'True Blood' Season 7: Sam Merlotte puts himself out there as mayor, says Sam Trammell

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At the end of "True Blood" Season 6, Sam Merlotte took over as mayor of Bon Temps. He had always been a public figure as Merlotte's owner, but this new position puts himself into the public eye in an entirely new way.

"He's definitely more of a leader than he's been as mayor, which is an interesting role for Sam to take on because he's a very private person and has been somebody who has hidden his identity," Sam Trammell tells Zap2it about where Season 7 picks up. "As mayor, you have to be out there to a certain extent. That kind of leadership role that he's going to take on is a different kind of role than he's had previously in the series."

To the majority of the citizens of Bon Temps, Sam is just another human. Few know him for what he really is: a shifter. With the town's focus on him, will he be ready to come out as a supernatural creature?

"I think he'll always be a little wary of it," Trammell says. "I don't think he's going to go around advertising it. He's definitely been outed to a certain community, but I think that he will keep it on the down low as much as possible. He's a very private person, and I think he's a little suspicious of people to a certain extent, especially given that his parents took on him. I think he has a hard time trusting people. I think there's an innate unconscious sense that people might take advantage of him if they found out about his powers, or they might sort of target him. I think he likes to keep his cards close to his chest just to feel safe."

Fans will be excited to know that the storyline Trammell is most excited to see conclude in Season 7 is the story of Pam and Eric. "The Pam and Eric storyline is really fun, and I'm really excited to see where that goes," he says. "I actually haven't read [all the scripts], but I'm really excited to see how they bring that to a close. And obviously what happens to Sookie and Bill as well. That's the obvious one."

As one of "True Blood's" original cast members, it's been hard for Trammell to come to terms with the fact the show is finally ending this year. "In some ways it feels like we've been doing this forever, and in some ways it seems like it's gone really quick," he says. "We've been so lucky to have had this many seasons. A lot of people love the town and love the characters, and it's really sad."

He adds, "I'm just going to miss the cast. It will just be like a certain kind of void, something that's just gone for all of us. All of us really love working together, working on the show. We have a great cast."

What he won't miss is all his many, many nude scenes he's had to do as a shifter, though. "I will not miss the cold, long nights, I'll tell you that -- and being naked or short sleeved in the canyons of Malibu," Trammell says with a laugh. "I have put in a lot of outdoor naked time."

"True Blood" Season 7 premieres Sunday (June 22) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. Up next, Trammell is starring in the "Cocked" pilot for Amazon, and is sending a movie he helped Kickstart called "Aftermath" to film festivals. He calls that project the best work he's ever done.
Photo/Video credit: HBO