Sam Trammell Discusses 'White Rabbit,' 'True Blood' And More

Charlie Greenwald ’16 & Sam Rivman ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writers
The Boston Film Festival is underway, and some of the best and biggest films of the 2014 season are screening right here in Beantown.
One of these films is White Rabbit, an unflinching, gripping drama about a bullied teenager growing up in rural New Orleans. Star Sam Trammell, well known for his work as Sam Merlotte in True Blood and as Michael Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars, plays the main character’s alcoholic father Darrell in the movie. Before the film’s premiere, Trammell spoke to Emertainment Monthly about having twins, being a movie Dad, and working with Shailene Woodley.
Emertainment Monthly: Hey Sam! Nice haircut by the way.
Sam Trammell: Thanks man! Good to see you guys.

Sam Trammell in White Rabbit.

Sam Trammell in White Rabbit.

This has been a crazy year for you—not only concluding True Blood but also costarring with Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern in the smash hit The Fault in our Stars. Talk a little bit about what this year was like, and how your career has changed after these past few months.
I mean, seven seasons with True Blood was incredible. It’s sad to say goodbye, but nobody gets that kind of a run. It’s very rare. So that was great. And Fault In Our Stars was great because that was a whole different kind of audience, a younger audience, that I got to get in front of, and it was a really beautiful movie. And now I’ve got this film with me here tonight, White Rabbit, which is going to come out really soon. And I did another movie with these same guys called The Aftermath that I’m really excited about as well. It’s also a really gritty, gritty movie. So things are great. And I also should mention that I just did a pilot for Amazon called Cocked, which Jason Lee and Brian Dennehy are in.
That’s a really cool cast!
It is a really cool cast, and that’s a family drama that takes place in the gun-making industry. So I think it’s going to be kind of a hot point.
It sounds like you’re choosing interesting projects. White Rabbit is very dark, very psychological… how did this script come across your desk?
Well, Shaun Sanghani who was the producer of this movie sent it to me. And I just loved the part—it really is an incredible role. I play the father of this guy who is a drug addict and very negligent in his duties. I look very different – I had this huge mustache.
Yeah, you look intense—in some of the stills you look like you are dripping oil!
Yeah man! And the movie itself—it’s about bullying, parental neglect, mental illness… this whole cocktail that creates a school shooter. But it’s also a great love story. My character has a great arc—becoming a born again Christian. So there’s a lot going on. It’s just such a gritty movie. And Tim McCann, who directed it, and Shaun Sanghani, we all did The Aftermath together. That movie is also very intense… so I guess I just really love these guys.
Sam Trammell in True Blood. Photo Credit: John P Johnson/HBO.

Sam Trammell in True Blood. Photo Credit: John P Johnson/HBO.

Speaking of fatherly roles, you’ve been doing a lot of that lately, most recently True Blood towards the end and The Fault in Our Stars, and now White Rabbit. You also have kids of your own in real life. What’s your process like playing a father, especially in these darker roles where your kids are going through difficult circumstances?
That’s a good question. When I got the script for Fault in our Stars, I really wanted to do it because it was such a great book and an incredible script. And Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley are two of the best actresses of their generation. Hands down, really. But then I got it and I was like, “Oh my God, I have to do this.” And I have two little boys who are both 3 years old. So it was really daunting, playing a father of a kid with cancer when you have kids of your own. I’ve met a lot of kids with cancer, and I met a lot of parents of kids with cancer. It was really challenging. But I just loved the scripts for both of these roles.
For sure. Final question—what do you want audience members, especially college kids who read this magazine, to exit the theatre thinking about when they finish seeing this movie?
I would hope that people would come out thinking about how you can judge certain people, especially your peers, without knowing their background. The kid in this film is picked on, and people don’t really ever understand what he’s going through, or what his family life is like. I went to college, and I remember how easy it was to pigeonhole people back then—to point at someone and say, “Oh, he’s like this, or she’s like that. I don’t like it.” So hopefully people think about more human empathy—before you judge somebody, or treat them poorly. It’s important to understand that people come from different families and different backgrounds.
It’s an awesome project, good luck with the film.
Thanks guys, hope you enjoy it.

Emily Solomon

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