5 Questions With The Strain's Richard Sammel

by | September 8, 2014 | Comments

Richard Sammel may have close to 100 onscreen acting credits, but for American audiences, it was Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain on FX that placed him on our radars (and in our nightmares).

As Thomas Eichhorst, Sammel plays a terrifying monster — both vampire and Nazi — whose handsome, chiseled face and steely-eyed blue gaze masks a long history of terror. In an email interview, however, Sammel could not be less scary. We asked him five questions about The Strain, del Toro, and how to prepare for such a monster role.

1. What’s your favorite Guillermo del Toro project?

All those I can look forward to and Pan’s Labyrinth.

2. How does Guillermo del Toro help you bring your character to life?

​He wa​s the father-mother of my​ character. For him, Thomas​ lived​ already before I met him. ​We had a really great first phone call and then he implanted​ Eichhorst in me; he had fabulous insight, gave me lots of background information, fed me with details, welcomed my questions, triggered my creativity, gave me confidence. There was constant Skype and email exchange. It was fabulous. He was always available.

​O​n set, he ​gave me small words or actions here and there, like mantras or appetizers, which opened up my mind. And he was always in a good mood​. With a happy workaholic, you easily become addicted yourself!

3. What was it like the first time you watched yourself as Thomas Eichhorst?

​I was happy that it worked, ​but also surprised about the immediate​ impact he had ​on the audience​, because Eichhorst’s “look” isn’t so far away from my normal appearance. Exception made for​ ​the ​two full vampire appearances, there were no “special effects.”

I worked a lot on the ​inner energy, the “a​ura.” And that was risky. A very reduced body language close to zero, so that you can’t sense his next step or his emotions. For me it was like “I know this guy, but he’s so weird,​” or “there’s something weird about him but you don’t know what it is.” He hides his assets but you sense them — but in order to do so, you need to have the assets.

It’s basically like a strange book with a wonderful binding: when you open it, the pages are empty, yet you feel there’s something written. You need a Setrakian [David Bradley’s character] to read it, but when you listen to Setrakian you don’t believe him.​

4. What kinds of reactions to your character are you getting from viewers of The Strain?

Actually, they’re all quite overwhelming, especially after episode seven​​​. I’ve seen tweets that say, “You are creepy, brilliant, captivating, and sexy,” and “We want more Eichhorst.” So I really can’t complain.


5. Which non-American TV shows or films you would recommend to fans of The Strain?

Mafiosa: A French crime-drama television series from 2006.

Im Angesicht des Verbrechens: A German television series about the Russian mafia in Berlin from 2010.

Black Mirror: A British television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology from 2011.

The Killing: A Danish police procedural three-season-long television drama series from 2007​.

Season one of FX’s The Strain is currently Certified Fresh at 87 percent. A 13-episode renewal for season two was announced in August.

