The mid season finale of The Walking Dead introduced a lot of stuff in between all of the action in Woodbury. One of the things that happened last night that pleased fans was the introduction of Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese. There was just enough of Tyreese and his crew to whet fans appetites for the second half of season 3. We were lucky enough to participate in a chat with Mr. Coleman earlier today. He talked about the casting process, the big scene he had with Carl in the prison, and what we can expect from him in the remaining episodes. Read on for his comments to our questions as well as some other highlights of the discussion.
When you were up for this role were you aware it was a big fan favorite character?
Yeah, as soon as I went online and pulled it up. I was like “oh, woow. OK.” That’s the icing on the cake. I’ve created an original role before, but to have something that was already present in another form and have to be able to honor it in a way that you know these people that have an attachment, and be able to live up to that is huge to me. That’s my desire, to continue to make the audience proud of what’s happening in the television world of The Walking Dead.
Once it was officially announced that you would be Tyreese, did you look at anything on line? The announcement was met positively from the fanbase?
There were discussions already happening online about who should play this role. The public had thrown my name in the hat. The casting director had this information and so did Glen Mazzara and Robert Kirkman. They knew that based on past work, people felt strongly that I could fill those shoes. That was very humbling as well.
Did that add pressure for you, or do you welcome the fact everyone would think of you for that role?
I’ll put it to you like this- when Michael Jordan is shooting the last second three pointer to win the game, I think he relishes it. I relish it. Every actor wants to be relevant. Every actor wants to be held to a high standard. This allows me that opportunity, it keeps me sharp. I like it.
The scene after Carl had locked the door and wouldn’t let you out, you said “You heard the man.” That was kind of a loaded scene considering how Carl’s been growing up this season. Does Tyreese see something in Carl other than the initial meeting in the hallway?
I would say so. I love that, I love that. Also just speaks to his ability to read a situation, read it clearly, and communicate in an effective manner to try and get the objective taken care of. He read the situation very quickly. He seen something in this young man and the way he handles himself with that weapon. Just his whole presence and stature, it was very clear to Tyreese what he was dealing with. He was going to handle it as diplomatically as possible and in no way shape or form was going to take for granted who this young man was.
Coleman also said that his relationship with his sister Sasha, one of the other people introduced last night, will be explored along with his own history. If you read the comics, you should be pleased with some of his backstory. One thing that was particularly interesting was Coleman’s answer when asked if we’d be seeing him around for a while. It was pointed out that two of African American characters died out pretty quickly this season. Coleman laughed and said he had a friend that was leading the online charge to keep him alive. Obviously he couldn’t say much, but he said that fans would be proud. He reiterated that the show has no agenda when it comes to killing of certain characters, it’s just how the story plays out. He said Michonne, Tyreese and Sasha will make fans proud and that we should tune in, strap on our seat-belts, and enjoy the ride.
Coleman said that he would be in 5 of the last 8 episodes and that they recently wrapped filming on the season. That should be a hint that he’ll make it through all the Woodbury chaos. While the comics Tyreese is already the second in command by the point the TV show is at, Coleman said there would be room for exploration in his interactions with the larger group. He said that “Chad Coleman as an actor” would love to go toe-to-toe acting with Andrew Lincoln similar to how their relationship works in the comics, but he couldn’t say how that may or may not happen in the show.
On a lighter note, Coleman said that his weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse, although the crossbow is cool, would have to be his hammer. He said he could do a lot of damage with it and would have to “stay true to the hammer.”