Keep in mind, this is a spoiler alert… but on the other hand, who doesn’t know?
I’m Chad L. Coleman, a very humble actor who’s been able to be a part of 2 groundbreaking television shows and is starting to produce something that I feel is groundbreaking, called “Treadwater.” It’s a graphic novel that I am executive producing as a new project, you can learn more about it here.
I’m a dedicated father, and I also have another project that I am working on for Ferguson, Missouri, called “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” It’s a 3 day project and its goal is to create healing and reconciliation in the Ferguson community, and to stop a lot of the divisiveness that is there. It’s August 7th, 8th and 9th of this year. Stay tuned for more details.
Victoria will be helping me out today via phone. AMA!
How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why?
Let me get this right, because I don’t believe I’ve killed any human. I can’t tally up all the Walkers I killed, but probably – once I was in that herd, I destroyed quite a few of ’em? So I’d definitely say well over 300 plus. But I don’t believe – I need to make sure – but I don’t believe I killed a human.
What was it like recording the dialogue for Left 4 Dead 2, did you record it individually or were all the actors present at the same time?
That was a daunting task. There was a lot – I don’t know, probably 120 pages each script? And there were about 20 of them. Each script, there’s a lot that you have to say because people have to have all these options of what they can do in the game. It was exciting and fun, to be a part of a video game, so that was great, but it was a lot of work. It took place over a period of time – I had to be in Norway and do some more work, so they found me a studio in Oslo, I probably had 4 scripts then.
What do you guys use as guts and other inner body parts on the set of The Walking Dead?
Wow, that’s a great question. I can’t remember honestly? I’m texting Greg to see if he answers. “Tell them: they use barbecue for the guts.”
How do you feel your portrayal of Tyreese measured up to comic Tyreese?
Well, first of all, I just want to thank all the graphic novel enthusiasts for accepting this portrayal that we came up with. This was a collaborative effort on the part of Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple, just basically – them wanting to not retread that guy, but make sure we don’t lose the Tyreese from the comic, but also expand on him, if you will? So I’m always interested in playing against type, so I was given an opportunity to play this big strong powerful guy with an amazing heart, and incredible amount of vulnerability, and so that was very gratifying.
What charities or organizations do you think do a good job working on what your character tried to do on The Wire- empowering kids who have many negative influences on their lives?
Well, one organization that is near & dear to my heart is Camp Diva – and if you go to http://campdiva.org, that’s in Richmond, VA. She’s out of my hometown, but the work she’s been able to do in Richmond with these young African-American girls, what she does, transforming their lives, one girl at a time… and one of the most amazing things we were able to do, because Tyreese is very much about transformation and forgiveness, we do a “Date with Dad dance” every year. So every year, first of all – let’s celebrate fathers & daughters dressing up together, and understanding the value of time spent, and how important a father is in his daughter’s life. So what happened was: one little girl said “I can’t go to the date with dad, because my dad is in prison.” And the other little girl said “Well, why can’t we go to the prison and do the Date with Dad dance inside the prison?”
Now, this is unheard of.
This is not happening.
But out of the mouths of babes – it happened, and it happens every year now. And now thanks to my TED talk, and me being the face of this particular arm of the foundation, now we are taking it all over the country.
Another organization is called is the “Make a Film Foundation” (http://makeafilmfoundation.org). Now what we’re able to do is deal with terminally or seriously ill kids – and we’re able to make little short films with them, and then one child is able to make a full-length short film with all professionals, people in the industry donate their time – from cameramen, to directors. And if you go and look, you’ll see some of the actors who have donated their time – not only actors, but also directors, seriously BIG time directors. The girl that wrote JUNO was a part of it, Robert Rodriguez was a part of it, Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings was in one of the movies, Ernie Hudson from GHOSTBUSTERS and everything – we’ve had some real top-notch actors participate! It’s an amazing organization, so please, please donate to it. My childhood friend created that organization.
I mean, I came from a community that said “To whom much is given, much is required.” I’m not saying it should be anybody else’s mantra, but it is mine.
