An Sudden Sweetness: Snowpiercer’s Sam Otto on Osweiller’s Humanity and Hidden Depths


TNT’s Snowpiercer, a juggernaut hit of post-apocalyptic proportions, has at all times carried extra tales than it has been capable of delve into.

Living proof, Snowpiercer Season 2 launched new characters whereas a number of predominant gamers from Snowpiercer Season 1 appeared to vanish.

We additionally noticed many acquainted characters tackle new roles, make laborious choices, and face dramatic penalties.

As John Osweiller, Sam Otto discovered himself with one of the important circumstance adjustments of the entire ensemble.

Osweiller - Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8

When launched on Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1, “Oz” was a bitter, indignant, and merciless brakeman, guarding the Tail and exploiting the Tailies in horrible methods.

By the top of Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9, he is assumed the place of Head of Janitorial, fallen right into a romantic relationship with LJ Folger, and shocked the lot of us by performing a superb musical quantity within the Evening Automotive.

Nevertheless it seems that this wasn’t the primary character reversal Osweiller had been by way of.

Chatting with TV Fanatic by telephone, Otto revealed that Osweiller wasn’t initially written because the hardened yob that we met within the premiere.

Snowpiercer had an infamously rocky begin with a whole pilot episode shot earlier than the present manufacturing crew got here collectively and created the present we all know and love now. Osweiller was very totally different in that early pilot.

“It was a extremely large change. It was humorous as a result of the preliminary character was sketched as a younger, form of inexperienced, harmless man. He was making an attempt to be brave for a bit, so inexperienced, and wasn’t actually capable of apply his dream of being one thing to what he really did.

“He was a bit like a bumbling fool. He wanted to be taught and develop and turn into extra expert in what he is making an attempt to do. Initially, he was fully totally different. He was very nice, actually candy.

“After which, after they got here spherical with the adjustments, it was like, ‘Okay, we’re actually gonna shake this up.’ He is now actually short-fused. He is form of small-minded and nasty, and there is a entire host of causes for that.

“The arc, initially, was to take him down from a degree of excessive floor, after which the change was to convey him up, or at the least to begin him down under, and see the place he was going to finish up after that. It was radically totally different.”

Brakeman Osweiller - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2

Watching Osweiller and LJ join on the finish of Season 1 rang a couple of alarm bells for viewers as we had solely seen the extra problematic sides of their personalities at that time.

Watching them crew up in Season 2 as companions in survival who develop right into a relationship of mutual worth and affection was a masterclass in character progress.

Otto is circumspect about how the 2 got here to belief and take care of one another in such a — dare we are saying it? — harmless method.

“It is candy. It is sudden. I believe what’s fascinating about it’s that, as a result of each of those characters are most likely two of the youthful ones we observe a bit extra on this present and, given the seven years they have been on this prepare, they’d’ve bought on.

“Particularly for LJ, she was actually a baby. She would’ve been 10 or 11 years or one thing. Whereas with Osweiller, when the Freeze occurred, he most likely would’ve been 16 or 17 after which getting on the prepare at possibly 18 or 19.

“In order that they’ve by no means actually had an opportunity to develop up, like frequent adults with hopes and goals. As a substitute, they have been thrust into this entire new world.

“For 7 years, we have been locked on this very particular [space]. You recognize you’ll be able to’t escape of your class. There is no social mobility. And so there is no selection. You’ve got simply to proceed doing what you are doing.

“I believe, for Oz, as a result of he is come from this sporting background, he is most likely by no means earned anybody’s respect. And he is come to a spot the place I do not suppose anybody actually likes him very a lot. Nobody actually respects him.

John Osweiller - Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1

“He is by no means been given any actual form of accountability. And so, I believe there’s this type of maybe misplaced bitterness on the earth round him. If nobody likes me, then I do not suppose I’ll like anybody else both.

“And that’s form of what drives his conduct, these small moments of glorification to attempt to discover some sense of significance, or energy, and that appears just like the drug stuff or the sexual favors, and the kicking Layton when he is down in cuffs.

“However then they introduce this concept that [LJ] has a form of related [situation], that she’s by no means had a selection, and now she’s been thrust into this new world the place she’s really bought to attempt to fend for herself.

Come on, love, you are alright. I am a nasty egg, too.


