Talking With The Strain’s Ruta Gedmintas And Richard Sammel! Makeup Sessions! What’s Coming Next! End Game! And More!

Calling out to all the survivors, congrats for recovering from last week’s episode on The Strain. For a show filled with the most gruesome creatures, never thought a scene with two humans (well, Eichorst in his “human” form) would end up being the creepiest thing imaginable. I was excited to get the chance to talk with not only Ruta Gedmintas who plays the badass hacker, Dutch Velders; but also with Richard Sammel who plays the fabulously horrifying humanoid creature, Thomas Eichorst. The cringe worthy episode left us with more than a few questions for them both. Check out what they had to say about the whole experience. Trust me, there are some unexpected surprises.

The Strain Season 2 Samantha Mathis 1

None of us wasted any time asking them the question on everyone’s mind. How did you guys manage last week’s insane episode?

Ruta: “It was torture, but really fun. Richard is a brilliant actor”. It was definitely a crazy experience; an intense process. They were both very professional, but didn’t forget to have fun. “We’ll do an intense scene and then laugh out, have a hug and go for a dance”.

Richard: “We long for good stuff like this. When you see it on paper, you think, how am I going do it? Really creepy stuff. How am I going to work this out? Something special happened between me and Ruta. You bond when you do intense scenes like this. Confidence building up little by little, mixed with fun to ease in. Need a hot shower to bring back to the human phase”.

THE STRAIN -- "The Born" -- Episode 207 (Airs August 23, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders, Nicola Correia-Damude as Nikki.

CR: Michael Gibson/FX

How were the makeup sessions?

Rishard: “So surprised when I moved in the trailer. The artists are already done. It’s quite impressing, the preparation done on your character”. Richard was beyond impressed with the team work. He compared it to walking into a pool with lukewarm water set for the perfect temperature. Perfect sun and all you need is at hand; sunscreen, towels, shades, floats, cocktails, ice-cream etc. All he had to do was just “jump into the pool and go. They have everything ready. Perfect pool day”

Ruta: “Constantly terrified. Amazing artists” Fortunately she doesn’t have to go under major transformations, so she gets to admire all the creatures around her.

Thomas Eichhorst strain

Palmer and Eichorst relationship, do we detect tension?

Richard: “Tension growing from the very beginning. Palmer is accepted as a necessary evil; needs the funds for the plan. A business relation. They are emotional with each other because they want the same part. They both needed to do a lot for the Master. Palmer doesn’t respect anyone above him. Eichort is trained to obey. Eiichort believe Palmer won’t become vampire”. He adds on that Palmer is hard headed; he won’t be able to be submissive and be happy “sharing CEO with the Master. He will over throw the Master. Vampire politics”

Dutch is more into physical action now; will she get back to hacking again?

Ruta: “I don’t know. She has been learning more life skills, survival skills. Going on a much physical road, taking the mind form Micro to Macro. She wants to help the fight.”

THE STRAIN -- "The Born" -- Episode 207 (Airs August 23, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, Jack Kesy as The Master/Bolivar.

CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Will Dutch ever snap out of the traumatization?

Ruta: “Huge trauma. Slowly, she will have to deal with that experience. It touched her on many levels. Very dark scrutiny; made her question herself. Who she is in this life? She had to get over the initial terror. That’s the world they live in now.”

Any physical preparation involved?

Ruta: “Stunt mold made of my back so Richard could drag me. Plaster on my back, so it won’t hurt. I was laughing when I was getting dragged. It was quite strenuous. It was quite difficult, but we did it.” She added on that even the chain around her neck was specially made not to choke her. That scene was nothing but terrifying to us, the audience, but Ruta had to take a moment during filming because she was laughing so much during that take.

THE STRAIN -- "Dead End" -- Episode 211 (Airs September 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Is there anything you personally contributed to the character?

Richard: “Something feels definitely not right, you talk about it. When I read a script, it gives me ideas.” It was Richard who suggested stepping on the chain when Dutch was eating the pineapple. “I told what I was thinking and it turned out to be a good thing. The violence and it’s hot. It goes beyond. It’s a constant collaboration because we are confident with our characters. You work it out and if anything bothers you, you bring it in. Whatever it is, you bring it in. You distill it and the essence of it comes out.” They even improve each other’s lines and throw in ideas. Actors are very involved in the series and the characters.

Ruta: “You are still learning more and more about your characters, but there are some cemented blocks that you gain from season one. You know something is not right, something is strange, so you discuss it. They want to create more full rounded characters. So we discuss it. Most fun thing to do, the discussion.”

Are you fans of the horror genre?

Ruta: “I’m such a wimp. I have such sensitivity to horror, but it’s fun. Watching “The Strain” has been really really fun experience. Watching an episode you aren’t in, it’s great to see other people at work. Maybe I’ll finish a horror movie one day.”

Richard: “I can’t stand the gore. I’m afraid for myself. I’m gonna have a heart attack. All the gray hair is cause of all the horror movies I’ve seen. I’m very sensitive.” Richard is clearly not a horror movie buff, but more of a yogi who is sensitive to the energy around him. He tries to stay away from horror. “The Strain is such a masterful piece; high profile, high level work, but doesn’t take it seriously. You can actually watch it with popcorn. You’ve done it, so you know how you’ve done it. It’s so comforting to see every minute of brilliant acting. I watch horror movies now.” He enjoys watching episodes he is not in as well; very supportive of the cast and crew.

THE STRAIN -- "Quick and Painless" -- Episode 205 (Airs August 9, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Will Eichorst face consequences for acting like a spoiled kid?

