Interview with Rohan Mead, Sam Riley JR from Damnation

  1.  How did you get involved in acting?
  2. think it all started with my parents to be honest. They are very well versed in the arts and love movies, so growing up in a household like that I am sure had something to do with it. Ive always had a big imagination as well. I used to dress up and pretend to be a Cowboy and run around for hours fighting imaginary bad guys in our back yard. My parents bought me a Batman costume for Christmas one year when I was about 3 and I basically wore that thing to shreads. I was on my own till I was 5 and then my baby brother was born, so I had a lot of time to kill during that period. It kind of just blossomed from there I guess, I took part in the school plays and started taking it more serious after high school when I moved to Toronto. 
  1. First role ever? Oh man. Um, I auditioned for this Psychiatrist role in my Grade 4. School play. He was supposed to have a super thick German accent and was always frazzled. I think I got the part but because being frazzled was more less in my nature at the time. My German accent was TERRIBLE. My first professional gig was when I was 21 on a show Called “Rookie Blue”.
  1. How did you hear about Damnation?  I heard about Damnation through my agent. He had sent the audition along to me and I put it up on tape the day I got it. 
  1. What drew you to Damnation?  Honestly, I think its the writing. I remember when I got my audition sides for Sam, It was only a few pages but I remember being so drawn to the words. Its amazing story telling and the characters are so in depth its hard not to be interested you know? I think Tony is a genius man. The whole writers room is just awesome, all the interwinding side plots and intricate character details, its just incredible. Theres something in the show for everyone for sure, and I think thats why our fans love it so much. 
  1. What drew you to Sam?  His struggle for sure. You can’t help but feel for the guy I mean he’s just this simple farm boy who’s proud to be his fathers son. He’s hard working, loves his mother and tries to do right by everyone. Then his entire world is flipped upside down, his father is shot in front of him and he’s accused of all these terrible things he didn’t actually do. As an actor there is a lot of things you get to play with there so immediately I was drawn to him. 
  1. How did you get the part?  I put the audition up on tape and sent it off to Production and got the call about a month later. I remember I was working at a bar at the time, and I got the call at work during my shift. I snuck out back and my agent told me I booked the role and a flew months later I was off to Calgary to film the Pilot. Getting that phone call was probably one of the greatest moments of my life.
  1. What drives Sam?  Sam’s driving force is his family. His father especially. I think a lot of what Sam does stems from that.  
  2. What can we expect from the rest of the season?  I can’t say anything other than keep watching! 
  1. What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to film for Damnation?  Calgary can get pretty cold at times. I think some of the hardest parts of filming was dealing with that, and just the weather in general. You can get weather from every season in a single day in Calgary. There were times we had snow, rain, hail, sleet, and sunshine all in one day!
  1. Do you relate to Sam?  I relate to Sam in some ways yes, others- no. I like to think I am fairly head strong and have that “never give up attitude”. There is a simple side to Sam as well that I feel I really relate to, a quieter side for sure. To say I’ve had someone killed infant of me or that ive been thrown in jail? Not so much haha. 

 12. How do you think Sam’s murder charge changed him?  Mostly just physically. I wanted         to bring a rough and tumble type of physicality to Sam, because of his       farming background and such. I didn’t want him to have great posture and to be to rigid. Working in the fields all day and lifting heavy things for sure can take its toll right? So I’ve always thought him to have a sort of “awkward swagger” to his movements.  For sure it did. On top of everything else that has happened, he is accused of killing Pete, who was not only one of the farmers, but a family friend. Sitting in a dark, cold Jail cell can for sure change you as well I would imagine. He is forced to grow up.

13.  Does Sam still care about the strike?  Sam still cares about the strike, it was his fathers life work. But Creeley has taken precedence though. I don’t think Sam wants anything more right now than to get back at that Strikebreaker. 

14.  Is Damnation physically/emotionally harder than past roles?  Damnation was a dream come true for me in so many ways. one of those being just how challenging it was. I have never worked on anything so in depth and with such high stakes. So it really meant digging deep and trying to get the best out of myself for every scene. Challenging in a good way though, in a way thats beneficial. I learned a lot about myself as an Actor.

15.  Do you do your own stunts?  Yes. Most of the time. I like being able to do my own stunts on anything that I do because I am a very physical Actor. I used to play a lot of sports growing up so I find the more physical I can be the better for me usually. 

16.  What’s the most physical thing about filming?I think mostly the long hours of filming and the climate. In addition to the all season weather, its also very dry in Calgary, so a lot of the time I felt like my eyes were going to dry up and fall out of my head! I can’t really complain though, I am pretty comfy in my cozy jail cell. 

17.  What do you want to do next?  Season 2 of Damnation

18.  If you could work with anyone in the industry, living or dead, who would you work with and why?  Oh wow thats a really, really tough question. I have so many favorites its really hard to choose…. But I would really love to work with the Coen Brothers. I love their films

19.  What’s something about yourself that would surprise fans?I am a pretty serious Guitar nerd. I play A LOT and when I am not filming I am usually doing that. 

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