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<p>Richard Sammel of &quot;The Strain&quot;</p>

Richard Sammel of "The Strain"

Credit: FX

Interview: 'The Strain' co-star Richard Sammel on Nazis, vampires and how he's like Jean-Claude Van Damme

German actor also discusses Eichorst's makeup routine

For the past two months, viewers have been disturbed and unsettled by Richard Sammel's performance as Eichorst, the Nazi concentration camp guard turned vampire apocalypse facilitator, on FX's "The Strain." 

Playing both the human (but inhuman) Nazi version of Eichorst and his steely, arrogant contemporary incarnation, Sammel has given very different monstrous shadings to his role.

That's why it's a bit funny to Skype up with the smiley, voluble Sammel and have him immediately cackle in pleasure at being able to identify my mogwai avatar from "Gremlins,"  before he very politely asks me to switch on my webcam so that we can see each other as we chat.

Sammel is in a good mood because it's the first sunny day in Paris for a while. Or maybe he just genuinely enjoys talking about his part in the FX vampire drama, which was recently renewed for a second season.

"I think basically bad guys in TV or movies, mostly blockbuster movies, they often are very much reduced to their dramatic function, doing bad things so that the hero can shine. But a bad guy becomes interesting when you can follow his motivations," Sammel says.

When it comes to motivations, Sammel suggests that he has done nearly 100 movies and he's only worked in a Nazi context in 22 of them, a fact he accepts as "generational guilt."

Sammel, who speaks more languages than you do better than you do (or more languages than I do better than I do), talks in long, articulate bursts, giving answers that sometimes range over 1000 words. Fortunately, they're thoughtful and often funny words and in our 30 minute conversation, I found that he was anticipating my follow-up questions with some frequency.

Honestly, I could have talked about the "generational guilt" idea and how it relates to a show about vampires for the full interview, but I also wanted to talk with Sammel about Eichorst's complicated makeup routine and getting to do stunt work in recent episodes.

Sunday (September 7) night's episode of "The Strain" is a big one for Sammel. Check out the full Q&A below. And be sure to read it in your head using Sammel/Eichorst's German accent...

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Review: Robert Downey Jr. is guilty of being shameless in 'The Judge'
Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Robert Downey Jr. is guilty of being shameless in 'The Judge'

Prepare to be manipulated. Poorly.

Someone really, really needs a hug from Robert Downey Sr.

Written by Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque, and a blender full of better legal thrillers and family dramas, "The Judge" has been directed by David Dobkin almost entirely in ornate second-unit establishing shots and dramatic entrances. It is an insistent film, and "subtle" isn't even a consideration. This is a movie that will tell you the same piece of information nine times to make a point because it has no faith at all that you will understand it. It also features more endings than "Return Of The King," and it feels like a movie the younger, rowdier Robert Downey Jr. would have made fun of mercilessly.

Honestly, as soon as the first scene with Downey played out, I started to worry. There's a trial. He's a big high-powered defense attorney. We meet him standing at a urinal. The opposing counsel, played by David Krumholtz, comes in to confront him.

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<p>Julie Chen</p>

Julie Chen

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Double Eviction Drama

Julie Chen prepares for conversations with two hamsters

It's time for the season's second Double Eviction Thursday on "Big Brother."

I missed the last one for some reason and didn't get to recap it and what's the point of recapping Thursday night episodes if you're not going to get to handle the double eviction chaos.

But I'm here tonight, even though I know that even if some miracle saves Nicole in the first vote, her chances of surviving a second vote are virtually nil.

So will it just be Nicole and Victoria/Christine going home or will something shocking happen in the second HoH/Nominations/Veto/Vote maelstrom? 

Let's find out!

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Joan Rivers was proudly unapologetic to the end
Credit: Associated Press

Joan Rivers was proudly unapologetic to the end

Joan Rivers was proudly unapologetic to the end
Joan always went there, whether cracking a Holocaust joke or calling Lena Dunham fat. As Hank Stuever notes, "She mouthed off long enough to arrive at one final and strange place in our common culture, in which people are constantly apologizing for what others deem to be inappropriate quips, jokes, tweets, updates, memes, Instagram captions, leaked e-mails — all the many ways we find to fail at our attempts at her kind of humor ... Her sense of humor and her belief only in being funny made her part of a dying tribe, the last remaining people who honestly believe that if you can’t take a joke, you are welcome to go (bleep) yourself. Her descendants include not only the Kathy Griffins and Sarah Silvermans of the comedy world, but also the only person you really want to talk to at a party, the one with the unhinged mouth."
Read Kathy Griffin’s heartfelt appreciation: "I do know I would not be doing what I do if it weren't for Joan”
WEtv has yet to air "Joan & Melissa: Joan Know Best?” Season 4, which already wrapped filming
PBS’ "Women in Comedy” airing Sept. 30 will feature a new interview with Rivers
--Rivers was one of the earliest female comedians to talk in an unfiltered way about being a woman, joking about abortion in the ‘60s
--Read Joan’s funeral plan: "I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action”
Barbara Walters pens a tribute: “I can't remember a time when I didn't know Joan Rivers”
Watch Joan Rivers teary 1990 Emmy acceptance speech
Fellow comedians remember Joan // More rememberances
Garry Shandling: "Joan never lost the most precious, child-like part of herself…"
Read the 1965 NY Times Magazine profile of “fast-rising” Rivers
Why “the gays” loved Joan (Hint: “She loved us back”)
—From 5 weeks ago: Listen to Howard Stern’s final interview with Joan
How Joan Rivers changed the red carpet: E! remembers her best moments
"Her delivery was like an automatic sprinkler: fast, relentless and sometimes prone to stick, soaking a comic riff into a muddy swamp”
The story behind Joan’s 3-decade “Tonight Show” ban, which Jimmy Fallon lifted earlier this year
Rivers talked in July about dying: "In your 80s, you’d be foolish not to think about that. I am definitely going to be cremated”
After Johnny Carson mess, Rivers’ work "became meaner, leaner, and, strangely, more soulful than ever before”
Rivers wrote about her Carson breakup in 2012
Rivers did the Proust Questionnaire // The 50 best Joan Rivers jokes
A former Joan writer reveals: "When I worked for Joan, work felt like something I could do forever without a break”
Rivers was a graoundbreaking feminist icon, even though she hated being called a pioneer
Joan’s most memorable insults // 10 moments when Joan was really Joan
Rivers helped redefine a woman’s role in our culture
5 things you never knew about “Joan Molinsky” — she got her big break thanks to Bill Cosby
Britain helped rejuventate her career because she reinforced British stereotypes of typical American behavior
--Rivers was bigger, smarter and culturally far more important than her latter E! work
“I hate people who die of natural causes; they just don’t understand the moment,” Rivers once said. “It’s the grand finale, act three, the eleven o’clock number—make it count!”

