Sam Trammell Talks True Blood at West Virginia Hometown Fundraising Event

October 31, 2009 by  

SamMerlotteSeason2BeyondHereLiesNothingThis weekend, Sam Trammel returns to his hometown of Charleston, W.Va., to help support the town’s East End Main Street historic preservation program by participating in the city’s HallowEast fundraising festival.

Born in Louisiana, True Blood’s Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) spent a large part of his childhood in Charleston, W.Va., and many of his friends and family, including his parents, still live there.

“I consider Charleston home. My mom and dad still live there. I really miss it, and I’m excited to see all my friends and family. It’s great to be coming home. …Downtown Charleston and the East End are just amazing. Today, when you look at the ballpark, the Clay Center and Capitol Street, you understand the revitalization has been great. I want to see it continue.

It’s [the fundraiser event] a good fit for Halloween. If you’ve read the Charlaine Harris books (on which the show is based), you know she introduces a whole host of fantastical creatures. For sure, it’s a Halloween sort of show.”

On Oct. 30, Charleston’s Cultural Center hosted two receptions with Sam. He then moved to Kanawha Players at 309 Beauregard Street, to sit down for an Inside the Actor’s Studio style interview, answering questions posed by David Wohl, dean of arts and sciences at West Virginia State University.

According to event organizers, money raised during the festival will be used to help neighborhood businesses in downtown Charleston to promote and preserve the historic district.

While in town, Sam spoke with Bill Lynch of The Charleston Gazette about his experience working on True Blood. According to Sam, the most difficult aspect of working on a show like HBO‘s True Blood isn’t the bloody effects.  It also isn’t the late nights, though he says that they start shooting around 5 p.m. for all night shoots that last until dawn and he is sometimes sleep deprived from the schedule.  Sam expected all of that since, after all, it is a show about vampires.  Sam says that the thing he has the hardest time adjusting to is:

“…the cold, believe it or not. I don’t like the cold.”

Trammell, a George Washington High School graduate, remembers one particular night this past season when 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.”

Sam, 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.

In addition to talking about last season, Sam also spoke a little bit about working on season three and what it is like to work with Alan Ball.  According to Sam, Alan tends to work in advance, so the scripts for next season are probably already finished.  This kind of advance preparation isn’t always the case, however, says Sam:

“Most TV shows, you get scripts a week before you shoot them.  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,” Sam said. “He wants to finish shooting the season before it airs — just in case he needs a re-shoot.”

So what’s coming up next for Sam Merlotte?  Sam didn’t give much away, but he did tell the Gazette:

“I think Sam is going to go toward the vein of trying to find his biological parents. That will definitely end in some bad stuff.”

I hate to think that we’ll have to see Sam crying once again.  The season finale, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” was heart rending for his character from beginning to end.  Perhaps we will learn a little good news for Sam in season three from this Q & A event but more than likely, we will simply have to wait until June 2010 for the answers we want.

Jessica Ralston from WSAZ had the chance to catch up with Sam and discuss his homecoming and True Blood.

SOURCE: The Charleston Gazette

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)