‘THE WALKING DEAD’ STAR CHAD L. COLEMAN DISHES WITH DISH NATION!
Monday, Nov 10, 2014
By Amber Ryland
Chad L. Coleman from The Walking Dead stopped by Dish Nation‘s Los Angeles studio recently to chat with hosts Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer about everything from his role on the hit AMC show to why he got fired as a stand-in on The Cosby Show.
Coleman, who plays Tyreese Williams on the show, laughed about lunch breaks on set saying, “It’s the funniest thing because they forget that they have it on,” he said of the makeup they all have to wear.
“They forget that they have it on…so you watch someone trying to choose which salad dressing…it is hilarious.”
Cast typically gets their script about “two or three days at the most” ahead of time Coleman said, so there’s not a lot of warning when a character is going to be killed off.
Coleman had nothing but nice things to say about co-star Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes on the show, saying, “Andy is incredibly intense and always trying to tell that story, that’s what he’s about.”
He added, “You know Andy’s…he’s relaxed, he’s comfortable, but…Andy just loves people, he loves behavior, he’s a really inquisitive guy. He’s so smart and he’s so caring. You know he’ll give you the last dollar you know, if you don’t have it. And obviously I don’t have it,” Coleman joked. “They don’t pay me well.”
“Tyreese is the one that’s still almost a mystery to the audience,” Frank said. “They don’t do flashbacks of where you came from.”
“He’s an ex football player and the way I envision him is that he had a coach like Tony Dungy. Or his father was a very prominent man in the community, and he instilled in his kids this character, this integrity,” Coleman explained.
“Not to say that like Martin Luther King or anything, but you know how Barack is and how his mother exposed him to civil rights, and all that kind of stuff. That’s how I feel his background kind of is… Is that the case for sure? No.”
Heidi and Frank joked with Coleman about being on the reality TV show Doomsday Preppers and Coleman said all he needed was a hammer and he’d be fine.
“Find a cruise ship, clear it of everything, get in that cruise ship, shoot to an island, and just keep funneling people in,” he said.
“You and a hammer on a cruise ship?” Heidi asked.
“That’s it baby…that’s it…and Captain Stubing,” he laughed.
But long before Coleman hit it big on The Walking Dead, he was actually fired from a gig as a stand-in for Malcolm-Jamal Warner‘s role of Theo on The Cosby Show.
“The assistant stage manager, she would go, ‘Stand ins! Where are the stand ins?’ And we’re like, we’re right here…so it was their job to humiliate us and I was trying to get on the show. And once I realized I couldn’t get on the show…every Thursday, I think they taped on Friday, every Thursday, I would get on the train and cry. I know I can do this….they used to watch me…you know I had to perform his part,” Coleman shared.
“And they would watch me do it and I said, I know I can do this. Nothing against Malcolm-Jamal Warner or any of them, I was like I know I can do this. So they would have blocking, you know, and I was supposed to move over here but I’m like that’s stupid….why would I move over there? Then I didn’t move and then the voice of God would come down, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be over there?’
“And then she comes and says, ‘Stand ins, stand ins, come here. The people upstairs are very angry, with someone, I’m not gonna say any names…’ and everybody’s like ‘is it me?! Is it me?!’ and I’m like, I know it’s me! And I know you’re gonna fire me…cause I don’t wanna be here no more. That’s the truth.”
Regardless of getting fired, Coleman had great memories of the cast.
“I love Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby’s a brilliant man. I saw some things that I won’t get into, it was very interesting stuff and a lot of fun,” he said.
“Lenny Kravitz was married to…Lisa Bonet, [she’s] saying, ‘Guys, please play Lenny’s music for the pre-show.’ I mean, imagine that. But nobody knew who he was then….look at who he became. She was having to beg for them to play his music. Now, you know, look how huge he is.”
Ironically, Coleman says he ran into Warner again when he was cast on the short-lived series Here and Now.
“So I come into the table and he’s like, ‘Whoa.’ And I said, ‘I told you I’m an actor.’ But it was, it was a nightmare. NBC…was on the fence about picking it up…”
Coleman said Cosby was unable to produce because he was tied up with another project, “So he wasn’t paying attention and they just weren’t behind it, so, it was a tension-filled episode and Malcolm was just like…I tried to tell him, ‘Man just relax…you look good, we gonna make you look good, you’ll look good, we’ll all look good.’ And it just came down to some really tough stuff,” he said.
“All these years later, me and that guy are cooler than the other side of the pillow now. He’s a great guy, it was just a tough situation, you know?”
A fun fact Coleman shared about Here and Now: “Kenya Moore was on there. They had an acting coach for her on a sitcom,” he said.
Now that he’s starring on the highest rated show in cable television history, a lot of doors have opened for Coleman — including a gig on Law & Order: SVU.
“Megan Good plays my wife, we’re gonna deal with domestic violence,” he says, giving a sneak peek into the episode.