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Exclusive: Sam Trammell talks ‘Homeland’

Can you believe that the series finale of Homeland airs tomorrow night? Neither can Sam Trammell who plays VP President Ben Hayes. I recently had the chance to speak to him about this satisfying finale.

It’s just unbelievable. I mean, it’s such an iconic show, eight seasons. And it’s changed so much over the years. It’s become such a geopolitical large show,” said Trammell. “I’m just honored to be part of the last season. To play the President of the United States, which I’ve never played the president, I’ve never even played a politician. I was pretty intimidated, to be honest with you, even playing vice president.

We all know President Hayes is not the best choice for president, but he’s in this position now, and well, he could be doing worse.

“It’s just one of those ‘be careful what you wish for situations.’ Ben Hayes was really an ambitious, Vice President and he was fundraising and was most likely going to challenge President Warner in the next election. And I’m sure before President Warner was suddenly gone that he was very much thinking ‘I can do this, no problem. Put me in the office as soon as possible.’ And then it suddenly happens and you see him just, wrangling, having these insanely difficult decisions to make, which frankly a president has to make every day, whether you have a big calamity, you know, like the helicopter going down, whether you have one of those or not,” said Trammell. “I mean, he’s sort of like a deer in headlights, kind of mentally unprepared for it. It was kind of really challenging and exciting and fun to play someone who doesn’t have control over everything around him and feels a little bit like a fish out of water.”

Despite the sudden call to run the country, Trammell does believe Ben will grow into the role. Ben is very smart so he will find his footing.

“Something that I really found helpful (when preparing for the role) was just reading about the culture and how it changes in each administration, and how presidents kind of put together the vibe in their world. They obviously hire the people they want to have around them, just the idea of each White House being a totally separate kind of household, if you will, like a new family. So I found that helpful and looking at some people like (Lyndon B. Johnson) and some presidents that came along from being vice presidents was also helpful.”

“Really just thinking about it, we sort of modeled this guy after Paul Ryan a little bit just as far as the sort of ambitious guy who gets caught up. There’s a lot of elements of others, you can see some Trump in there, maybe a little George Bush and there’s a lot of other presidents that are sort of in there… He’s a mishmash of a bunch of people but the main thing is that he’s really not reliable. He’s not a reliable partner to Saul and to the rest of the administration. He’s a roadblock to the policies they want and then certainly to peace with the Taliban and peace in Afghanistan.”

Trammell didn’t want to spoil anything about the finale episode “Prisoners of War” but does say it will be satisfying for those who’ve watched from the beginning.

“I’ll just say that there are some things that nobody’s gonna see coming as far as surprises. It is as on the edge of your seat as the whole season has been. I think that fans are going to be really satisfied with how the writers are going to wrap up the series itself and wrap up the relationship between Saul and Carrie,” Trammell revealed.

“Those two have been on since the beginning and their relationship is taking sort of a turn that it hasn’t taken before where they’re kind of lying to each other and knowing that they have to for whatever greater good they’re both going for. And so that’s an interesting place to put them, and it’s gonna be really satisfying to see how that resolves itself.”

Trammell also revealed a fun fact about filming. He shot all of his White House scenes in Morocco. The crew built a White House set and to be honest, you’d think they shot inside the actual White House.

The series finale of Homeland airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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