Tag Cloud

TLC AMC halloween Amazon Prime Video RT21 Song of Ice and Fire Valentine's Day BBC America Shondaland Marvel Television richard e. Grant Character Guide cancelled television Reality Cosplay adventure foreign Spectrum Originals Superheroes Pixar ITV universal monsters BBC romance Premiere Dates Peacock Discovery Channel romantic comedy MTV APB Winter TV Oscars cops green book Holidays facebook GLAAD critics SDCC Film Festival Extras CW Seed MCU hispanic GIFs Box Office CBS All Access Crunchyroll spy thriller Vudu elevated horror Pop 2015 zombie NYCC true crime series satire Countdown 24 frames strong female leads TCA Apple TV Plus psycho period drama cinemax south america PaleyFest Showtime WarnerMedia die hard Emmys tv talk HBO Max Rock batman National Geographic FX crime drama Red Carpet transformers ABC Nat Geo 007 Martial Arts TruTV TIFF VH1 Election Netflix indie docudrama Marathons TCA Winter 2020 theme song 45 Tubi cancelled TV series Disney Fox News Tarantino Lifetime Esquire The Witch American Society of Cinematographers psychological thriller casting space canceled TV shows crime thriller President Ovation ratings teaser movie MSNBC Thanksgiving ghosts miniseries hist sag awards Grammys PlayStation Comics on TV reviews Toys Hulu Certified Fresh Superheroe children's TV Comedy criterion ABC Family Food Network Opinion scary movies Lucasfilm E3 justice league award winner harry potter science fiction Mary Tyler Moore Pride Month Baby Yoda Black History Month Best and Worst sports Universal stand-up comedy chucky Schedule Star Trek Dark Horse Comics cancelled Trailer Syfy TCA 2017 Awards Ghostbusters medical drama Masterpiece Amazon Prime mission: impossible diversity blockbuster Mystery Pet Sematary IFC screenings Awards Tour Women's History Month crossover name the review Hear Us Out anthology Drama latino cults Musicals A24 Christmas DC Universe Crackle Walt Disney Pictures GoT concert San Diego Comic-Con First Look based on movie indiana jones screen actors guild Turner discovery Reality Competition TV Columbia Pictures dceu serial killer technology finale Country Music The Purge FOX Starz Disney+ Disney Plus Video Games dc Set visit films TBS El Rey The Walking Dead Cartoon Network what to watch Disney streaming service cancelled TV shows Rom-Com 2018 DC streaming service E! Ellie Kemper Emmy Nominations thriller slashers BET Awards independent talk show dragons BET ESPN spinoff composers breaking bad Disney Channel Calendar comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dark Shudder Lifetime Christmas movies VICE Hallmark video natural history social media Animation Funimation Mary Poppins Returns animated USA Network Sneak Peek movies Black Mirror sitcom NBC The Arrangement anime Quiz TV renewals Elton John Anna Paquin Sundance LGBT Mary poppins DirecTV politics rotten movies we love 2016 mockumentary best doctor who Nominations RT History Rocketman YouTube Premium boxoffice adaptation Trivia comic free movies child's play Tomatazos Spike OWN asian-american dramedy book binge Kids & Family Creative Arts Emmys Marvel History christmas movies renewed TV shows See It Skip It Year in Review comics Endgame Mudbound Logo CBS all-time dogs revenge canceled war TV Land SundanceTV robots Cannes historical drama 4/20 Lionsgate Writers Guild of America New York Comic Con Paramount Fantasy cars Amazon Studios Brie Larson aliens Star Wars X-Men Spring TV Freeform BBC One 2017 unscripted FX on Hulu 2019 zombies The CW a nightmare on elm street cooking festivals Marvel Studios Holiday blaxploitation BAFTA golden globes 2020 Action Warner Bros. WGN Interview IFC Films Heroines 71st Emmy Awards stoner Disney Plus PBS spider-man Travel Channel Epix Apple TV+ Classic Film vampires Adult Swim singing competition kids police drama spanish language Acorn TV Infographic HBO Musical Bravo travel Horror franchise Mindy Kaling Sony Pictures Trophy Talk First Reviews spain toy story reboot Fall TV quibi crime Polls and Games Rocky DGA YouTube Red witnail streaming Captain marvel twilight Biopics OneApp YA cartoon A&E Tumblr Comedy Central supernatural LGBTQ Super Bowl Britbox Academy Awards Sundance TV Stephen King political drama Nickelodeon documentaries disaster Sci-Fi news Avengers comedies FXX nature zero dark thirty Film sequel game of thrones HBO Go directors Netflix Christmas movies TCM Hallmark Christmas movies Family Photos Turner Classic Movies Amazon 20th Century Fox Apple Comic Book Television Academy Paramount Network CMT 21st Century Fox game show jamie lee curtis versus cats DC Comics joker Pirates YouTube Binge Guide VOD Winners Sundance Now werewolf parents SXSW mutant Western CNN Chilling Adventures of Sabrina USA Arrowverse Summer Teen television Pop TV TNT documentary Podcast biography Chernobyl Watching Series video on demand