“I wanted to create Milchick as a duck on water, if you will: very calm, but there’s always something going on underneath.” – Tramell Tillman
In the Apple TV+ series Severance, an employee, Mark S. (Adam Scott) is undergoing a “severance” program from the mysterious Lumon Industries that removes work-related memoirs from an employee before his or her departure. Actor Tramell Tillman plays Seth Milchick, the supervisor on the floor handling severance cases, portraying Milchick as the ultimate company man. He spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the role, which is by far the most notable one in his career.
Tillman shares that he had a memorable meeting with series creator Dan Erickson and co-director Ben Stiller before landing the role. He explains, “The role of Milchick was very simple: an enthusiastic company man. I was able to meet with [director] Ben Stiller and [creator] Dan Erickson and had such a great time. I actually made Ben Stiller laugh, which is a big achievement for me. I said, ‘You know what, I made Ben Stiller laugh, so that’s a win!’”
To play Milchick, Tillman began with the way the character would carry his body. He says:
“Physicality was really important for me. This was a guy who was extremely measured and controlled, so I did a lot of breathing exercises. I spent many hours meditating. I would get up two hours before I was picked up to go to set, and I would meditate and do small physical exercises to really find the center of magic. I wanted to create Milchick as a duck on water, if you will: very calm, but there’s always something going on underneath. I always had this image of an iceberg when I stepped into his shoes. Icebergs are very beautiful, and you always think that you have an idea of what it is, but there’s so much more underneath, and I felt that that was a great analogy for Milchick.”