The Walking Dead universe as of late has been a source of frustration for many fans, a place where many are hoping the walkers will put the much beloved show out of its misery.
But there is a beacon of hope for that universe and that lies with Fear the Walking Dead.
There is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for fans of that world with the mooted cross-over between the two shows appearing to be a success with Lennie James’ Morgan making the jump.
As we gear up for the second half of season four of ‘Fear’ the air of excitement surrounding the show is undeniable.
In the run-up to the shows return on August 13th we caught up with the insanely talented, Colman Domingo, who plays the intriguing Victor Strand to discuss all things Fear, sockpuppets and his upcoming projects.
HEYUGUYS: In the first half of season four we’ve lost some major characters. What was your initial reaction when you read what was going to happen?
COLMAN DOMINGO: It wasn’t even in the script I found out about one of the deaths, it was Kim Dickens calling me actually to let me know she was leaving.
We both had a cry, we were both very upset by it and it was a surprise to us both. It was a direction the showrunners wanted to go into because they thought it would be great storytelling to lose the central character and how it affects the other characters.
It was a shock but you know we are professionals, we know it is in the nature of our show. The most devastating part of it is that I don’t work with my buddy anymore.
And of course it means no more ‘Stradison’!
[Laughs] No more Stradison but quite possible for another pairing for Strand. Him and Alicia have a lot of history so that would make a lot of sense to me for them to lean on one another, support each other.
We’ve seen the introduction of Lennie James’ Morgan to Fear, so do you think that opens up the possibility of more crossovers perhaps involving Strand?
It could, I think that the showrunners are interested in that. It could be the fact we cross-over to them or vice-versa. Or there could be another show, where we add another series. I think it is about the show expanding, like the Marvel universe. There are worlds here, characters and more room for more interesting storytelling.
I think it would be interesting to see where characters meet up in a place that its own world in a way. Like if we both ended up in Hawaii. I am always working to shooting in lovely places like that! [laughs].
How do you think your group would have handled Negan?
The funny thing is I am not absolutely sure. I am probably the worse person to ask about this. The way our show has been built even from the very beginning, our cast mates did not watch The Walking Dead.
We wanted to make sure that our show is autonomous, that we were just dealing with our stakes and our characters.
It’s so funny because sometimes we get directors who have directed on The Walking Dead and they will refer to it and I’ll have no idea what they are talking about. They didn’t understand that we live in separate universes, it wasn’t important for us to know about the other show.
I am sure people on The Walking Dead don’t watch Fear – I think it is important for an actor to stay in their own world in a way.
Maybe I’ll watch a few episodes so I can have a better answer for you [laughs].
You direct in the second half of the season so can you tell us about that whole experience?
It was fantastic. In my episode we centred on Jenna Elfman’s character as well as Lennie James’ and Maggie Grace but also some other new comers.
Honestly I had the entire confidence of the crew, cast and producers. A directors’ job is to be the inspiration, a cheerleader to inspire everyone to do the best job and to create a vision together.
That is something I’ve known how to do with my experience in directing in theatre for the past 25 years. It was nice to apply that in television. We inspired each other and challenged each other and made a great episode.
A lot of directors have some quirks on-set, do you have any?
I do, I’ve got two things actually.
One is I wear statement t-shirts. There is a company called Roots of Fight, they’ve given me some beautiful t-shirts with iconic figures on them like Muhammed Ali and Bruce Lee.
So I usually wear one of their t-shirts and a bright baseball cap when I am directing.
Also, just to take the piss out of my cast and crew sometimes I have a little sock puppet on set. My make-up artist Mandy created this for me, it looks just like me with little beard and moustache. He’s real sassy and mean but really funny.
He relaxes the room so sometimes the sock puppet needs to come out. We always need to make sure we are not taking ourselves too seriously.
It could be an idea to introduce the sockpuppet to Fear…
You never know! That would be at the very end of Strand’s existence. I am sure if he did that he’d be bitten in the next minute.
Will we be seeing you maybe write an episode in the near future?
I could, I would be very interested in that because I am a writer. So I love that idea of challenging myself with different genres.
At the core of our show it really still is a family genre even though we’ve lost most of the Clarkes. It’s very much still about characters and story and conflict and consequence. Those are the things I love to write about.
At San Diego Comic Con you were wearing quite a colourful shirt, will we be seeing you introduce this style to Strand in the second half of the season?
Strand and I have very different sense of style so maybe not but we both have style. Maybe this is why I understand Strand – he is a very self-made man.
Everything he has created was because he had to, from season one in the impeccable suits and even still as he goes on in this apocalypse he still manages to have a sense of style even though it has evolved.
I come from a very humble background in Philadelphia and know that personal style tells a story. It tells a story in a very clear way of what you are about, what your message is and about your personality.
You are currently working with Noah Hawley on Pale Blue Dot – what can you tell us about the film and how are things going so far?
So far so good. I go back to shooting next week. I play Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm’s boss, it’s a great role and a great script.
Watching Natalie Portman’s work, she is just a ferocious actor who has so much power. I love just being able to be on set with her.
I’ve got a few films coming out this year, one called Assassination Nation which opens September 23rd and If Beale Street Could Talk which opens at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve been blessed to have worked with some of the most gracious directors in the world.
I love that they [Sam Levinson and Barry Jenkins] have big vision and are interested in human kindness, wrestling with themes we are dealing with in America and trying to make some good out of all of it.
When working on those films are you always taking notes to try help you develop as a director?
You always take notes and, you always look at how others work. Everything you do is part of your classroom, I think. That’s how I’ve learned in this industry by watching and doing, watch everyone from fellow actors, directors to the Grip and Lighting Designer.
Fear the Walking Dead returns Monday 13th August, simulcast with the US at 2am and repeated at 9pm on AMC exclusive to BT