Sam Littlefield is a dedicated actor, writer, producer and filmmaker who constantly challenges himself by the roles he takes on in Hollywood. Appearing in several hit series including HBO’s The Leftovers and Sharp Objects, CBS’ NCIS, and Amazon’s The After, Sam continues to carefully balance mainstream television projects while cultivating his own, unique space inside the industry.
He recently co-wrote, produced, and starred in Mother’s Little Helpers, an independent film that premiered at SXSW 2019, and has several projects in development such as a quasi-musical called Moyamoya. Currently, Sam stars alongside Ruby Rose in the CW series Batwoman as Mouse, a tortured and complex character from the seedy underworld of Gotham. OUT FRONT had the opportunity to chat more with Sam about portraying Mouse, his commitment to new works, and passion for bringing dynamic characters from script to screen.
Hi, Sam! Thank you so much for chatting with me. How are you holding up during these days of isolation and quarantine?
It’s been a mix of everything I think, for everyone. It has been scary and beautiful at times. There’s something kind of nice about living in your home and working in your home.
As long as you are staying safe and healthy. Now, you currently star as Jonathan Cartwright/Mouse, one of the antagonists, in the CW series Batwoman. Can you tell us more about the character?
He is a very dynamic person. He comes from the Wonderland crew, which is run by Alice, who is the main antagonist of the series. Alice and Mouse were raised underground in a basement by their father and they sort of developed this sadistic philosophy towards the world and trying to gain revenge over everyone who hurt them. Honestly, it has been an interesting project to study. The background of this character is so rich that it’s been a total pleasure getting to know him through this whole series. It started out, it was only going to be about two episodes, and then it ended up growing and growing. When I look at the arc of the whole first season of my character, I am really pleased. He’s just very interesting to me.
This is Batwoman’s first season. How has the show been received by audiences?
I think people are really into it. From what I hear, it is the number-two show on the network if you take into account live streaming platforms. So, I think it’s been going well. I think it’s a very hard slot to fill, and that it’s the first lesbian superhero that has ever been on primetime television. You know, Ruby is filming this complicated plot that’s never been filmed before.
What direction would you like to see Mouse’s storyline head towards?
A lot still hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t really know how to answer that question, but I can say is that he is about to take a very different turn than I think anyone would ever expect. There is a lot more revealed about who he is and what he believes in. I think it is going to be quite lovely.
Have you always been a fan of the Batman universe?
I really loved Batman Returns with Michelle Pfeiffer. I thought she was just enchanting as Catwoman. I actually drew a lot of inspiration from her. The way that she moved, she had such specificity and freedom, and it was kind of cartoonish, and I sort of tried to adopt that as much as I could in my character and the way that he moved throughout the world.
Do you have any other Batman villains?
I mean, the Joker! Don’t you agree? He’s pretty amazing.
He is, but I absolutely love the Riddler.
Oh, yes! OK. I really miss Michael Keaton as Batman. I thought he had that sweet spot of humor and earnestness.
I agree. Now, you say you constantly challenge yourself by the roles you take on in Hollywood. How so?
I am really trying to challenge myself. I write; I produce; I direct. This movie that came out on May 5 called Mother’s Little Helpers, I helped co-write and co-produce it, and it is a film I am really proud of. But, I mean, even as far as the acting realm, I just try and ask as many questions as I possibly can. I try to almost not know as much as I can before going in. My scene partners will laugh at me all the time because I will be asking them, kind of, for choices at times. Like, what should I do here? For me, it’s such a collaboration and finding the truth of a scene or the truth of a character. I think it sometimes takes a village, and I just try to be as bold as I possibly can.
And what have you learned by playing Mouse?
Something that I think is so interesting about Mouse is from the onset, he is so easy to judge. As the layers get peeled away, you start to see the real truth and beauty that is underneath. What causes him to make the choices that he makes? We are all the walking wounded, as my father always used to say. I think that really relates to Mouse in spades. I guess to me, Mouse is a reminder of that.
You mentioned Mother’s Little Helpers. Can you tell us more about the film?
It premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) last year, and it came out May 5. It’s the strangest timing. It’s about four siblings who are stuck at home in isolation with their mother who is dying. With my sister and my brother-in-law, we watched the film while we were in quarantine, and it is so much more relevant than any of us had ever planned it to be. So, they are all stuck in isolation, and they are all losing their minds. My hope is that it is a film that might offer some catharsis to people that are really struggling right now. For what the subject matter is, it’s a very funny, lighthearted film. I hope that we can successfully offer some sense of comfort during this time.
Where can one watch Mother’s Little Helpers?
It started out on iTunes, and then it is going to make its way to all of the different platforms. It’s a slow rollout.
Have you always had a passion for acting and filmmaking?
Yes, I have. When I was 9, I wrote and directed this play called How Magic Came to Be, and then my teacher referred me to this local production of Nine, the musical. And I was 9 at the time, so that was when I sort of started my professional acting career. My grandma, who had this really debilitating stammer, she was this incredible opera singer, and she introduced me to all sorts of musicals, music, and poetry. I come from a very art-appreciating family.
What more would you like to accomplish with your platform as an actor and filmmaker?
I just want to keep trying to strive to tell the truth with the characters that I play, and I hope to continue telling stories that I think are worth telling. I just hope to make art with other really amazing artists and be inspired by them and hopefully inspire some people along the way.
What has been some of the biggest challenges you have encountered while working in this business?
I think that people are very quick to put you in a box. They will see you do one performance of something, and they’ll be like, oh, well, he’s good at that. That’s his thing. I have tried to typecast myself, but I can’t. I’m not really a type. So, getting people to open up their perception of me to be able to do things they might not think I was capable of otherwise. Also, the industry has gone through so many different permutations since I’ve been around. Going into the digital platform, it’s kind of opened up. There’s been this lovely rollout of new stories, new archetypes, and new characters that weren’t really around when I first started out in the business. It was all very cookie-cutter. It’s evolving.
You are also currently working on a quasi-musical called Moyamoya. What’s that about?
It’s about a man who is a stroke victim. Kind of looping back to my grandma, it’s sort of an ode to my grandma. He is a stroke victim with a debilitating stammer who has lost his memory, and it’s his relationship with this stripper who lies to him about who he is. As it turns out, they have a connection that neither of them were aware of.
Do you have any other upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
I made a film on my iPhone with my nephews that I am very excited about. A magician and his relationship with a mime [laughs]. I got several projects that are in the works, but everything has kind of gone on hold since this movie came out, and our whole team is really just full steam ahead with press right now. Once that is over, I will have several other projects to delve into, one being this series about a retreat center that specializes in personality transplants.
To stay in the know, visit samlittlefield.com and follow on Instagram @thesamlittlefield.
Photos by Nic Padron