And we’re still working on this, but it’s called “Chad’s Fighting Chance” and basically what we’re going to do is go into the hood, and put the focus on kids and a trainer, using boxing as a means to grow and change. And there are so many components to it – I don’t want to get into all of it, but basically we follow these kids, and when we get the website up, you’ll be able to follow the web series and blog with these kids, donate money to a scholarship fund, you can mentor these kids. From anywhere around the world. So that’s myself, Darnell Walker (the trainer), Reginald Williams, Dave Russotto, and Natalia Melhman.
Do people recognize you on the street? If they do, what character do they mention?
Well, it’s a 3 fold bill.
It’s Tyreese, Cutty, and Z from It’s Always Sunny.
You were so great on the Walking Dead and one of my favorite characters. How did you feel when you found out you were going to be killed off? What was the best thing about being on the show and what was the hardest part about leaving?
I was surprised when I found out. I probably said “Wow” about 500 times. I guess I didn’t see it coming.
My favorite thing being on the show was being given some incredibly challenging work, and working alongside some incredibly talented writers, actors, producers, and a great crew. And to be be able to make an impact. I mean, all actors want to be relevant. So to know that you guys love it, in the way that you do, is incredibly gratifying.
I’d grown attached to all of those actors, particularly Sonequa Martin Green, and Melissa McBride, and Norman Reedus, and Andy Lincol, and Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., and Michael Cudlitz, and Alanna Masterson… and I don’t want to leave people out – I really was connected to everybody. They all had a fond place in my heart. So that was the hardest part. And just knowing I’m not going to be able to wake up and go to battle with those folks.
What was it like shooting the hallucination scene giving the speech to the characters?
Incredibly intense, and very exhausting, but very inspiring, because each one of these actors are so honest, and real in their portrayal that it makes it easier for me to do my work, because they all bring their A-Game, the girls included. Everybody came to work with their A-game, so that inspired me to go further.
What was your favorite Tyreese moment from the show?
At this point, my 2 favorite moments are the Hallucination Scene with the Governor and the Forgiveness Scene with Carol in season 4.
Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind “Laughter is the Best Medicine” or perhaps some of the types of events or people involved?
Yes, it’s a 3 day event, and on the first night, we’re gonna do a free night of comedy, because i feel like the way in which people come together – whether there’s laughing or dancing. So the first night is a night of free comedy, and we are going after A-list comedians like Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric the Entertainer – a very diverse group of comedians that represent the community. So the community gets a free night of comedy. Then the second day is the reconciliation workshops, so I put together a think tank of psychologists and sociologists, that way if you participate, you begin to humanize instead of demonize each other. The third day is going to be a block party – so after we put in the work, we get to celebrate the community, and we want people like Stevie Wonder and Coldplay and Katy Perry to Will.i.Am and folks of that nature, The Roots, to come out and celebrate the community – local and international community, coming together, and saying “We are Ferguson, too.”
Well, at the moment, we are still working everything out, and once we get in a position where the fundraising route happens. Or we might establish a website, which will be a hub where we can see who is interested in volunteering or whatever resources they may have. So stay tuned – “Laughter is the Best Medicine” website will be up eventually, but we are still in the early stages of putting the whole thing together, so stay tuned.
How was it being the bartender on Horrible Bosses?
Charlie Day made that happen! Charlie Day’s on the show. And you know what I’m upset about, they cut the scene, it was a page and a half, and due to time problems, they had to cut it down – I had way more than that, but it was still good to be in a big blockbuster movie with the caliber of actors involved. And I thought it was funny as hell, I watched that movie.
How hilarious was it to work with the guys on Its always Sunny In Philadelphia?
Unbelievably hilarious. They are as crazy in person as they are on TV. What you see is what you get from them. So I get an opportunity to be MY crazy self – you don’t get to see that in Tyreese! But I met those guys, we did a pilot for a FOX comedy called ” Boldly Going Nowhere,” I don’t know why they named it that because it obviously went nowhere, but that’s when they found out I could do comedy. So Charlie Day was a huge fan of The Wire. So from Charlie, they agreed to see me because he was a huge fan, and then they found out I was funny, and that was the beginning of – you know – a happy marriage.
Can we expect to see you pop up on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia again any time soon?
Hahahahaha! I hope so. I enjoy playing Z. I think that’s a matter of what the gang is into now, you know.
If you, in Tyrese’s situation, had to choose between living or letting go, what would you have done? Is survival worth the pain?
Yeah, you know, Tyreese never gave up HOPE. His heart just stopped. He was fighting hard to stay alive. The only reason he said to turn it off was because he knew his heart was gonna stop. He wanted to live. But his body just couldn’t hold up.
What are some funny stories from on set of The Walking Dead that you can share that we probably haven’t heard of?
Well, one kind of story is the final episode, when Andy Lincoln and Steven Yeun – they had to carry me, and at some point, Noah, Tyler James Williams- he’s rail thin, not one of the biggest guys on the planet – so we took some spills, that’s for sure! And a lot of times, it’s just us clowning around with each other, just doing lot of silly stuff in the spirit of the moment, it’s not like some organized effort. We just get really silly, and say lines in silly ways, just to amuse each other.
What is your favourite sport/team?
My favorite sport is football. And the New York Giants.
What is your favorite TV show to watch (besides the ones you’ve been on)?
Well, the last one that just caught me up completely was TRUE DETECTIVE, the first one. I don’t know if the second one’s come out yet. But the first one really moved me.
Do you have any pets?
Unfortunately I lost my wonderful German Shepherd we had, named Rocky. I think eventually down the road, I’ll get another dog, but I’m traveling so much now… I just want everybody to please come out and support the conventions tour. I’ll be in Chicago this weekend for http://www.walkerstalkercon.com
What do you do to stay in shape? Do you lift or pump iron? If you had to pick a fight, would you have better odds to win against 30 walkers or 1 Terminator?
I do. I do.
I lift weights, and I usually go in and choose 1-2 body parts a day, and then make sure I get in my ab work, and I do anywhere from 20-40 minutes of cardio, and take one day off on Sundays.
Hahaha – I just had a flashback of playing a Terminator on Sarah Connor Chronicles. Shoot, man! I’d take ’em both on! How about me versus Terminators AND Walkers? How ’bout that?!
I’m pretty pumped for your upcoming show ‘The Expanse’. Is there anything you can tell us about your role on the show, or what we can expect?
Yeah, you know, we don’t have that spaceship drama. And it’s 200 years into the future, and we have people inhabiting Mars, and the belt of Mars, and it’s an amazing international cast, and it’s based on these novels, “Leviathan Wakes.” And I have an amazing role – you haven’t seen me like this. This man is a commander, Frederick Lucius Johnson. He’s a helluva leader. But he’s not the warm and fuzzy guy Tyreese was. You’re not quite sure what Fred’s going to do, but Fred is going to get the mission done.
What’s one piece of advice about beer and life?
For beer, enjoy it in moderation, if you can.
And for life? Take the word “try” out of your vocabulary and just do it.
Would you have liked for Tyrese to live longer on the show? If so, would you like the character to take a darker turn?
No, I can’t say. I love what he represented, and I think he did all he could, and it was time to go. I think he did everything he could. Now possibly if they were going to allow me to go off and find other like-minded people, that may have been cool, but it wasn’t like they were going to do that.
Whats your favorite movie and why?
My favorite movie is A SOLDIER’S STORY. And it was because it was the first time I saw it that the light went on – the story was based on a a play called A SOLDIER’S PLAY, I was heavily into the theater, and so once I saw that on the stage, it was an ensemble of African-American actors who looked like me, just an amazing ensemble of actors, which seems to be a recurring theme in the work I do, so I was drawn to it even back then. Denzel was in it, and a bunch of other amazing actors that people don’t remember – Howard Rollins… and a host of other amazing actors, incredible performances, and it’s like doing a play on-film.
That inspires me.
I came from the theater, so the wheels in my mind weren’t turning for anything other than Broadway. This was the first time I was able to open my eyes to see I could be in film. Sometimes you have to see something that reminds you of yourself before it becomes real to you.
Otherwise, it’s like a fantasy.
What was it like being a voice on family guy, and if you were to act as a superhero who would you be?
Family Guy was an incredible amount of fun, and I look forward to doing it again. And I don’t know right now, there’s an amazing character in this new Treadwater graphic novel named Osi and oddly enough, he only has one arm, but he’s a real badass. He puts his arm inside a briefcase and it turns into this amazing weapon. And so I would come with something new.
