From Apple TV+’s hit show “Severance,” actor Tramell Tillman sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In this newest episode, Tillman talks about how nervous he was working on set with Christopher Walken and Adam Scott, how he chose to depict Mr. Milchick in “Severance,” his activism, and much more. Highlights below.
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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Tramell Tillman –
On working with stars such as Christopher Walken and Adam Scott on the set of “Severance”:
“I was a nervous wreck, if I’ll be honest with you. I was shaking in my boots. But my first scene, as a matter of fact, was directed by Ben Stiller. And my scene partner was John Turturro. And it was so incredibly complicated camera-wise because there’s a little bit of choreography, we have to wait because the camera had to spin around, and then walk, and then turn. And I had to make sure, of course, that I was prepared and I knew my lines. But, when I got on set, I realized that this was the first time I had acted on set for probably about almost a year-and-a-half. I’d been doing everything virtually. So you question, ‘Can you do this anymore?’ And then, when it happened, and eventually I got my bearings, John was very patient with me. And Ben was very supportive, and I took a deep breath, and was able to rock and roll. And that’s just a testament to who these artists are. They’re very generous and focus on the job. And I’m glad. Glad for it.”
On how he chose to depict Mr. Milchick in “Severance”:
“That’s always a great challenge for me, to be able to bridge the gap between the character and myself. Both Milchick and I are very ambitious. We are very focused. We enjoy community, we both like to dance. And building him was a challenge in that I had the least information of Milchick. And you notice in the series, there wasn’t a lot of backstory about Milchick. He just kind of pops up. So I wanted to see what would make sense in this world, this mysterious place of Lumon. What makes the most sense? So I created a character that always had a smile on their face, was warm, but it was a little off-kilter, just to keep and establish control, so you never know where you stand with this guy.”
On feeling pressured to work a more traditional profession but always wanting to act:
“I wanted to act when I was 10 years old. So it’s been years, and I’ve been in this love affair with performing. Because I believed that I couldn’t really make it as an actor. You know, growing up in PG [Prince George’s] County, I was surrounded by very successful business persons, engineers, doctors, lawyers, you know? And in order to be something in life, I felt that that’s what you had to go into. So that’s why I started in biology pre-med to become an orthopedic surgeon. But, you know, performing was always a part of my life. It was always there. And eventually, I gave in, and I said, ‘I want to pursue this full time. Like, I gotta chase my dreams. If I fall, that’s fine. But I gotta do it.’”
On how his upbringing influenced his activism:
“My mom told me – aside from, ‘Call me more’ – she told me that, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ And I believe that. And I’ve been afforded a lot of opportunities. I’ve been blessed. And I think it’s my duty and also my heritage to give back. You know, I come from a family of activists. So, to be able to be a part of causes that support LGBTQ – the community in which I’m a part of – Black and Brown issues that are happening within education and within mental health is really important for me. It’s this take-me-or-leave-me kind of mindset. You know, I have been ostracized all throughout my life. And there was a moment where I would work so hard for other people’s approval. And now, I’m like, ‘Forget that,’ you know? Life is too short… I was different growing up. I was shy, you know? I wasn’t interested in what the other boys were growing up interested in. Most of the guys wanted to play sports, I wanted to write poetry and make up songs and reenact scenes. And, you know, there was that artistic side of me. And before I realized my own truth about my own sexuality, I was very heavily involved in self-expression. And that wasn’t something that was celebrated among Black boys, that artistic side. Of course, I grew up in the ‘80s, so it’s a bit different now, which I’m grateful for. And because of my own sensitivity, that separated me from a lot of people. So with that, there was a lot of criticism that came from there. I had to make a choice. At the end of the day, what are you going to do? Are you going to be the person that is people-pleasing? Or are you going to go after your own dreams, and serve your own energies, your own passions? And I’m a person who believes in helping people and giving back and establishing community.”
More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.
Upcoming guests include Aaron Cooley (“The First Lady”), Nathan Kress (“iCarly”), Caity Lotz (“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), Ross Patterson (“Ross Patterson Revolution!,” “Drinkin’ Bros”), and Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”).
Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Melissa Manchester (“Don’t Cry Out Loud”), Molly Smith Metzler (“Maid,” “Shameless”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Joey and Daniella Pantoliano (“The Matrix,” “Memento”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Kyla Pratt (“The Proud Family”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Reid Scott (“Veep”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”).
More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.