Sam Trammell is an absolutely great time. We spent an enjoyable day binge-watching his series The Reckoning from the beginning (yeah, it’s the kind of series in which we can easily do that) and had just finished the last episode when we chatted to the mystery series’ star that evening; he was quite enthusiastic and fascinating to talk to.
We got pretty far into the Australian-filmed show about the perspectives of two fathers (played by Trammell and Canadian Aden Young), and then we decided to go for it and ask him a bunch of questions about his role as President in Homeland, our favourite True Blood, The Fault in Our Stars, and a lot more. In other words, he’s in a tonne of awesome stuff.
What Follows Is a Shortened and Somewhat Edited Version of Our Fascinating Phone Chat with Sam Trammell, the Man Behind Reckoning.
Note: Big Spoilers Ahead
That’s great, Sam Trammell said. Australia was fantastic because I was able to work on sets while living independently in Manly and surfing the Northern Beaches, which stood in for the California coastline in the films. In order to successfully play the part, I found that this allowed me to delve into the character at a much deeper level than was originally planned. Finally, yes!
I was really lucky to have the opportunity to play such a wide variety of roles on Homeland, from a potential serial killer (I won’t give anything away, but I’m not sure how you want to put it) to the President of the United States (who, like Leo, has both good and bad sides) to, yeah, Morocco (I was travelling all over the place).
Being an actor has its perks, like the opportunity to visit interesting locations throughout the world without feeling like a tourist while still being compensated for the time spent away from your loved ones. Then I went to Georgia to film a new adaptation of a novel by Kate DiCamillo called The Tiger Rising. Now that I’m back in Los Angeles, I’m enjoying some time away from the stress of the acting industry. This is a special time for all of us; there is now no work for any of us to pursue, so we can all kind of just chill out.
BT: It’s different from the typical dad characters you’ve performed, but it’s not a total departure
ST: Obviously, being a parent provides me with a wealth of material to draw upon when developing my on-screen personas. And you just watched it, so you know that portraying Leo was a lot of fun because he was such a complex, nuanced character. There’s good and bad, but also a lot of grey area; you find yourself saying things like, “I truly like him,” and then wondering, “Should I really like this guy?” You want to root for him, and then you don’t, and the same can be said of the other character, Dr Serrato (portrayed by Aden Young).
It’s almost like if I were Tony Soprano; you know he’s horrible [laughs] but you can’t help but root for him. And yeah, there were all these different sides of the character that I got to explore, through the relationships he had, like I got to explore being a father, as Leo, and that showed a real vulnerability that he had – he has this relationship with his wife, that sort of has something on him, he’s got his relationships with the wrestlers that he pushes, with the kids he counsels, so that was one of the things that I loved about this role.
“Alaska” is the “leaning into the madness” episode, BT.
SS: It was fantastic. Because it had the feeling of “I’m almost out of here, but I’ve been inspired by this incredibly lovely spirit,” that episode was one of my favourites. Because I saw her after seeing my dad, and because she had that tattoo, she became, I couldn’t help myself to take her at that point, and it was just so tragic, it was such a beautifully tragic moment. The nurse was a great actress and a beautiful character, and she was totally innocent and she was just a good friend.
You saw the good and the bad in Leo; the innocent guy who just wants to do what’s right by his family and get away from it; and the addict who has no choice but to do it. The language is superb, the tale compelling, and the subject matter fascinating. I’m quite thrilled that we got on Netflix because it leaves you wanting more of the show, people can binge it and you can keep going with it. I thought the storyline in Reckoning was excellent, and I was moved by the small tragedies depicted there, such as this one.