What brand of beanie did you wear on the show and where can I get one?
Well, you know that is so funny! Because I think those beanies were like Prada. But we aged ’em.
How long does it take to film one episode?
It usually takes 8 days, sometimes 9, but mostly 8 days.
Can you tell me about the characters on your new project Treadwater?
Uh yeah, let’s see here….
http://trdwtr.com/candlelight – you can find all the information there.
My character is a high-end arms dealer, who sells intel and state of the art weapons to the highest bidder, whomever that may be.
He’s a businessman.
But he’s a businessman with a dark side.
And then there’s one particular character who’s like a robot, and they’re called The Wraith – there are six operatives, and they work for a particular organization. And you’re not 100% sure what the man who’s running it, what his motives are.
They described it as “THE DARK KNIGHT meets HOMELAND meets G.I. JOE.”
It is told in the style of JJ Abram’s LOST. You know how in LOST they go back – starting at this point, then there are flashbacks to who they used to be, then switched storylines, intersecting in ways that surprise the audience? It has all that going on, but more than anything else, we like to say: what draws people into this is that everybody has an operative inside of them.
Everybody wants to be a cop, or astronaut – you want to be a secret service guy! So there’s a universal desire for clandestine missions. Who doesn’t want to be a Navy SEAL? Who doesn’t want to be James Bond?
Do you have a funny joke you can tell me
Let’s see… a funny joke, wow… it’s not really a joke, but a mind game.
And then say “When you come to a green light, what do you do?”
Most people – if they respond – can they respond to that?
They can’t respond, right? Because they’re gonna say “stop!” and you don’t stop at a green light – but they are going to say “STOP” because I said to spell “SPOT” first.
And that shows you the power of suggestion, because it shows you how to make someone do the opposite of what theyshould be doing.
So that’s funny to me!
Why do you think Tyreese hallucinated the specific characters that he did while he was dying?
Well, I believe that in his subconscious mind, he suppressed a lot of things, so he had unresolved conflict with the Governor and Martin. And he was unresolved in the horrific way that Bob, Beth Missy and Nika passed away – and the Governor and Martin came back to haunt him, because they were diabolical evil men, and Tyreese could not resolve the way they were. So when he was losing blood, and his heart rate would decrease, in that state, his subconscious mind took over.
Was there a specific reason as to why you didn’t see Karen in your hallucinations?
Yes, and I told you – if you come to peace with something, and you come to terms with something, you’re not wrestling with it in your subconscious mind. So he was at peace for Karen. It was only the things that caused him angst, the things that he couldn’t answer – that’s why we have bad dreams and things of that nature, your subconscious is suppressing all that angst because you don’t want to deal with it.
So when you get into particular situations, those things can just “come up.”
How did you like filming in Georgia? Favorite place to eat in Atlanta?
Well, it’s wonderful from the standpoint of I have family down there, so I get to kind of kill 2 birds with one stone. It’s a wonderful place. It reminds me of many other places, including my hometown of Richmond Virginia, there’s some LA in it, a little bit of New York in it. There’s lots to do. Outside of the heat, it’s a place that has a lot going on.
I would have to say… SLS is really good.
What is it about The Walking Dead that has attracted so many ‘Wire’ refugees?
The quality of work that we were able to produce on the Wire is attractive to other storytellers. Robert Kirkman is a huge fan of The Wire, our show runner is, Scott Gimple, the mad genius, it was amazing storytelling, uncompromising storytelling. It wasn’t like we were influenced by any advertisers. We were able to tell a very pure, honest story, and people appreciate that.
What has been your favorite project to work on so far in your career?
Absolutely! I just have a hard time ranking things? I give all to whatever I’m working on, so I have just been blessed to be involved with a lot of different projects that mean a lot to me, but I mean, The Wire and The Walking Dead are 1 and 2 on the list, but I loved being on Broadway, being able to perform for the President of the United States and the First Lady, I shared that experience with Danai Gurira… we were in August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”
I’ve never seen the Wire. Is it worth getting into?
Is it worth getting into is an understatement.
Trust me – you will not be disappointed.