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'Grey’s Anatomy' offers its 1st glimpse of Season 11
Credit: ABC

'Grey’s Anatomy' offers its 1st glimpse of Season 11

“Grey’s Anatomy” offers its 1st glimpse of Season 11
Watch the new promo, “Hold On To Your Hearts.”


Study: Only 18% of people with Internet watch TV while using Twitter
The study by Strategy Analytics also found that traditional viewers, or “couch potatoes,” are still the biggest TV watchers, at 33%.


Here’s the 1st image from “The Simpsons”-“Futurama” crossover episode
“That was a really tough one to negotiate, because I had to talk to myself,” says Matt Groening.


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Julia Roberts joins Billy Ray's remake of Oscar winner 'The Secret in Their Eyes'
Credit: AP Photo

Julia Roberts joins Billy Ray's remake of Oscar winner 'The Secret in Their Eyes'

Filming begins in October

You might recall an Argentinian film from a few years back called "The Secret in Their Eyes." It was a significant player in the awards season in that it bested both "The White Ribbon" and "A Prophet" in the Best Foreign Film Category, and ever since, Hollywood has been keen on an English remake. Now, the project has landed a high profile female lead with an eye toward sales in Toronto: Julia Roberts.

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A 'Supergirl' TV series is in the works from 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' co-creator

A “Supergirl” TV series is in the works from “Arrow” and “The Flash” co-creator
Greg Berlanti, who was also behind ABC's superhero series “No Ordinary Family,” is developing another DC superhero for a TV series, Supergirl.

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The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!
Credit: AP Photo

The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!

Once more with feeling...

I'll try to be brief. With the triple threat of Venice, Telluride and Toronto, we've entered that foggy realm known to the industry as "awards season." And with it we're getting, like clockwork, self-satisfied dismissals of this time of year, pieces that surmise that the Oscar frame is "ruining movies," and that coverage of the prestige months (i.e., places like In Contention) are a root of the problem. I suppose it's time for a reminder that such a position is nonsense.

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What kind of star will Jack O'Connell become?

What kind of star will Jack O'Connell become?

The 'Unbroken' star has already dazzled in 'Starred Up' and ''71'

In the space of a week I've finally caught up to David Mackenzie's "Starred Up," which premiered at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and made its way to theaters and VOD via Tribeca Film last weekend, and Yann Demange's "'71," which premiered at the Berlinale in February and finally resurfaced again in Telluride last week. The common denominator is actor Jack O'Connell, and with his major break-out project "Unbroken" set for release this December, the question becomes clear: what trajectory will this promising new career take?

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Louis CK on Joan Rivers: 'It really f*cking sucks that she had to die all of a sudden'

Louis CK on Joan Rivers: "It really f*cking sucks that she had to die all of a sudden”
“I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she's gone,” Louis CK said in a statement. "She was a great comedian and a wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt.” PLUS: Watch Louis CK try to have sex with Joan on "Louie" Season 2, and Lena Dunham tweeted a Joan plastic surgery joke.

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'The Simpsons” marathon propelled FXX to No. 1 in the 18-49 demo on cable, topping ESPN

'The Simpsons” marathon propelled FXX to No. 1 in the 18-49 demo on cable, topping ESPN

“The Simpsons” marathon propelled FXX to No. 1 in the 18-49 demo on cable, topping ESPN
From Aug. 21 to Sept. 1, FXX averaged 1.3 million viewers with an estimated 25 million sampling some of the marathon. Among total viewers, FXX ranked No. 9 during the marathon.

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'Riddick' alum to play 'Arrow’s' Ra's al Ghul

“Riddick” alum to play “Arrow’s” Ra's al Ghul
Matt Nable will play the leader of the League of Assassins and the father of Nyssa al Ghul.


Mariska Hargitay to get the “Actor’s Studio” treatment
The “SVU” Star will appear on James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio” on Sept. 22.


HBO to show the Mick Jagger-produced James Brown documentary
“Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” will air on Oct. 27.


Matthew McConaughey pokes fun at his “True Detective” character in a car ad
Watch him channel Rust Cohle in a Lincoln MKC.

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