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Severance's Tramell Tillman Reveals What It's Really Like Working With Christopher Walken - Exclusive

The critically acclaimed series "Severance" features an all-star cast that includes Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken. Shining among those big names is relative newcomer Tramell Tillman, whose portrayal of Mr. Milchick has made him the breakout star of the now-streaming Apple TV+ series.

"Severance" follows an employee at Lumon Industries named Mark (Scott) who agrees to a "severance" program in which his work memories are permanently separated from his non-work memories. Arquette portrays Harmony Cobel, Mark's steely boss, while Turturro and Walken play employees who share a secret attraction. The series, a science fiction-based psychological thriller, is directed by Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle.

As Milchick, Tillman brings to life the enigmatic supervisor of the severed floor, doling out both punishment and perks. It's a job that allows the actor to work up close and personal with everyone who stars on the show — including Walken, who's considered by many to be a living legend in Hollywood.

Being on the set of "Severance" with Walken was an exciting opportunity for Tillman, albeit one that came with an unexpected caveat. It's a story Tillman shared with Looper during an exclusive interview, in which he opened up about the surprising warning he received before his scenes with Walken and what it was actually like to be in the veteran actor's presence.

Christopher Walken doesn't like unsolicited conversations on set

Walken has well over 100 credits to his name, spanning all the way back to the 1950s. He won Best Supporting Actor for 1978's "The Deer Hunter," and has had memorable roles in "True Romance," "Catch Me If You Can," and "Wedding Crashers," among others. He's proven his versatility — and sense of humor — with the "More Cowbell" skit from a guest hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live" and by showing off his dance skills in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" music video.

Based on his onscreen persona, you might assume Walken is quite the character to work with on set. However, according to Tillman, he was actually "very quiet" while filming "Severance." In fact, he's very picky who he chooses for a conversation.

"I was told as a little piece of advice: You don't talk to Christopher Walken; he talks to you," says Tillman of his experience with the legendary actor. "So, I knew that was the game. I understood. There were no issues with that."

Despite that dictum, Tillman has nothing but positive things to say about his interactions with Walken.

"When I came on set to do Episode 7, I have a lot of interaction with Christopher, and he was very generous, very present when we did our scenes, a consummate professional," he says, adding, "I wanted to speak with him, but I didn't want to cross a line. I wanted to respect the boundary that may have been there."

Eventually, Tillman threw caution to the wind and approached the "Deer Hunter" actor at the end of a scene. "When we finished the day, and he was leaving, I had enough courage to go up to him," says Tillman. "I thanked him for his work and that I really appreciated him being there, and he turned to me and said, 'You are just absolutely terrific. Thank you so much.' And it was such a wonderful gift, and I beamed for the whole day that this titan not only shared space with me but appreciated who I was as an actor. It was a joy."

"Severance" is now streaming on Apple TV+. The Season 1 finale airs Friday, April 8.