Sam Trammell on Playing Someone Else and This Season’s ‘Bloody’ FinaleBy Jazz on Jul 31 2012 | 7 Comments »
Sam Trammell flexed his real-life shapeshifting acting abilities this season when in Sunday’s episode Luna shifted into Sam Merlotte. In interviews with TVLine and Zap2it, Trammell talks about how he approached playing someone else, being directed by castmate Stephen Moyer, what’s next for his character and Luna, and how this season’s finale may be the best yet.
How did you feel about playing a character shifting into your character again — only this time as a woman?
The writers told me that they had this idea that somebody else would shift into me, and it was going to have to be Janina [Gavankar, who plays Luna]. The writers were so excited because they were going to have her walk around and run into me, so I was going to have to play both sides of the scene. I knew it was going to be really difficult and kind of demanding, but I was excited.
There was also more humor than we’re used to where Sam is concerned.
When I read it, I really saw it as being kind of humorous, but we always wanted to play it straight. The stakes were pretty high for Sam and for Luna, so we tried to shy away from playing the humor… The whole situation is so insane that I’m sure it’s pretty funny. [Laughs] There were definitely different peaks and valleys [in the episode]. The very end, sort of when Luna is dying, that was a serious scene. But then they added the thing where I almost kissed myself, so that was quirky. I think that’s one of the things that the show does well; it kind of bridges different genres.
Did you approach this as playing a feminine version of Sam or as Luna as Sam?
It is kind of a mix. I always want to do it as the person, and Janina is obviously a woman so she has a certain kind of walk. I definitely tried to do a little bit of that. But the way she plays Luna is not overtly feminine… I tried to get the rhythm of her speech. She helped me out. I actually worked with her and watched her read scenes, which was really helpful. But it was really tricky. When I had scenes with myself, particularly in the scene where she comes in after Sam turned into a snake, we shot so many different angles and I kept switching from me to her and then her to me… It was back and forth for 10 hours! I had to go back and forth in the scene and know how each person would play it and also react to that person saying those things… Also, just getting into character — being Sam Merlotte and then being Janina in my body — was really exhausting! [Laughs]
And, of course, we have to talk about your co-star Stephen Moyer directing this episode — particularly given some of the things you were tasked with during the hour.
It was so fun. We’re all friends and Stephen is such an easygoing guy. He was so well prepared — you would never have known it was his first time directing the show because he was so at ease. He knew what he wanted, and that’s half the job right there. So, it was great. We kind of figured it would be like that. He has a really good rapport with the crew, and we had some laughs and had a good time. He was really supportive. I just knew it was going to be a hardcore episode for me, but I love it. I love doing that stuff.
Filming his scenes as Luna: “It was really exhausting and challenging,” he told Zap2it about filming the hilarious scenes. “It was great — I loved doing it.”
Being directed by Stephen Moyer: “He was so prepared,” raved Trammell. “It was a lot of fun working with him. I was really impressed at how ease he was directing.”
What’s next for Luna and Sam: “I can’t give anything away but from my perspective it looks like they’re back together,” he teased.
Who the heck is minding the store, er, Merlotte’s: “I wonder who’s cooking the food now,” Trammell mused with a laugh. “Lafayette’s off doing his thing, Terry and his jailhouse chili are gone, all of our waitresses are doing witchcraft or dead, and Sookie doesn’t have a mortgage to pay so she can just run off when she wants to …it’s pretty crazy.”
“But the customers are loyal!” he insisted. “The people come back, even though the food’s not being made.”
What fans can expect in the finale: “It’s going to be a very bloody finish to the season,” Trammell teased. “The finale is incredible — I think it’s the best finale we’ve ever done. What happens this season is insane. People are going to be on the edge of their seats waiting for next season.”
Sources: TVLine, Zap2it