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

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