“They form of discover their kindred spirit, I believe, and that generates a way of camaraderie, and that strikes on to possibly a friendship, after which one thing extra. Which suggests there’s now somebody to take care of and somebody to take care of me, and that adjustments everybody’s perspective lots.”

On Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8, we see LJ and Ounceskiss for the primary time after admitting that they take care of one another as solely insecure younger folks can, protecting for sincerity with frightened bravado. 

“I believe that is part of it, is not it? It is like displaying vulnerability. When you’re somebody like this, and also you present the smallest quantity of vulnerability, it makes you weak. It [leaves] you uncovered, and if that is not catered to right away, you are gonna should put up the limitations immediately.

“And that is what he is clearly completed. It is what he is used to doing. He by no means exhibits vulnerability. The second he does, it is virtually like he is shot down for a second, so he goes, ‘Oh no, I did not imply that in any respect,’ after which she brings him out of it once more.

“So, yeah, that is an publicity of one thing candy and harmless which is inside them each that hasn’t actually been uncovered earlier than.”

Very similar to LJ being thrust into the post-revolution prepare, Otto discovered himself immersed on the earth of Snowpiercer shortly after finishing drama faculty in 2016.

“I did actually one play. I got here out of drama faculty and did one play, after which I began working in TV and movie. Snowpiercer was actually one of many first jobs I’ve completed, to be sincere. I have been concerned with this because the starting, [since] 2017.

“I got here out of my drama faculty in 2016. Then I did a play. Then I did this miniseries, did a few small issues. After which I bought forged in Snowpiercer, and due to the character of the epically lengthy course of concerned with actually getting season 1 out, with all of the choices, and the supply checks and stuff, it is meant that this has been my life, principally, for the final three years, 4 years.

“I am unable to say I used to be actually within the theater. My coaching was theatrical, theater skilled. I might like to do extra theater, however clearly, proper now, it is not gonna occur any time quickly.

Sam Otto Headshot - Snowpiercer

As first roles go, Snowpiercer has confirmed to be an incredible expertise for Otto.

“It is unbelievable. I have been extremely lucky to have been part of it. And what a journey it has been! To look again now, virtually 4 years later, it is superb to see the way it’s developed and adjusted, grown, turn into this factor now. It is superior.”

Drama faculty was a three-year program for Otto, but it surely was the gatekeeper for the life he noticed for himself.

“Drama faculty was the one possibility I had, actually. It was the factor I wanted to do to not solely really prepare but additionally to provide me the form of publicity and skill to satisfy brokers and casting administrators and the whole lot on the finish of the method, which might open these doorways. [It would] allow entry to the trade as a complete, which I might simply have by no means had earlier than.”

Sam Otto - The State - Snowpiercer

As a baby, Otto did not think about himself on stage and display. Actually, he dreamed the dream of many UK children of being a footballer (hopefully taking part in for Tottenham Hotspur). Element-oriented followers of Snowpiercer will keep in mind that Osweiller performed soccer in his pre-Freeze life.

“That was most likely the dream for me after I was actually younger. I do not know what else. I used to like automobiles and stuff after I was younger. I flirted with so many issues. I did observe athletics for fairly some time after I was about 15 to 20. 

“I performed music, ‘trigger I do music, and I sing and stuff as nicely. That was one thing that was at all times a risk.

“The factor is, with appearing, you’ve got entry to all of this stuff. That is what’s so nice about it for any individual who has a number of pursuits like myself. I really like studying and writing. I really like train. I really like music. I really like tracing and drawing and stuff, so it is like I am not leaving something out by doing this job.

“I am getting the chance to do some music stuff inside this position. There’s a chance to play components which have extra bodily features to them or inventive features to them.

“That was at the back of my thoughts for many of my rising up life, pondering possibly I might do [acting]. I got here from a spot the place it was nowhere close to me; there was no entry to it in any respect.

“We had an beginner dramatics membership within the small city I grew up in, but it surely actually wasn’t main wherever. It by no means actually felt like a sensible risk till I simply thought, ‘You recognize what? One would possibly give it a go, see what occurs.'”

Not solely has Osweiller demonstrated some admirable work ethic and ambition in Season 2, however there was a collective jaw drop when he sat down on the piano and carried out Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s “Winter Track” for Mr. Wilford’s personal feast on the finale.

“It wasn’t deliberate initially in any respect. It was very a lot he’d heard I had this factor, you understand, performed piano and sing and stuff. It was this actually fascinating factor they might convey into the character by some means. Actually form of pull the rug out from beneath the viewers’s ft when it comes to what they count on from this man.

