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Sam Trammell on True Blood Season Six: Shifters, Beware!

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Watch out, Shape Shifters!

While vampire and werewolves take center stage most of the time on True Blood, Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) says there's trouble ahead for his kind on Season 6.

And it's mostly due to the presence of the ruthless Louisiana Governor (played by guest Arliss Howard), who has strong methods of taking care of all non-humans... and the fight is going to be a good one.

Will Sam find love in the midst of fighting? Who will he butt heads with these season? I asked the actor all these questions and more in our exclusive Q&A...

Sam Merlotte Photograph

TV Fanatic: You’re six seasons in as Sam Merlotte. Are you still finding out new things about him after all this time?
Sam Trammell: Here’s the thing, in True Blood time, only about two years has passed. [Laughs] There’s still a lot to learn with Sam and there are new things and new relationships and there are some new people this year. The shape shifters have been outed and certain people [the aforementioned Governor] wants to take away your personal freedom to be who you are in the world.

The short answer is that the show is so well-written and shows so many dimensions, at least with my character, I feel that you continue to find things out about him.

TVF: Brian Buckner has stepped in for Alan Ball in running the show and he’s said he wants to shake things up on True Blood. Do you feel that he has from the actor’s perspective?
ST:  Alan, I’m so sad to see him go but he wanted to take a break. There’s barely been a shift but this year is a little different. I feel like this year is going to be a little more about the core characters. There aren’t as many side character stories going on. It’s a little more focused in that sense and I know as the show continues, if we do another year, I feel like it’s gotten back to the core people and really focused on character.

TVF: Is it possible at all for Sam to find true love in this world?
ST: It just seems like it comes and goes, doesn’t it? I think Sam has found true love but he just keeps getting kinda screwed. On the one hand, it’s fun to meet new people and have new relationships but, on the other hand, it would be nice to get into something pretty deep and have a mature relationship at last before a week passes and someone leaves or gets killed.

TVF: Sam and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) seem like they might be butting heads a lot this season. What can you say about that?
ST: Yeah, Sam and Alcide are definitely going to be butting heads. The shifters and werewolves…Sam is on the wrong side from the werewolves, let’s put it that way. The werewolves are a rabid bunch and a big bunch and that’s a big part of my season is how I deal with the werewolves and Alcide. Alcide and Sam have been friends in the past but that gets complicated because of Emma and Luna and that definitely is trying our relationship.

TVF: I’ve always loved that the characters on True Blood can be fighting for their lives one minute and then, with Sam at least, the next day he’s just back running Merlotte’s.
ST: [laughs] That is so true! It’s just a part of life now, danger and craziness and shifting and seeing people get slaughtered and then going and having a nice lunch but that’s the world! It’s high, high drama and you don’t really get a moment to catch your breath.

TVF: I miss the Sam and Sookie scenes that we used to get more of in the early years of the series. Will we see more of those this year, by chance?
ST: I do, too! I love working with Anna [Paquin] and I love the Sam and Sookie dynamic. There’s a real genuine relationship there. Sam has affection for Sookie and Sookie has affection for Sam in her own way.

TVF: Is that coming early in the season or later?
ST: Kinda later in the season.

TVF: The romantic comedy Crazy Kind Of Love that you did with Virginia Madsen is On Demand and coming out on video next month. It’s so different from True Blood. Was that part of the appeal?
ST: Absolutely. It’s a great character and it’s a genre and I hadn’t done a romantic comedy in awhile and it’s so different than what I do on the show. I’m also a big fan of Virginia Madsen but who isn’t? I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time and it was so fun to meet her and get to work with her.

TVF: You had twins a few years ago. Has it gotten easier or is it double the trouble?
ST: It’s so much easier! The first year was crazy difficult but we’re lucky because our guys sleep really well. I feel really lucky because I know so many people who have kids who don’t sleep and it’s the main thing. If you have kids that sleep, then everything is good. If you have kids that don’t, then everything is bad! As they get older, it’s different kinds of things they get into and different issues but it’s gotten easier and easier!

TVF: What else is going on outside of True Blood?
ST: I did this movie called White Rabbit this past summer, which is really intense and really great. It’s about a father and son in Louisiana and it looks at the psychology behind someone who commits violence at a school. It’s one of the best characters I’ve ever done. He’s this drugged out and alcoholic father who becomes a born again Christian and I hope people get to see it. It’s really fantastic and one of the best parts I’ve ever done.

TVF: When might that come out?
ST: it’s going to do the film festival circuit so I’m not sure but hopefully by the end of this year. I also did a little part on Childrens Hospital, which is one of my favorite comedies on AdultSwim. I got to do that. David Wain (Executive Producer) is a good friend of mine and they called me up and I said ‘Anytime you want!’

TVF: Such a crazy show. Who do you interact with on Childrens Hospital?
ST: Henry Winkler, Malin Akerman, the whole gang! It was so great.

True Blood Season 6 premiere tonight at 9 on HBO. The new season of Childrens Hospital begins July 25 on AdultSwim. For more on White Rabbit, check out the Facebook page.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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