Hi, my name is Sam Trammell. I live in Los Angeles, born in New Orleans, raised in West Virginia, and spent a good deal of time in New York doing theatre. You probably know me as Sam Merlotte in True Blood, and I'm really excited about The Fault in our Stars, which comes out in theaters June 6, and a small independent movie called The Aftermath, which I made last summer and which we're still putting the finishing touches on (you can help support it here ).

I'm looking forward to taking your questions about everything from True Blood to stage acting to surfing - Victoria from reddit's going to be helping me with getting started today, so ask me anything!


Thanks so much everyone for submitting your questions. I have two little boys to feed now. So I have to go. Please go see The Fault in Our Stars June 6, and then True Blood starts a couple weeks later. And I look forward to coming back and talking this fall.

Comments: 307 • Responses: 17  • Date: 

Addictedsara156 karma

Your character had to cry a lot in The Fault In Our Stars. As an actor, how do make yourself be emotional and cry?

SamTrammell327 karma

I DID have to cry a lot. It was so specifically stated in the book and everyday on set Josh Boone, the director, said "looks like you gotta cry again". So there was a little bit of pressure (A LOT). On "The Fault in our Stars" it really wasn't all that hard--or at least it was easier than other times. I have two little 2 1/2 year old boys. I was playing a father to a child with cancer. That in itself is a pretty good setup. My heart goes so soft anytime I even think about my boys. In fact, I've become hyper sensitive to kids in general and I get emotional pretty easily when it comes to them. Even total strangers. I did some research of course and read blogs about kids who had had cancer or are still living with it. One boys' blog, Max Mikulak (www.maxsRingOfFire.org), was particularly beautiful and heartbreaking. I feel like I got to know his family. Anyway, there are a lot of sad and inspiring stories out there and so it wasn't hard to get there. I started in the theater in New York and I feel like every play I did I had to cry or do an accent--and 8 times a week. So, that was pretty good training. I've never used the peppermint spray that you can ask for on set. And maybe I should have, but I come from that hard headed only do it if it's real sort of mentality. Making yourself cry for projects always demands some kind of new head trick. The same visual or memory only works a couple times at best. So, you have to keep inventing. And sometimes you don't have to do anything. Like when I was doing a lot of plays, your body would get used to that moment that you had repeated dozens of times and it would just happen.

sunnyk879117 karma

Just have to say you are one of my favourite characters on the show and can't wait to see your new work! How do you feel about this being the last season of True Blood?

SamTrammell174 karma

Yeah, it's really sad. I already feel nostalgic for the show, even though we're still working on it! Every day is the last time you'll work with this actor, or the last time you'll work on that set. Saying goodbye to the crew and other actors will be the hardest thing. I just saw James who was our original script supervisor for the first 3 seasons (which seems EONS ago) and I hope to work with a lot of these people again on other projects.

BrawnWithBrain105 karma

Channing Tatum claims he is from near New Orleans, so he is perfect for the role of Gambit (a very popular X-Men character from New Orleans). As a native of New Orleans, would you be interested in competing with him for the role?

SamTrammell287 karma

No doubt Channing Tatum is a badass, but of course, YES, I'm a way better choice! I was born right there and all of my family is from Louisiana. I know how to eat and drink there and understand the rhythm of a day and the lilt of the speech. Some things you just have to live in to really know. But hey, respect, I wish him the best. I know he'll kill if he gets it.

MrRedXiii100 karma

What was your favorite scene in True Blood to film?

SamTrammell281 karma

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones where I got to play my brother Tommy. He was sort of the dark side of the family. And had such a specific walk and rhythm of speech. It was fun to do something that was a bit of a stretch for myself.

theArnoldFans188 karma

Since you're often required to be nude in true Blood, do you feel a need to stay fit and hit the gym and get your Schwarzenegger on?

SamTrammell308 karma

If only I could get my Schwarzenegger on! I'm just trying to get a passing grade out there--and it TOUGH AS HELL. You know, the camera DOES add 10 pounds and that includes 10 on the gut. YES, I exercise a lot when I know I have to take my shirt off--and by the way, that's the issue. Shirt off or naked--all the same to me. It's the gut. It definitely requires exercise and dieting. Really cutting down the calories. And I don;t even lift weights or do tons of sit-ups. We all have a six pack, it's just about clearing away the fat to see it (not that I was ever fully successful at that). So yes, tons of work to do when you have to be naked and a lot of being "Hangry" (so hungry, you're angry).

louisev153 karma

Sam, what do you like to do just for fun?

SamTrammell187 karma

I really like to surf. I hate getting up early but that's when the waves are best and traffic is lightest. Saturday I woke up at 3:30 am to get to an out of the way spot before dawn. I know, stupid. I also play music at home--piano, guitar, banjo. I'll try to get my little boys to sing and dance.

MONKSFTW53 karma

Hi Sam Trammell, thank you for doing this AMA

  • Nicolas Cage, yay or nay?

Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us this opportunity and best of luck on your current and future projects

SamTrammell179 karma

ARE YOU KIDDING??? YAY! YAY! YAY! If just for "Rising Arizona" you gotta give him the nod, no matter what else he ever did or didn't do in his life. And "Valley Girl"? His early "Racing with the Moon" with Sean Penn? "Face/Off" Too much too much. He's the man. Period. I gotta stop.

sirmeep49 karma

What was the most emotional True Blood scene to film?

SamTrammell102 karma

I can't say what it is, but it's one I recently did this season and it was really emotional for me. Subtly, but powerfully.

queen_poser48 karma

What is your guilty pleasure?

SamTrammell150 karma

This is going to sound SO HOLLYWOOD but I love just sitting down with some crackers or chips and going to town--and let's add some beer and wine (maybe one or the other)--and screw it. Ice Cream. Then, reality TV. Maybe something about restoring hot rod cars.

JeremyBiff47 karma

Did you enjoy shooting the Faults in our Stars movie, and did you read the book before before you shoot this movie?

SamTrammell83 karma

Yes, I read the book before we shot. Wow, such a complex and beautiful and existential piece for YA. But maybe I just don't know my YA genre. I was so moved by it and yes, it was a daunting task, the idea of playing a father who has a child with cancer. I was such a fan of Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern before met. And the script was so good it was a no brainer. We really did have a great time together. This cast and the producers and director and John Green too, we all bonded in a serious way. We had a lot of dinners together in Pittsburgh and basically hung out whenever we could. I love Pittsburgh. It reminds me of a bigger Charleston WV where I grew up and consider home. Very very special project and I think everyone should see it.

wingsAbove39 karma

what were your childhood dream jobs for when you grow up?

SamTrammell105 karma

When I was growing up I figured I'd be some kind of scientist. I dreamed big (and too big as it turned out) thinking I'd be an astrophysicist. I was way into string theory and unified field theory and anything to do with gravity and time and whatever was the latest article in Scientific American magazine. When I got to college I realized physics was all math and also that I was in the bottom half of my class. And abstract geometry . . . I just didn't get it. Then, I thought I'd be a professor of philosophy--something to do with semiotics--but I was NOT psyched about that prospect. Then I did a play. And that was that.

Frajer29 karma

What was it like working on Children's Hospital?

SamTrammell67 karma

I've known David Wain, the creator, since 1991. All of The State guys actually. That first play I did I had to kiss Michael Showalter. ANYWAY, I love Children's hospital. Everyone there was so fun and easy to hang with. I got to shake hands in the scene with Henry Winkler! I mean come on . . . and I'm a massive fan of Rob Huebel. There's a lot of talent on that show and the sense of humor is so specific and silly. I was seriously psyched to do it! I just saw David yesterday and he told me he would have me back on to do a "real" character.

jonemillard29 karma

Sam, who are some actors you grew up admiring and who are some younger ones you admire today?

SamTrammell51 karma

THE PERFORMANCE, for my generation of actors in New York, in the early 90s, was John Malkovich's portrayal of Lee in the American Playhouse production of Sam Shepard's "True West" in 1984. He's so outrageous and beautifully over the top. We all wanted to be him. Try to find this piece. Gary Sinise is in it with him. It's so entertaining. Who else . . Tim Roth and Gary Oldman in some of their early movies in England. Gary in "Sid and Nancy" is insane and also his stuff in "State of Grace"--another big performance. Of course, Sean Penn. Basically anything he's ever done.


What made you want to be an actor?

Was it one moment, or did it slowly sneak up on you?

SamTrammell63 karma

I was in college at Brown University and a friend of mine suggested I audition for a play for "the new plays festival" which featured graduate student plays. They needed a lot of actors. I auditioned and was cast, second semester senior year, in a play called "Stupid Kids" which has since been done off broadway. Believe it or not Angela Robinson was the director, she cast me, and she now happens to be a writer on True Blood. The craziest of coincidences and serendipity. To a certain extent I owe her my career. I did two more plays at school and then moved to New York. That was it. A lot of time and hard work later, here I am.

Phated284525 karma

Sam, are you interested in getting back into anything on TV or will your focus go more towards movies?

Thank you for your time!

SamTrammell65 karma

Well, the next thing I am doing is an incredible script by Sam Baum called "Cocked". It's a pilot for Amazon and I get to play a character totally different from what I've been doing--a management consultant who gets drug back into his family's business of making guns. It's WILD and funny and intense and very well written. Brian Dennehy plays my dad. Look for it on Amazon this fall!

Weekndr11 karma

What song is stuck in your head right now?

SamTrammell37 karma

Ok, and this is gonna be weird, but I found this song called "Army of Lovers" by a band called Bunny Lake. I have no idea who they are, where they come from or even how I found them--but I'm way into this song right now. I was just listening to it in the car. It definitely harkens back to my growing up in the eighties deal. Kind of techno. It AWESOME. crank it.

Cunt_God_JesusNipple9 karma

What up gangsta?

Who is your favourite book character?

Thanks homie.

SamTrammell54 karma

Owen Meany. Have you ever read "A Prayer for Owen Meany"? Great book by John Irving. Heartbreaker. Beautiful. Either him or John Fante's recurring protagonist in "Wait Until Spring Bandini" Why can't I remember his name? Read Fante if you haven't.