Apr 2012 04

by Damon Martin

“Now I can say yes, T-Dog is back!”
– Irone Singleton

Surviving two seasons on AMC’s The Walking Dead is no easy task. But for veteran actor Irone Singleton, it’s a pleasure picking up a script each week, although he admits it’s better once he finds out that his character T-Dog survives.

Singleton has been a part of both seasons of the record breaking cable series, and he recently sat down and talked about the Season 2 finale, what’s coming up for T-Dog in Season 3, and answers the most important question ever about The Walking Dead.

Damon Martin: Let’s start with the very morbid nature of the show in the sense that anybody can go at any time. As an actor, when you get your script every week, are you reading through to check you’re still there? Cause this is a show where there are no guarantees

Irone Singleton: I know right? Kind of like The Sopranos, and somebody else mentioned 24, although I never really watched 24 – I heard it’s a phenomenal show. But we’re always looking over our back like ‘am I the one that’s going to get it today?’ It’s like that. Especially early on it was like that. When I received the script and I read through the part where T-Dog slices his arm, I’m like, ‘how big is this slice?’ He’s bleeding profusely, so I was like, ‘let me jump to the back of the script.’ So I jumped to the back of the script cause I wanted to see if T-Dog was still alive at the end. He was still alive, so I wiped the sweat bubbles from my forehead, and then I jumped back to the beginning so I could read for sheer entertainment value as opposed to reading for my life.

DM: When you work on a show you become close with the people you’re cast with; how tough was it when you read that script or you got that call sheet and found out Jon Bernthal (Shane) was leaving. How tough is that as an actor to see?

IS: I considered them my extended family, my second family away from home and we did get very close. I have special relationships with all of them and it was in it’s own unique way. To see them go, there were very wet eyes. Tearful moments. We had those moments with Jon Bernthal and I, and Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale), and we’d look at each other and be like ‘wow, this is the end of the road for us on this journey right here.’ It was a nice moment, but sad to see them go.

DM: Now you’ve survived through Season 2 and we’re on our way to Season 3 so everybody wants to know are we going to see more of T-Dog?

IS: I’m hoping so. I’m glad that T-Dog survived. Doing interviews before the season finale, I had to keep people wondering whether or not he survived, so now I can say, ‘yes, T-Dog is back!’

DM: So we know that Michael Rooker will be back as Merle Dixon for Season 3. The character interaction you guys had during the first season really kicked things off for this show, so I have to imagine things are going to get interesting when you cross paths again.

IS: It is going to be interesting. Actually T-Dog and Merle did meet up 2 weeks ago in Cherry Hills, New Jersey and there was a bit of a stand off, and Merle got a bit of his edge. We were there with the zombie survival crew at Monster Mania, and he served T-Dog octopus sashimi, and that is something that T-Dog does not like at all, but he forced it to him with chopsticks. You’ll probably stumble across that picture on Twitter or Facebook or something like that, so I think that’s a pre-cursor to what Merle has coming. It may not be good

DM: When you become a part of a series like The Walking Dead, you really become synonymous with that series and with comic book, science fiction and horror fans. If you walked into San Diego Comic Con you’d get mobbed by 50,000 fans. How much has your life changed since doing The Walking Dead? I mean 50 years from now people are still going to remember your performance from this show.

IS: That’s a big statement and it feels good. My life has gone from one extreme to the other. A line I use in my one-man show, I say, ‘I feel my life is going from the abyss to the utopia of the spiritual spectrum.’ I’ve come from an environment where I was spiritually dead, my conscience was for the most part dormant, so I am now at a point in my life where I have acknowledged a responsibility to be a role model. That’s where I am now. God has put me in a position where I have a platform to where many people hear me, and respect my message when I speak it, so that is exactly where I am, from one extreme to the other. It’s such a great feeling to be a part of such a distinguished group.

DM: There’s so much to talk about the Season 2 finale, but I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic book, so I want to talk to you about the dark hooded swordsman that saved Andrea’s life at the end of the episode. For comic book fans, and as Robert Kirkman announced after the show, that is the famous character Michonne, who has now been cast with actress Danai Gurira. What did you think of that appearance; Were you a fan of the comics? Did you see that coming?

IS: I read the comics and I dipped around and read the part with Michonne, but I haven’t gotten through it. I think she may prove to be an excellent choice. (Danai Gurira) is beautiful, and I think this could work out here. I’m looking forward to that experience. I had no idea she was even in the running. They were talking about somebody from True Blood, and a couple of other names came up, but they announced her and I started to do a bit of research, and I was like, ‘wow okay, this might work out!’ I’m happy.

DM: One of the best parts of The Walking Dead is the fact that there are comics out there, and some of the iconic things that happened in the Season 2 finale are already building for Season 3. Michonne showing up, we saw the last shot of the prison to close the episode, we know they cast The Governor already, who is a major character in the comics. Is it cool that they set things up so well to get fans already excited about what’s coming next, and the show doesn’t start again for several months?

IS: I know, I’m excited too. I feel the same way. I think those shots are so epic. My wife and I were trying to figure out which shot was most epic. Was it the one with Michonne at the end with that cloak over her head? Or was it the prison shot, the overhead shot? Was it the barn burning at the end? So many epic shots and all of them kind of just have me waiting on next season. We should just petition for a year round Walking Dead show.

DM: The great thing about The Walking Dead is that while obviously they are living in a zombie apocalypse, the story really revolves around these characters and building their stories. It seems the way the storytelling is done on this show, both in the dramatic dialogue scenes and in the action scenes, it’s just really excellent.

IS: You’re getting me excited, stop it. This thing is so brilliant, it’s brilliantly written and mapped out. The folks at AMC that have to do all of this, they have to walk that tight rope. I mean you have to satisfy at least two demographics; You have to satisfy the one that want the guts and the gore, and then you have the other side, they love the story and the drama. Then you have the group like me, I’m right in the middle. I love them both. I thought it was brilliant, where you’re on the farm, but then you have zombies through there. You want it to count when you have zombies, you don’t want to have zombies on every episode. It gets old. So it’s brilliant.

DM: This is my last question before I let you go. Because you are a big part of The Walking Dead, you’re part of the family there, and I know you know all the inside information. Can you tell me, does Carl ever stay in the house?

IS: [Laughing] Great question. Carl does not, but Chandler does. Chandler Riggs stays in the house. Carl doesn’t. I don’t know what’s going on with Carl.

Related Posts:
Interview with The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker – Merle Is Back
The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale Recap: And Hell Followed Them


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