The devil went down to Georgia looking for a soul to steal, but I had a bit more of a realistic goal in mind for what I was looking for when I rolled into town. Considering that ‘The Walking Dead’, one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television right now, shoots in the Peach State, I was determined to get an interview with a cast member from the show while I ventured down to my first Dragon Con. Well, it looks like the odds were in my favor because a few days before I was set to leave for Atlanta, I got a call from Chad Coleman, who’s better known as Tyreese to fans of the AMC zombie drama.
During this year’s con, Coleman will be appearing alongside past and present cast members such as Laurie Holden, Emily Kinney, Michael Rooker, IronE Singleton, Scott Wilson, and Steven Yuen, but before he prepares to meet the fans of Dragon Con, he took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his fans, how he came to be Tyreese, how he’d like his character to die when the time comes, and a tiny bit about season four. We even discussed Marvel’s Luke Cage a little bit and how he hopes to beat out The Rock for that role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe one day. You can check out our whole conversation below:
SF: Are you excited for this year’s Dragon Con?
Chad Colman: (CC): Yeah absolutely. I hear the fans over there are very passionate and I’m looking forward to meeting them.
SF: What are some advantages to attending cons like this one for actors such as yourself?
Fans get the opportunity humanize us, see us face to face, and to see that behind the character that they care so much about, there’s a human being under there that’s kind, open, and very willing to meet them.
SF: After being on two critically acclaimed shows with huge fan bases, which fans do you find to be more hardcore, the ones of ‘The Walking Dead’ or the ones of ‘The Wire’?
They’re both hardcore in different ways. The walking dead fans are far more animated. It’s pretty wild. But they’re both amazing and passionate in their own ways. ‘The Walking Dead’ fans though. They express themselves in more animated ways.
SF: Do you have any interesting stories from your experiences with fans of ‘The Walking Dead’?
CC: After I did my first episode on the show, I was in the airport in Boston and it was 4:30 in the morning. Three TSA agents chased me down because they are huge fans of the show and they caught the episode the night before. That was just one episode. They chased me down, took pictures, and then waked me through security. At that point, I was like, “Okay, this is cool.”
SF: How did you first come to land the role of Tyreese?
CC :Well initially Robert Kirkman was a huge fan of ‘The Wire’ and he saw me play Dennis “Cutty” Wise. Then he said, “That’s him. That’s my Tyreese right there.” My agent shared with me the other day that when they went to AMC and were ready to bring Tyreese on, they told him, “Well, we need to see other people.” But Kirkman was like, “Yeah… Okay… But it’s Chad Coleman.” It was great to have him behind me like that since he’s the creator of the show and the creator of the comic book and everything. It was great to have that support.
SF: Your Tyreese is a little bit different than the one in the comics. How much did you look to the source material when you were first creating your version of the character?
CC: I did a lot of research actually. But then afterwards, I went to talk to the showrunner and the writers and Robert. They said, ‘Come and take this journey with us and we’ll let you know what you should bone up on from the comic book, but we might go another direction, so just be open with us and take this ride.” There was a certain quality that I brought to the part that they were looking for. You know, this big, strong guy that’s also a thinker and a protector. That’s the way that they wanted to introduce him. He’s the voice of reason and he’s got it together, but he’s cautious about everything. But we’ll see where that goes in season four.
SF: Personally, I’m a big fan of the scene in the comics when Tyreese takes out that gym full of walkers and I hoped that it would make it into the show. Are there any moments in the comic up to this point in the story so far that you wish were included for your character?
CC: I’ll just say to stay tuned. Season four stay tuned! It’s going to be some amazing stuff. There will be a lot of stuff that the comic book fans will really appreciate.
SF: Speaking of season four, how is it coming along so far?
CC: It’s definitely been gut wrenching. It’s going to blow your socks off. It’s unbelievable. You gotta keep watching because it’s just that good. The stakes are incredibly high. There’s some unbelievable character development. Unbelievable things happen with the zombies. Really, it’s like wow, wow, wow.
SF: How has Tyreese changed since season three after joining up with Rick and his group?
CC: Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but no one goes unscathed. Tyreese is pretty much well put together. He was able to stand up to the Governor and withstand Rick’s initial flip out. But when you pick up with him again, just realize that no one goes unscathed. No one walks through this post-apocalyptic world without facing some huge challenges, so Tyreese has some pretty huge challenges ahead of him this year.
SF: As we’ve come to see since the beginning of the show, no one is safe. Like you said, no one goes unscathed. We’ve lost some real key players on the show like Lori, Dale, and Andrea. So if and when the time comes for Tyreese to meet his maker, how would you like him to go?
CC: [Laughs.] I usually don’t like to talk about this! I don’t want to invite it in. I don’t even want them to start thinking about that. But I would want it to be heroic and memorable. Saving some lives incredibly and going out in a way that people will always remember it.
SF: Finally, moving away from ‘The Walking Dead’ for a second, I’ve seen your name pop up in conversations about the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Luke Cage.
CC: Yeah, I’m glad about that. I’d love to play that role. I’m thrilled that people are even talking about me like that. But I hear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants it too. Hopefully, after season four of ‘The Walking Dead’, they’ll throw that part my way. That would be awesome.
To see Chad Coleman in action as Tyreese in ‘The Walking Dead’, be sure to tune in on Sunday, October 13 at 9/8c on AMC for the season four premiere.