Small Screen: Fear the Walking Dead star looks on bright side

It might seem extremely weird that in a world where every second of the day is spent in a fight for survival, there would be time for laughter. That has been the case with Colman Domingo during the filming of several episodes of the AMC series Fear the Walking Dead.

“I will ask the other cast members if they think my character of Victor Strand would ever be caught dressed in dirty, second-hand clothes,” Domingo says with a laugh.

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During the three seasons of the series inspired by AMC’s monster hit The Walking Dead, Domingo’s character was more comfortable in fancy suits in his pre-zombie apocalypse life as a medic. One of the things Domingo liked about the character when he was introduced in season one was he had amassed the kind of great wealth that makes it easy to buy expensive clothes, fancy homes and boats. There is also something very pleasing to Domingo about playing a character who has more knowledge of the outbreak than most people, plus an understanding of how it manifests itself.

Running from zombies — and all the other potentially fatal possibilities that face Strand and the other survivors — has made the character adjust his wardrobe selections. But, what’s inside the man wearing the suits has changed only slightly. Domingo likes that Strand remains a man of mystery, never revealing enough to the viewers to decide whether he’s a good guy or bad guy.

“There will be new characters this season that will change things. This season there will be a lot of dealing with redemption,” Domingo says. As to whether more will be revealed about Strand being a good guy, bad guy or somewhere in the middle, all that can be said is that the actor loves that these kinds of questions are being asked.

As for the new additions, joining the cast for the fourth season are Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie, Jenna Elfman as Naomi and Maggie Grace as Althea. The biggest addition is Lennie James — who played Morgan on The Walking Dead — bringing his character to the mix. This is the first official connection between the two AMC shows.

Domingo stresses the changes will be a plus for the series, something that makes him very happy because he enjoys playing Strand. He says that not only is it a great character to play, but Fear the Walking Dead has given him more exposure than anything he’s done in film, TV or on stage. The Philadelphia-born actor has been working for years including impressive movie credits including Selma, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, True Crime, The Birth of a Nation and Lincoln. He will direct his first feature film with City on Fire.

Small screen work for Domingo includes Timeless, American Dad and the series he calls “an incredible experience” in The Knick. Showing he can play an assortment of characters, Domingo was cast to play Father Frank Lawrence on Lucifer.

“That was a great show to work on both because it was a special episode and because of working with Tom [Ellis],” Domingo says.

“I think that episode is really the one where Lucifer had to face what was really happening to him.”

Although he keeps busy with film and TV roles, especially being part of the Fear the Walking Dead family, Domingo has found plenty of time to work on stage projects. The Obie Award winner has appeared in such productions as The Scottsboro Boys, Blood Knot and Passing Strange. He made his self-written solo play debut in England and Australia with A Boy and His Soul.

Fear the Walking Dead is the kind of show that turns actors into celebrities because of the passionate followers. Domingo understands that kind of passion because that’s the way he feels about working in theatre. Not only has Domingo rolled up more theater credits than you can shake a zombie at, the musical he co-wrote about Donna Summer aptly called Summer: The Donna Summer Musical will open later this year on Broadway.

If there’s ever a musical version of Fear the Walking Dead, Domingo will be ready.

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