It wasn’t until college that Sam Daly decided to give acting a go. That wouldn’t sound odd if he came from a family other than a dynasty of actors.
His parents are ‘The Sopranos’ Tim Daly and Broadway actress Amy Van Nostrand, his aunt is Tyne Daly, known for her role in ‘Judging Amy’. Despite such legacy, Sam was more into sports and was convinced he would break the line, but things went differently.
Growing up in such a family imprinted an inevitable mark on Daly since his early years.
“My first memory [related to acting] would be going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ on stage,” he recalls. “Also, watching ‘A Christmas Story’ at home on repeat over the holidays. Maybe I unconsciously associate acting with Christmas, hence my deep love for it.”
The actor is most known for his portrayal of Win Barrington in CBS political drama ‘Madam Secretary’, starring Tea Leoni as the newly appointed Secretary of State and his father Tim as her husband.
Sam’s role in Madam Secretary came after a few appearances in popular TV shows, such as ‘The Office’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
“It was towards the beginning of season 1 [of ‘Madam Secretary’] when I first booked the role, but I was already a fan and I had a feeling it would be a hit,” says Daly. “Playing Win Barrington has been an absolute pleasure. He is a waspy marijuana lobbyist and the ex-fiancé of Daisy, played by Patina Miller.”
Although being on set with his father Tim, the two haven’t had any scenes together on the show yet. However, they have been in front of the camera together for their co-hosted YouTube series ‘The Daly Show’. Father and son have a great relationship and their channel, where they record funny vlogs, is proof.
On a gorier note, Sam will star in ‘Office Uprising’, a zombie horror comedy opposite Brenton Thwaites (‘Titans’), Jane Levy (‘Don’t Breathe’), and Zachary Levi (‘Chuck’, ‘Thor’).
The movie, directed by Lin Oeding, already behind the camera in ‘Straight Outta Compton’, is the story of an underachiever working at a weapons manufacturing company. He realises his colleagues have been weaponized by a new energy drink and must then rescue his love interest from an office building full of psychotic coworkers.
“I play Marcus Gantt, the nephew of the head of Ammotech, a weapons manufacturing company, who often abuses his powers as a relative of the boss,” says Daly. “After reading the script, I knew I wanted to be a part of such a fun genre mashup. It is a true action/comedy/zombie movie and all three genres are equally celebrated.”
Replying to those claiming it’s high time to move past the damsel-in-distress narrative, Daly won’t fall for any generalization.
“This movie is anything but that, especially considering the woman he is rescuing happens to be infected, so distressed would be an understatement. Samantha, played by Jane Levy, is a strong, ‘type A’ woman,” says Daly. “I would say it’s closer to a buddy comedy, where the three best buddies have to escape the building in order to save their lives. And the beholding is filled with killer zombie co-workers.”
Juggling between cinema and television, Daly believes both are challenging in their own ways.
“I love both mediums but at the end of the day, you get a lot more time to dive in and develop a character over several seasons on a TV show. Whereas on a film, you are completely immersed for 20-60 days of shooting and then it’s over and on to the next job. Wavering between TV and film has been great for me as it’s forced me to continue to be ready for whatever role comes my way and to dive in full steam ahead.”
Speaking of famous directors he’d like to work with one day, he has no doubt.
“Miloš Forman. I think he is a genius and has directed some of the greatest films of all time. Also, because I studied abroad in Prague in college at the same film school he attended.”
As a fan of the Czech director of ‘Man on the Moon’, Daly is interested in “stepping behind the camera in the near future”.
“I love working with actors, talking with them, diving deep into stories and narratives, and filmmaking,” he says.