Just what is an innocent shape-shifter to do when the whole dang town is going nuts?
"I'm kind of trying to rein in everybody," said Sam Trammell, who plays Sam Merlotte in True Blood.
Uh, that isn't going very well at this point, is it, Sam?
"No, it's not," Trammell said with a chuckle. "Everybody's satisfying their lusty desires."
True Blood, the vampire-based series which airs Sundays on HBO Canada and is in the midst of its second season, truly has hit the big time in the past month and a half in terms of buzz and fan attention. The series built slowly through its rookie campaign, but now it undoubtedly has become HBO's marquee property.
Trammell, a 38-year-old product of the theatre scene, didn't necessarily expect anything like this.
"When I saw the words 'created by Alan Ball' and 'HBO', I was interested before I even read the pilot, and of course you hope things take off," Trammell said. "I was hoping we might be half as popular as Six Feet Under (Ball's previous series). But right now it's at a frenzy.
"I was at the Mad Men premiere (at a theatre in L.A. -- the TV premiere of season three is tonight on AMC) and people in the business were calling relatives and asking me to talk to them on the phone.
"I don't know if it's vampires or if it's the talent of the people who have decided to write in that genre. It's a chicken-or-the-egg thing."
Trammell's character in True Blood is not a vampire, but rather a shape-shifter -- and much more.
True Blood has a unique structure. While Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin, is the main character, the audience does not witness these bizarre events through Sookie's eyes. We actually see things more through Sam Merlotte's eyes.
"Yeah, I have thought about that," Trammell said. "I understand what you mean about my character.
"I'm the bedrock of town. At the beginning, Sookie is ready to just run off with this vampire, and I'm warning her not to do that. I'm warning Tara not to go off with Maryann.
"I'm the person that knows more than the other characters, but I don't give it all away to the audience."
Trammell said he wasn't a diehard devotee of the vampire genre prior to True Blood, but notably, he now finds himself drawn to all the old horror movies many of us watched as kids, but he missed.
"It's great when a movie or TV show really makes you feel something, whether it's a love story, or it makes you cry, or it makes you scared," Trammell said.
"There's a certain masochism in me, I guess. I don't mind going to the horrible places. If you write it, I'll go there. And they certainly wrote for that on True Blood this year.
"I love the idea of running away from something that's trying to kill me."
Don't we all. But man, you sure landed the right series, Sam.
By Bill Harris | Edmonton Sun | Link to article
Sunday, August 16, 2009