Fans of The Walking Dead comic book series were excited to learn that Chad L. Coleman would be joining the cast of the TV series as Tyreese, and we got our first first look at him in episode 3.08. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take part in the first press call with Chad L. Coleman since his debut on the show, and he talked to us about being cast as Tyreese, interacting with zombies on the set, and his work on The Wire:
Can you tell us about the casting process? What did you have to do to land this role?
Chad L. Coleman: Unbeknownst to me, my agents had been speaking to Robert Kirkman for a little while about the possibility of me playing this role. Robert Kirkman was a huge fan of The Wire and the character I played. Whenever you have the creator pulling your card and saying they want you to be a part of it, you're in a pretty good position.
Then it was a matter of talking to Glen Mazzara. I watched all of the prior episodes and I had great discussions with him. He has an open door policy, so whatever questions I may have, he's always there at a moment's notice to answer.
Before joining the cast of The Walking Dead, had you read the comic book series? If not, was it something you did after being cast to prepare for the role?
Chad L. Coleman: When I came on board, I was told if we needed to reference it, we will. This is in no way to diminish it, but the experience that I'm having with the show was just to ride with the cast and crew. We may need to reference the graphic novel to get some insight or perspective, but we just ride it out script to script.
I would say the humanity of the man is very much akin to what was done in the graphic novel. His desire to protect, his desire to abstain from egregious violence, his humanity, and his strong sense of family are things that resonated with me.
Were you aware that Tyreese was a fan favorite character of the comic book series and many people were looking forward to seeing him show up?
Chad L. Coleman: Yes, I saw it as soon as I looked him up online. I've created an original role before, but to have something that was already present in another form and to be able to honor it was huge for me. My desire is to make the audience proud of what's happening in the television world of The Walking Dead.
For your first scene, you're thrown right into a group of zombies. Was it fun for you to jump right into the world of The Walking Dead and start killing zombies?
Chad L. Coleman: It was a complete and absolute adrenalin rush. There's no doubt about it- the man has a hammer and he knows how to use it. It's like electricity running through my body like crazy. There's also the technical aspect of it that was equally as compelling for me. Because zombies are so real, there's no acting required.
It's just so real and eerie, but the most eerie part of it is to see them just doing regular things. It's pretty hilarious to see them in-between takes or going on a lunch break. To watch a guy getting salad dressing all zombied out is pretty hilarious.
With you being one of the newest cast members, what was your experience joining a cast of many people who have been around for the last few years on set?
Chad L. Coleman: This is an amazing, extraordinary cast of human beings. Andrew Lincoln has to be the nicest, egoless lead actor that I've ever met in my life and I'm not exaggerating at all. His energy and temperament falls over everyone and it's just one big happy family. This is special and something like this doesn't happen often.
Can you comment on the scene between Carl and Tyreese after they get locked in? I thought the exchange was very interesting, especially with Tyreese treating Carl like an adult.
Chad L. Coleman: I loved that and it speaks to his ability to read a situation. He can read it clearly and communicate in an effective manner to get the objective taken care of. He could see something in this young man and in the way he handles himself with that weapon. Tyreese was going to handle it as diplomatically as possible, and in no way, shape, or form was going to take for granted who the young man was.
What would you say the difference is between your previous work on The Wire and your work so far on The Walking Dead?
Chad L. Coleman: The difference right away is the whole horror and zombie aspect of it. Then there's the technical side of it, with what's done in post and the digital effects. It's also far more physical even though I was training in the gym, and I found myself more winded than I was on The Wire. I'm not saying that I'm out of shape, but there's a lot more physical activity. The similarities are in the intelligence, as well as the creativity and passion of the actors and the creators of the show.
Next up, we'll have exclusive interviews with Vincent Ward and Lew Temple. Catch up on our recent features by visiting the following links: