Interview: Colman Domingo Talks Season 6 of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’, Victor Strand’s Character Arc & Directing Episode 3
Thank you for giving me a bit of time! Firstly, Can you talk about being one of the last cast members from season one and what was it like to return for season six?
Domingo: I think it’s very exciting to be one of the last one’s standing from season one. It’s always surprising to look around, you’re like, ‘well, what happened.’ Apparently, Victor Strand has a lot of stories to tell and he was complex in that way, and I think he just keeps giving. He keeps doubling down and giving the universe some complexity. First of all, to see a character like Victor Strand go through all the trials and tribulations he’s been through, is exciting and interesting – and it’s great to play. So I’ve been having a great time! And then I think that even like, with season four and season five, I think that there was some restructuring as well that was happening in a different way of storytelling. We changed the way it looks, the way it felt; we changed some principal characters as well and location.
And now in season six, we’ve broken it up into an anthology, so you’re able to get into the interior life of these characters in a way that you weren’t before. When you got to some of the more solo centric episodes, they are more meaningful, because you’re like, ‘Oh, now I know we’re getting to see what makes them tick.’
I love the fact that we had a very eye to the first in my mind, in recent history, a pretty Strand centric episode. And I love that you got a moment to sit with the character to see how they really think and what their conflicts are. And so you can go further with them. So now that gives you some more grounding, to care about them even more so. So even as Strand you know, shanks somebody in the leg and pushes through into some walkers, you kind of might be on the side.
I thought it was funny too because when we first see you and Alicia in this episode, you guys are actually wearing bandanas to cover your face. What is it like now to revisit that scene given the current climate?
Domingo: Isn’t that crazy?! We shot that in like January; we had no idea what was happening in the world. But I thought it was just like the moment. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, do we know something?’ You know? So it’s pretty wild.
And just speaking of you and Alicia, like you said, you two have been together since the beginning. Can you talk about what it’s been like to work with her over the course of the show? What do you think Strand was thinking in the final scene when he pushed her away?
Domingo: Well, the funny thing is this. Colman and Alicia are very close, we are like brother and sister. We’re just naturally like a family. And so, I think that you can see that. That’s what I love about characters – that once you have a love for each other and you’re able to see that written for as well. I think showrunners they know how close we are, and also the struggle that it takes for our characters as well to be together. And sometimes, you know, Victor’s got to go for his own interest and say, ‘I can’t be with you, I’ve got to push you away. Because I love you.’ That’s already so complicated, you know, to play those notes and say, you know, I want you with me, but I don’t want you to see me, the way I see me, I want you to keep that thought of me of being a good person and wanting to do good in your mind. And remind me that I can be that person, but to do the stuff that I need to do to survive. I can’t let you see that.
That’s so complicated, man. It’s so complicated to play and it’s so interesting to play. And I think Alicia and I, anytime we work together, it feels like breath. And it’s funny, and it’s interesting. And we can play many, many notes because we know each other so well, and we try it and you what you see is a lot of trust. We trust that we are available as actors. Any scene that I’m in that Alicia is I can only be my best self, depending on what Alicia brings to it and vice versa. We depend on each other and it’s a solid friendship. I haven’t been on set for a week and I still talk to her. Like every other day, I’m texting calling her and, you know?
It definitely does pop up on screen. So with your character, we got a little bit of him going off and he’s going to go do his own thing now. So can you tease anything? I don’t want to get you in trouble or anything. We’re only on episode two, but I’m excited to see what happens next. So can you tell us a little bit?
Domingo: I think it’s a good taste of what’s to come. I think you can get a sense of where he’s going and what he’s willing to do. He’s given some significant lines lately that shows where he is. He said, ‘It’s time for us to start making the calls now.’ He’s like, you know, I’ve been listening to other people’s perspectives and stuff. I have to listen to my own and my own instincts is what’s kept me alive. And you to Alicia. So he’s like so now let’s listen to ourselves, let’s become our own leaders. So I think he’s interested in being his own leader to be very honest. I think, you know, he’s been on the B team and listening to other people for a long time. And he’s like, Nope, it’s time to go Strand’s way or no way.
I do want to talk about the scene with Sanjay and the walkers!
Domingo: He’s the one that gave me the idea. Sanjay was the one who he said, ‘Bill prefers fresh meat every time. Oh, yeah, that’s right. And you’re fresh meat.’ And you’re actually, you know, I love the character, Sanjay, because he’s such an innocent. It’s funny, ’cause even when we were rehearsing the scene, Alicia, Matt, and I were like, ‘How did this guy survive?’ Like, we’ve been in this apocalypse for a minute? Well, how are you surviving? I personally feel like he had to become a personal sacrifice for the greater good of people because he wasn’t gonna make it, when especially, after in that in that moment when you find that he’s not there. And he had a simple job to do, which was to raise the garage door up and down, and he went cowering and hiding and one of the campers. At that moment, I know Victor was done with it, you know? Because he’s already had a philosophy from the very beginning. If you’re not useful, you can’t be up on this giant. He has these activities for kids or animals. You know, he’s like, you got you got to where he’s like someone’s old school, Mama, if you understand you better be working, you better be contributing. So I think that’s his philosophy. So it was a great episode.
I love that Lennie James directed it beautifully. I love working with Lennie as an actor and he got it so wonderful. He kept telling me Let Strand be strand. And I was like, Well, I haven’t heard that. Lenny said this episode is called let Strand be Strand. So even that last take, that was our last tick. Actually, we did a few tests before when I stabbed him in the leg and then was shoving him towards the walkers. And he said “you want to do one more set?” I want to do one more. I have an idea. Because I thought what was striking, really do not just stab him and push him and kick him. I said he would draw the walkers by screaming so I wanted this guttural scream. I just let it go. I’m like, he’s got a double down on being completely violent. To make sure that it succeeds, I have to do everything I can. So it can’t just be a simple choice. It’s like no, I’ve got to stab him cover his mouth. pushing towards the walkers kick him in the butt. I have to make sure this kid dies in order for my friends to get those guns to shoot their way out and for them to survive. So I loved it all I love all the all the stunts and I love the dark.
My favorite moment actually is me just standing in the background watching Sanjay get eaten up. It makes me think of you know, Jason and Halloween. It’s so dark, man. It’s just like so you just gonna stand there. It just felt good. Because in my mind, I’m like it feels good to be back back to me. That following my own instincts feels good. So in that moment, I know that that’s exactly what Strand was thinking.
I can’t wait to see more of Strand and more of this season. I need episode three right now!
Domingo: I actually directed episode three!
This is dropping right after episode three, so can you talk about directing that?
Domingo: It was absolutely wonderful. My stars of it are Maggie Grace, Austin, Amelio and Lennie James, and we had a great time. We look at it as a diehard-inspired episode because it’s a vertical episode we’re going up, and everything about it is upward momentum and trying to find something at the top. It’s really about these two people who have an unlikely friendship and sort of like depend on each other in a new way. Again, we’re building new relationships again and that’s building the one between Maggie’s Al and Austin’s Dwight, and then there’s something special. This is after three, I can say it.
I love directing. It’s funny, I’ve had been blessed with Austin’s entrée into our series and then there is a very something he’s been seeking for so long comes in the episode and it’s beautiful to direct. So I feel like I’m very much Dwight’s director. You know, I’m navigating his story and I love playing with Austin because he’s a great actor, and I love that we’re exploring a character that was handed over from The Walking Dead, and I had no relationship to it because actually don’t watch The Walking Dead. I just like to focus on my own show. But when Austin told me once, he said, ‘You know what? This is the first time my character’s ever smiled.’ I didn’t know that, that’s funny huh? It’s a beautiful moment because it’s a character that we know from the universe but we’re like now we see a completely new side to him.
Well, I’m getting the wrap-up sign! I want to say thank you again for sitting down with Geeks of Color and once the season ends we definitely have to talk spoilers!
Domingo: Absolutely man!