“And that is what’s nice about it. It is form of sudden; it comes fully out of left area. Firstly of Season 2, Graeme spoke to me about this risk, and I used to be like, ‘Oh man, oh wow, that is gonna be an actual change, but it surely was gonna be so sudden, and it is actually thrilling.”

“It is virtually like that is one thing that he would not actually need to present. He is completed it for a very long time. For the best way that he is been, that is one thing that makes him look… I do not know. It is a delicate facet.

“It is a vulnerability that exposes one thing, a core that maybe he is been hiding for a very long time as a result of it makes him not weak however weak. Uncovered.

“There was a way as I am strolling up right here that it is not efficiency. It is not like I am about to point out off. It is, ‘Alright, you are actually gonna do that. You are actually gonna present this. Okay, let’s do it.’

Dressed to the Nines - Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9

“As a result of Wilford is that this actually odd man who clearly will get off on unusual performative issues, so maybe there is a small sense of logic in [Oz’s] thoughts that goes, ‘That is like the one factor I can probably do. It’d work to persuade him that I am value one thing.’

“You recognize it is a bizarre survival tactic, however possibly it comes off.”

Snowpiercer already boasts one of many extra musically gifted casts on the market with not one however two Tony Award winners in Lena Corridor and Daveed Diggs. How did Otto really feel performing in that firm?

“Properly, they already know I do, that I sing and play piano. It is superb to know the way skilled and gifted these guys are and to have that in parallel with them.”

His Surprise Talent - Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9

Osweiller’s place as Head of Janitorial Service comes when the earlier Head, Terence, is taken out by Pike on Layton’s orders on Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 5. There was surprisingly little remark made in regards to the homicide in its wake, one thing Otto’s famous as curious.

“It is fascinating, although, is not it? ‘Trigger, we do not actually go into it, however we’re actually residing the aftermath of that. That entire factor is an enormous second in the middle of the story.

“Layton makes this large resolution which actually goes towards his character and his ethical base and stuff, to ki– take away any individual. And he asks any individual else to do it as nicely, which is admittedly darkish.

“And clearly, LJ and Ounceswere very complicit in that. There’s that second the place he walks by, and so they give him a nod. Nobody’s there to guard Terrence. Terrence requires Osweiller, however he is not there as a result of he is very a lot facilitated his dying.

Janitor Oz - Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8

“It is form of part of the gray morality that life is like on Snowpiercer, I believe. We form of have to grasp that this stuff have turn into virtually much less taboo. Most actually homicide, however for these guys, it is virtually like this has occurred earlier than, and it will occur once more.

“On this second, I believe, for each LJ and Oz, they’re simply eradicating their conscience from it, saying that is going to provide us extra energy and extra affect, and subsequently it is a good factor. Particularly given the historical past with Terrence.”

It is a zero-sum world now. Set a factor in movement, watch it tumble down the road. All that is coming is coming head-on. The entire nice shit present flattened down right into a single line. To climb, another person falls. To achieve, another person loses.


With Osweiller fairly actually singing for his supper after which not showing within the closing hour of the finale, the place does Otto see his character standing when Season Three hits the rails?

“So he stays on Snowpiercer, so he is there. I believe there is a resolution to be made that comes afterward, as a result of clearly at this level, it is simply the established order.

An Eclectic Bunch - Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9

“With the pirate prepare gone, that is now Wilford’s prepare once more. It is Wilford’s world. There is not a option to be made at this level. There is not one other facet to go on to.

“So [the only option is] the identical factor that Osweiller’s at all times completed. He will get on with what’s in entrance of him. So maybe that selection will come later, down the road. We’ll should see what occurs in Season 3.”

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the very finish of Season 2 filming. Season Three filming has begun underneath the brand new regular of pandemic protocols which make life on set a complete new recreation.

“Properly, it is simply very totally different. I imply, it is a large privilege even to be right here and dealing. You recognize, again within the UK the place I flew right here from, it is very a lot nonetheless locked down. We weren’t even capable of go away our homes.

Sam Otto - Relationships - Snowpiercer

“Individuals residing in flats within the cities could not even go away their flats. And so I am totally privileged to even come to Canada the place issues aren’t as restricted in any respect. I can really stroll out on the road and go to retailers and stuff.”

