The Natural Aristocrat spoke with Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo (Victor Strand) at NYC’s IFC Center during Split Screen Festival.
Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo discussed the dynamics of his pairing with on-off ‘frenemy’ Daniel Salazar, missing the old Strand’s ways sometimes, and how Victor Strand likely feels about Charlie taking out his pal Nick right before the show’s Season 5 premiere on AMC.
Watch the interview video above or read the full transcript below!
Interview with Colman Domingo on Victor Strand
The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: I gotta say, you’re one of my favorite characters on this whole series from the beginning! Legendary voice, Morgan Freeman-like. I think one day you’re gonna be doing tons of voice overs!
Colman Domingo: Thank you, thank you! Voiceover is really another way to tell stories, which is great.
I’m really glad to see it was you that spotted Daniel Salazar on that tape in Fear’s Season 5 premiere. Especially because I think Victor Strand works best when he has an opposing character that doesn’t like him for some reason.
I think you’re right! I think he actually thrives off of that because it’s like he’s got something to prove, in some way. He’s a guy who’s used to the art of the deal. And I think if he didn’t have a deal, he almost doesn’t know his purpose. I think Victor Strand does his best in that way. So the idea of finding Salazar in on the tape is a unique opportunity.
Hopefully, he needs something from Daniel Salazar. A big part of the journey is him going after him to get back but he also knows all the complicated history that lies within them… Like the last time Victor Strand saw Daniel Salazar, he shot him in the face. So there’s some work to be done with these two now and it just gives you more compelling drama.
How was that first crossover episode where Morgan Jones came on? How excited were you about him joining the cast?
I’m as excited as I am about any new actor joining the show. I feel like it’s another great storyteller. I’ve been a fan on Lennie James and thought he’s wonderful. I had no history of Morgan because I don’t watch The Walking Dead. So I was like, ‘Hey, Strand is about to interact with another character! We’ll see how that goes!’ I’m as excited about Lennie James joining the show as someone else joining the show. We always get a great roster of awesome talent! I just feel like ‘Oooh, I can’t wait to wrestle with them, dig in, see what it’s like.’ I love working with Lennie, he’s awesome!
Do you miss Kim [Dickens] and Frank [Dillane]?
Of course I do! They’re my buddies! I don’t miss Kim so much because I see her all the time. She’s one of my best friends! I have her over for dinner, we make plans, I join her family. Kim and Frank are still some of my dearest friends.
You had amazing chemistry with both on the show!
Yeah, it’s like you travel from Vancouver to L.A. then from L.A. to Mexico. We were in Mexico for two seasons and then Austin, you become family. Seven months out of the year we’re shooting, you spend more time with them than you do your loved ones. So we’re still close!
Do you prepare for each episode any differently acting wise, now that you’ve been on for a few seasons?
I think it’s a little different. For me, it’s a little different each season because I think there’s a very different objective for his character and a different way in. I know that I’ve made Strand for myself a bit looser because I think at first, he was a bit tidier. Even the way he spoke, the way he presented himself, the way he moved. I knew I wanted to sort of deconstruct that as an actor. I think he’s getting closer to Colman and less of Strand in a way. I think he had to find that balance of being tough, using his intelligence but also being kind and compassionate.
That’s the part that I understand and I wanted to bring more of Colman into Strand.
I feel as though the character has a lot of nihilistic elements, and then characters like John Dorie come in with this ‘goody goody’ vibe to them. It seems Strand can’t stand it at first but at the same time kind of likes or appreciates it.
I think Stand does like it, like even that one episode where he and John Dorie were trapped on that sort of island in a way. And I think that he’s actually entertained by it. He’s entertained by someone who is so optimistic and hopeful. He’s like, ‘Where does that come from?!’ And how sweet that is… But will that carry you through the world? How do you survive with that? So I think he’s curious about it.
So I’m not sure if he loves it or not but I know that he’s curious about it. Strand knows it’s not a threat but he wonders how useful it is. And so I think he’s always looking at it like, ‘Hmmm, If I were like that, what would I become?’ He doesn’t really understand it but he knows he needs some of those skills now. I think he looks at some of those characters like, ‘Hmmm. That’s curious. Let me try that on for size and see how that fits.” If it doesn’t fit, he’ll just go back to swinging his old ways! (laughs)
I like the old ways!
The old ways are good to have, they’re kinda cool! I think they helped him survive this long, so I think he trusts them. But with the changing of the world he had to adopt some new skills.
I think one of the coolest things about Stand in the early seasons was that he was always ready to pull a fast one. I feel he’s more Hero Strand a lot of the time these days.
It is Hero Strand and I do miss some of the old Strand, I’m not gonna lie! It’s still part of his superhero skills. I think at some point, if there’s an opportunity, he needs to use them. And maybe that’s a skill that he’s keeping a bit quieter for himself, while he’s with this new group. But if he needs to use them in support of the group in some way, I’m sure he will. You can’t take it out of him.
Since you mention missing the old Strand… Next time you have a stocked car like that, you think you’ll just take it and drive off?
Absolutely! (laughs) No, no, right now I don’t think he would. I think he’s really committed to this group. I think he’s committed to Alicia, Morgan, June, Althea, (John) Dorie, he’s commited to them. He’s going to see them through, it’s time to move on and change.
Even Charlie! Because even though she killed one of his good friends, Charlie hasn’t done anything worse than anyone else. So who’s he to judge? I think honestly that’s what Strand feels.
I think you should judge!
Yeah, who knows, he could! (laughs) The guy’s in the apocalypse, we can’t judge anymore. We’re all killing people! (laughs) Good talking to you man!
Be sure to check out Ian McShane’s promising words to Deadwood fans about a potential followup to HBO’s film at Split Screen Festival. Via Skype no less!