Richard: “You can’t hide anything from the Master. Eichorst has a certain amount of freedom which he uses as he wishes. Master has enough faith in Eichorst that he won’t f*** it up. Whatever he does, he won’t compromise the plan. This is not the first time this happened. He doesn’t eat like the other vampires. He makes a big party out of it. The Master tolerates it. Eichorst is smart enough to pick himself up.”

We are almost afraid to ask, but what was Eichorst’s end game with Dutch?

Richard: “Very strong metaphor for what he lost. He lost Helga and he lost his genitals. I tend to think he would’ve turned her. She is one of the freedom fighters. She is a really valuable fighter; he doesn’t just kill the enemy. Eichorst wasn’t being reckless. He is in his own castle, the confidence to do whatever you want to do. Very selfish and boyish, but they have their pleasures too. Vampire French cuisine”

THE STRAIN -- "Dead End" -- Episode 211 (Airs September 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

What was your reaction when you read the script for this episode?

Ruta: “I was like “You gotta be kidding me”. I was excited. I was apprehensive. You can do it a number of ways; first level, the torture, second layer, the emotional level. The scene where you are like “How am I gonna do that?”, always the best scene; most enjoyable and most explosive.”

Richard: “Double checked who wrote it. What writer tries to exercise traumatize childhood stuff. This is what I long for; difficult scene beyond your own limits. How am I gonna do that in a believable way? That’s what you like as an actor. Those scenes put you out of your comfort zone. It can very easily be not good. Very risky episode; creepy, funny. Gazpacho with popcorn.”

How did Nikki’s return affect Dutch?

Ruta: “Dutch and Nikki have this past everyone seems to have; very powerful and potent. They don’t treat each other very well, but can’t stay away from each other. When she left the store, it was a huge blow, a huge rejection. Dutch had to let that go and then there’s this man who comes into her life; misfits together. This bonds Dutch to Fet; not wild passion destructive like with Nikki. They don’t have the understanding she has with Fet. Nikki is her first love, so can’t say goodbye. She is growing up and trying to understand.”


Does Eichorst get more depraved?

Richard: “He is a concentration of human mankind evil. We put it on a vampire to wash our hands. It’s not us, not human. We basically behave like the vampires in “The Strain”. We submit all the animals as we do in “The Strain”. Vampires treat humans as cattle. Doesn’t justify Eichorts behavior; half of Eichorts is still human. He wouldn’t have been able to invent any of this stuff. The rejection of Helga. A little nuclear power plant; Plutonium, is his bad behavior. The reactor and the explosion is the affect. He believes it’s the right thing to do. His one key word “YES”. The smile on his face, he is very proud of himself. He is willingly to put his human mankind behind. He is over it; he is a perversion machine. He is the terminator, not the Arnold with the calculations, but very human.”

Do you think Dutch blames Eph for all the events? It was his mistake after all for not having a proper exit plan.

Ruta: “Slowly Dutch and Eph will understand each other. Initially Eph was very condescending towards Dutch. Dutch doesn’t take kindly to any kind of criticism. Really hating the person you like. Dutch really wants Eph to say “Well done”. Dutch had her fair share of bad plans. I don’t think she blames Eph, she blames Eichorst.”

Pictured: THE STRAIN logo

What to expect next?

Richard: “More reason to believe that humans will make it. More reason to believe vampires will make it.”

They couldn’t reveal anything. Ruta didn’t even want to answer since she was advised to avoid the question. She claimed she is awful at answering this particular question. According to Richard, something bigger is coming up; a big finale.

How did your family react to the episode?

Ruta: “Mom haven’t seen the show cause she can’t stand to see anything bad happen to me. Grandma keeps watching it. It’s really nice to share it with the family; fun to hear the reaction.”

Richard: “Oh this is really creepy. This is really dark Richard, I like it. It appeals to people; that’s why we are going into third season.”

THE STRAIN -- "The Born" -- Episode 207 (Airs August 23, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Nicola Correia-Damude as Nikki, Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders.

CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Do you share any similarities with the characters?

Richard: “Thrilled to construct the character. Really based on nothing; using human reaction. I really hope I’m not like the character. I try to get rid of my character when I get back to my apartment. I fool around a lot. I don’t really need to recharge my batteries; very expressive, very focused. Whatever you have, you bring into the character”.

Ruta: “We have to amplify your own character. Something similar, the sensitivity. Dutch will attack as soon as she feels vulnerable. The white room, I wouldn’t have been such a fighter. Dutch never lets go right up to the last point. That’s similar to me in a very different way.”

Do you have a favorite episode this season?

I wasn’t surprised to hear both picking last week’s episode. They love it because of its complexity and it really called them up to the plate as actors. They had to dive into uncharted water.

How do you like interacting with fans on Twitter?

Richard and Ruta are both are new to Twitter, but loving it now. Ruta felt weird about all these strangers tweeting her, but now she loves interacting with all her fans. She went on to say that it’s like we are in a massive universal theater watching the show all together; it’s an amazing overwhelming feeling. Richard really didn’t understand it at first, but now an expert. Ruta was laughing about Richard being such a kid at Comic Con with his backpack updating every minute of the event; “Now we are going down the escalator.” They are really getting into it and enjoying the fans instant reactions.

I feel so much better after talking to these two awesome humans. Yes, that episode was that creepy and totally traumatized me. It was so much fun talking to Ruta and Richard. We all definitely had a good laugh. I finally understood what other cast members told us about Richard being the funny man on set. His elaborate metaphors are simply the best and absolutely brilliant. I’m bummed the season is nearing its finale, but totally excited to see what’s next. They keep raising the bar every week and I know we are all on edge.

A huge thanks to Ruta Gedmintas and Richard Sammel for taking time out of their vacation to talk to us. We really appreciate it. Don’t forget to catch “The Strain” Sunday nights at 10PM only on FX. Check it out!

The Strain Season 2 Samantha Mathis 3

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