he needs a re-shoot.”
About what to expect with the upcoming season, Trammell doesn’t know for sure, but he has some ideas.
“I think Sam is going to go toward the vein of trying to find his biological parents,” he said. “That will definitely end in some bad stuff.”
For Sam Trammell, the toughest thing about filming HBO’s “True Blood” isn’t the blood or the gore. Working all night is hard, says the actor
“You get to the lot at around 5,” he said. “Then you shoot right as it gets dark and go until the sun comes up.”
This comes with the territory when you work on a show mostly about vampires. And, really, Trammell doesn’t mind the dark. He’s even fine with the occasional sleep deprivation.
“It’s the cold, believe it or not. I don’t like the cold.”
Trammell remembers one particular night this past season. They were shooting a scene involving an orgy and a bonfire. Some of the townspeople of Bon Temps (the fictional town where the show is set) were under the sway of an evil temptress. There was a lot of bare skin, and everyone had to pretend it was a sweltering, summer night in Louisiana.
Of course, they’re not filming in Louisiana, but in a canyon in Malibu, where it gets down into the 30s.
“I didn’t have to be naked or anything,” he said, “but I was in short sleeves. It was pretty cold.”
Trammell, 38, is mindful of just how chilly it gets because of the nature of his character, Sam Merlotte. Merlotte is a shapeshifter who can turn from a man into a dog, a bull and who knows what else. The side effect is that he tends to lose his clothes in the transformation and gets to do scenes in the buff.
The nudity doesn’t seem to bother him. Trammell is having a great time with the show.
“It’s a lot of fun, pulpy entertainment,” he said, “but also kind of heavy.”
Filming for season three begins shortly. Trammell wasn’t entirely clear on what the schedule was but knows “True Blood” creator Alan Ball tends to work in advance. Trammell thought the scripts were probably already finished.
Other than that, he didn’t know, but he might have more to say about it Friday night.
SAM TRAMMELL HALLOWEAST EVENTS: Tickets are still available for a fan gathering with Trammell at 6 p.m. at the Culture Center and an 8 p.m. “Inside the Actor’s Studio”-style interview at the Kanawha Player’s Theater, 309 Beauregard St. The fan gathering is $100 and includes admission to the interview and Kanawha Players’ production of “Dial M for Murder.” The interview is $50 and includes admission to the play. Visit www.halloweast.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
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