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Severance Star Tramell Tillman on what Playing Milchick Has Changed His Life: Nobody Knew Who I Was in January

Playing Seth Milchick, a supervisor and middle man at the mysterious Lumon Industries, on Apple TV+s Severance, has changed Tramell Tillmans life.

The show dropped in February of the year and nobody knew who I was in January, Tillman tells THR. I visited Comic-Con for the very first time [in July], and my body was on a building my face was everywhere. An individual tapped me on the shoulder and asked for an image. And the next matter you understand, a crowd just grew, therefore lots of people knew who I was.

Tillman whose previous small-screen roles include parts on Dietland and Godfather of Harlem had just finished a run in the Broadway play THE FANTASTIC Society in 2019 and wanted his next gig when Severance found his desk.

I was very intrigued because of it, since it was very cryptic, says Tillman. The role of Milchickwas very easy: a keen company man. I could talk with [director] Ben Stiller and [creator] Dan Erickson and had this type of excellent time. I actually made Ben Stiller laugh, that is a big achievement for me personally. I said, Guess what happens, I made Ben Stiller laugh, so thats a win!’

The larger win, needless to say, was landing the work, even though pandemic-halted production began eight months later than planned. That hiatus gave Tillman additional time to get ready for a character who could possibly be nice, and he cannot be nice in just a matter of seconds.

Tramell Tillman as Lumon Industries supervisor Seth Milchick on Apple TV+s drama Severance.Thanks to Apple TV+

Physicality really was very important to me, Tillman says of getting ready to play Milchick. This is a guy who was simply extremely measured and controlled, therefore i did lots of breathing exercises. I spent several hours meditating. I’d get right up two hours before I was found to visit set, and I’d meditate and do small physical exercises to essentially discover the center of magic. I needed to generate Milchick as a duck on water, in the event that you will: very calm, but theres always something going on underneath. I usually had this image of an iceberg when I stepped into his shoes. Icebergs have become beautiful, and you also always believe that you have a good idea of what it really is, but theres a lot more underneath, and I felt that that has been an excellent analogy for Milchick.

Tillman has loved the discussion of morality around his character, with viewers caught between respecting him, being an employee simply doing his job, and fearing him. I’ve received messages in my own inbox about how exactly folks are viscerally bothered by Milchick, to the stage where they would like to fight him, he says. I also hear people say, I wonder if hes an extremely good guy? I really like the discussion of what he represents in the show, where some individuals think, Hes horrible. Hes the devil incarnate, among others think, Maybe theres another thing underneath there. Maybe he could be a light in the tunnel that people dont realize yet.

We might find out more about Milchick and his backstory in season two, but also for now, Tillman is mum. The show is made so that theres so much intrigue and mystery, and I dont desire to compromise that, but I believe theres likely to be a large amount of fun stuff. Im worked up about it.

This story first appeared within an August stand-alone problem of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

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