Why This ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Star Didn’t Watch the Original Show

Colman Domingo on spoilers and superfans


Specs
Age 46
Claim to fame Stars as Victor Strand on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead (Sundays,
9 p.m.); appears in the upcoming film The Birth of a Nation (Oct. 7); directs Barbecue at the Geffen Playhouse in L.A. (Sept. 6 to Oct. 16)
Base Los Angeles
Twitter @colmandomingo

Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?
Colman Domingo: I hate to say it—I reach for my phone and go on Twitter. And CNN.com, especially because we're in the middle of this heated political season.

You use Periscope quite a bit. When did you get into that?
I started doing Periscope maybe a year ago because I thought it was a great way to connect with fans. I like showing them the inner workings of a show, whether it's my wardrobe person or talking about what different people do.

Do you ever worry about accidentally giving away spoilers?
[Laughs] No, I'm pretty careful! I usually don't do [Periscope] on the set itself. I usually do it when we're having some downtime somewhere, just to give people a little slice of my life on the show. There's so many interesting people in the cast. I love that [Alycia Debnam-Carey] is an amazing musician and how funny [Frank Dillane] is, and I want to give people a sense of that.

What's on your reading list right now?
A James Baldwin biography by David Leeming and a book called Bettyville by George Hodgman. I've been trying to get through this biography about Jane Fonda as well. I'm all over the place. I have so many books that are sitting around half-read. There was a Ta-Nehisi Coates book called Between the World and Me that I read the prologue, and I was so decimated by it that I couldn't even get through the rest of the book.

What TV shows do you watch?
I just got into Preacher. I'll watch things on OWN like Belief, which is about faith. I'm always watching old episodes of The Golden Girls or The Simpsons [laughs]. It's funny—people assume that I'm really dark like Victor Strand, but I'm actually a person who just really likes to laugh!

Did you watch The Walking Dead before you joined FTWD?
No. I was not a deadhead. It just wasn't in my consciousness. And [after being cast on FTWD], I didn't go back and watch it. I started fresh because I actually thought that it would be to my benefit that I had no idea about this zombie apocalypse so that my character would be raw. I wanted Victor Strand to be as fresh as the morning dew [laughs].

I saw that you went to Comic-Con this past summer. Was that your first time?
It was. It was fantastic. I've never been on a show like this where there's so much engagement with the fans.

Does it put a lot of pressure on you as an actor to have a fan base that knows the world of the show so well?
It does, and in the beginning you have no idea how much they might be monitoring your social media or things like that. I remember I posted something like "Good to be back on set!" but I realized that was sort of a spoiler based on what viewers had seen, and the fans were like, "Oh, so he's still alive!" I do have to be a bit more cautious than I used to be. These days, with all forms of social media, if you're a public person and especially on a hit TV show, you do have to figure out how much you're willing to engage. But you have to learn that as it happens. I've been in this business for 25 years, and suddenly I'm just now thinking about that.

This story first appeared in the August 22, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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