“[Regarding] the testing and stuff, I recognize that we have now even the possibility even to be doing this. They’re testing like 3 times per week, and I am very grateful to the nurses and to everybody concerned with ensuring we’re stored protected and stuff.

“There are such a lot of measures in place. It is simply a part of the brand new world, is not it? Who is aware of how lengthy it would final, however there’s a lot in place to maintain us all protected and ensure we’re not gonna be endangering anyone else.

“So it is half and parcel of the COVID world, which is the brand new factor. However I am form of used to it by now.”

Together with his wide selection of pursuits, Otto has discovered methods to fill his downtime. As per COVID-19 protocols, vacationers from outdoors Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

“I do have a number of various things I do. Like I say, clearly taking part in the piano and making an attempt to make music and stuff. Studying and taking part in new items and issues is one thing I are likely to do a number of.

“But in addition I really like getting out and about, like operating, biking, snowboarding, mountain climbing, and stuff. [Vancouver] is one of the best place on the earth for all these issues, so I really love being right here for that cause. I bought a motorcycle after I bought out of quarantine final yr, and I have been biking about and stuff.

“In any other case, one of many issues I did throughout my two-week quarantine — as a result of I knew I used to be going to be caught indoors for 2 weeks — was I discovered these little miniatures that I painted after I was younger.

“So I introduced a few of them with me which hadn’t been completed. It was like a little bit venture for my two-week quarantine. I introduced some paints, and I painted these little… they’re really Lord of the Rings miniatures. I painted my little Frodo Baggins and stuff, which is sort of enjoyable.

Sam Otto Photo Booth - Snowpiercer

“I like studying as nicely, so I’ve bought some books on the go and that form of factor.

“In the mean time, I am studying The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I would by no means gotten round to studying it earlier than, and I would heard of it as being an epic story of following your coronary heart and following your goals and stuff. That is one factor I am in the meanwhile.

“And my landlord has been form sufficient to provide me The Crafty Man by Robertson Davies, who is seemingly a Canadian. I have never learn it earlier than, in order that’s gonna be cool.

“I identical to having a guide on the go. I undoubtedly do not learn sufficient. I have to learn extra, but it surely’s good having a guide on the go. It is form of an antidote, is not it, to the form of fixed scrolling tradition we’re so into.

Sam Otto - Leonardo on Relationships - Snowpiercer

“The texture of the web page and the odor of it and stuff. It form of slows the whole lot down a bit and makes you sit there.

“Oh, and [Netflix’s] Home of Playing cards as nicely, I have been doing that as nicely. I at all times get right into a collection as nicely after I’m on one in every of this stuff, so I am watching Home of Playing cards ‘trigger I’ve by no means really watched it.”

With Snowpiercer being the key position of his profession to this point, Otto sees a number of potentialities for future tasks in his future. What is the dream in the meanwhile?

“Oooh, that is a really troublesome query. I believe it could be superb to play a musician of some kind. I do not know what sort of context that may be, however principally, I really like the concept of both exploring one thing I’ve as one in every of my abilities outdoors of appearing, whether or not that be music or one thing else, but additionally studying a brand new talent.

“I have been watching ‘Sound of Steel,’ Riz Ahmed’s Oscar-nominated efficiency. That is an actual inspiration to have an element the place you get to be taught a brand new talent inside a form of related context to one thing that you have already got. That may be an absolute dream.

“I have never bought a particular concept of what that’s as a result of I really like the concept of taking part in an element that hasn’t been written but as a result of then you’ll be able to form of take possession of it.”

And that is actually the dream for Otto.

“[I want] to attach with, to collaborate with a author or director to create one thing model new and thrilling.

“So I have never actually bought a form of particular factor, however I really like the concept of a biopic or one thing, or simply to be taught a brand new talent and to have the ability to carry out one thing that is actually distinctive. That’d be superb.”

Whereas we are able to ensure that Snowpiercer Season Three will maintain many new developments for Osweiller and the remainder of the 2 trains, it will likely be many months earlier than we pull into that station.

Within the meantime, in keeping with Benjamin Johns Movies, Otto has a scorching sizzling TV film, Relationships, which has been accomplished and is being checked out by the key streaming providers, AND you’ll be able to at all times watch Snowpiercer online.

Diana Keng is a employees author for TV Fanatic. Comply with her on Twitter.

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