Sam Trammell talks being a homewrecker on ‘This Is Us’


If you watched last week’s episode of “This Is Us,” you witnessed firsthand how Ben, played by “True Blood” actor Sam Trammell, begins to stir up trouble in Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) blissful marriage when he asks Rebecca to sing with his band on an East Coast tour. In the previews for this week, we discover that the pair used to be a couple — a shocking revelation for fans as well as Jack.

Today, we chatted with Trammell, who is based in Los Angeles, about causing conflict between Rebecca and Jack on the show, making the move from music to acting and why “This Is Us” has been such a hit with audiences.

How does it feel to play the character who’s getting in between TV’s most adorable couple?
It’s terrifying frankly. They’re so good together. I have no idea how people are going to receive my character, but that’s great drama. It’s kind of fun to be in the midst of their lives because they do have a precious thing. Every relationship has its ups and downs.

What do you think counts for the success of “This Is Us” so far? People really love it.
I know. I think it’s a combination of fantastic writing, great actors and characters and people relating to the relationships on the show. I think the writers do such a good job of writing things that are relatable for the audience. It’s just the highest quality stuff.

With everything going on in our country, why is a show like “This Is Us” important?
I think it’s important because it’s really about your local life in a way. It’s about your relationships. It’s about the people who are right in front of you. There is a lot of political unrest right now and anxiety right now. It reminds us of what’s really important, which is the people that are right in front of us — our spouses, our kids. It’s an escape in an ironic way, in that it brings you closer to your real home and your real life.

So last night’s episode got me worried for Rebecca and Jack. How deep are we going to dive into this relationship between her and Ben?
Obviously, I can’t say too much, but we go on tour and you see how it affects the relationship. Again, I can’t say too much. I can say that I got to sing with Mandy Moore. It was really incredible to be singing with her on stage because she’s the real deal.

Segueing into that, your character’s a musician. Do you have a musical background?
I was playing music long before I was an actor. I was in bands when I was a teenager, ever since I was 13 — rock cover bands. I played the cello and piano. Strummed instruments is sort of what I was drawn to.

How did you make that transition from musician to actor?
It was in college. A guy who’s now a musician, who was an actor then, said, “Oh, you should audition for a play” and so I [did]. It was a real moment of “Wow, this is so exciting and amazing.” Then, I was in my last semester at Brown. I just decided that I’m going to pursue that, so I moved to New York with no connections and not knowing any people. I took a bus and started from the ground up.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not doing a show?
One of my favorite things to do is to drive up north and go surfing in the early morning when it’s still dark. You paddle out just when it gets light. It’s a little cold, but that’s when the waves are the best, so I like to do that. I like to play music. I have two boys who pretty much take up all the rest of my time.

Tune into this week’s episode of “This Is Us” on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. EST.

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