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Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo on the Evolving Victor Strand

by  in TV News Comment
Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo on the Evolving Victor Strand

There’s one in every crowd, that individual who seems only out for himself. On AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” the calculating Victor Strand, played by Colman Domingo, was just that type of person.

However, after encountering Nick in a hospital detention center, Strand appeared to have a change of heart. Not only did Strand help Nick’s family and the Manawas escape on his luxurious yacht, but lately he’s provided emotional support for a distraught Madison. It’s too bad, then, that his days may be numbered: Strand was recently stabbed in the stomach by Ilene, a mentally unstable mother angry with him for killing her daughter, despite the fact she was a walker. Now it remains to be seen whether he recovers – or joins the ranks of the undead.

CBR recently spoke with Domingo about Strand’s role in the group, his emotional breakdown, being surrounded by zombies, and the mounting human threat in the remaining episodes of Season Two.

CBR: Most individuals crack under a zombie apocalypse. How do you feel Victor Strand has changed during these intense circumstances?

Colman Domingo: He always had much more of a steady hand; that’s the way he operates. He’s very practical in that way. He strategizes. He’s learning that sometimes you have to respond and not think it out so clearly. He tries to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes you just need to respond and move forward. That is part of the challenge and his growth and the things that are necessary for him to survive.

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The show established Strand as this enigmatic figure. How much will viewers continue to learn about him?

What we’ve done in Season Two to give a glimmer into his backstory was to actually humanize him, but it feels like a glimmer. I don’t even quite know if they would go any further. I think it’s important for you to get some of the cracks in the character and understand the character’s shortcomings or his frailties or the things that are close to him. We’ll see if he survives, how that will help rebuild him and keep him strong.

A teary-eyed Strand offered to help a survivor deal with his daughter who had tragically turned into a zombie. How happy were you to explore his softer side?

That’s been fantastic to play. For an actor to get to play those notes is phenomenal. Every time I opened up a script, I thought, “Wow. We’re going to accomplish all of that and all those layers, all those textures in an hour. How cool because you don’t usually see that in television.” I’ve been so honored to just be able to peel away and peel away so many dimensions of Victor Strand.

And that was one of my favorite scenes this whole season. I thought it was so simple and just about these characters. It was almost taking a breath and processing where they are. Then to have Victor Strand help someone else by doing something merciful was powerful.

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How crazy was it filming that Strand/Madison/zombie-assault bar scene?

First of all, when I’m working with Kim Dickens, I’m having the time of my life. We had a ball doing that. Every so often you get to do these stunts. It’s really cool. You’re bashing chairs, jumping over stuff and tossing things. It makes you feel like a kid, in a way, where we’re like superheroes. We love doing as many of our own stunts as possible, too.

It was very intense. It went to so many levels, which I think is cool. It goes from this intimate scene revealing more about Madison and then it moves to the piano. We’re having this dark amount of fun playing the piano and having release. Then, here comes the walkers and we have to fend for our lives. Once again, we can’t have our guard down for one minute.

More than ever, Madison has allowed her emotions to cloud her judgment. In what ways do you believe Strand has emerged as the voice of reason?

Strand is someone who can sit in any room and he can decide, “Oh, I need to be this right now. Do I need to be the leader or do I need to follow? What is the best for the group?” I think he’s learned to adjust with his and Madison’s relationship, where he does have to be the voice of reason. You can’t have two people just working with the heart. He appreciates that is where Madison lives and she’s thinking about her children or working with her emotions. You are drawn to another because you need that. That’s something Strand doesn’t have. He needed that from Madison. When they finally come together as this formidable team, they really lean on each other for those skills.

At the moment, Strand is lying at death’s doorsteps. What’s interesting about seeing him at this stage?

We’re seeing the way he processes. As we understand in this apocalyptic world, you can die from a common cold. He seems to be in a very peaceful state. It’s about being open and generous to other people, even to make a person laugh, to make Alicia or Madison laugh.

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With the powered-up neon hotel sign calling out to anyone in the area, things are about to get ugly. What can you tease about the consequences of Madison’s actions?

Madison turned the light on. Once again, she was responding with her heart and it became a beacon. Not only is she trying to get her son to see it, but she also has no idea what’s going to come. I think it’s nothing but danger coming. It compromises the thing they’ve established. It was set up beautifully at the beginning of the episode. The hotel was becoming a working place where you can begin, again, to the point Alicia is getting a surfing lesson. In some way, there was some normalcy established, but it’s the balance. Madison did that by herself instead of going to the group. That compromises everyone. I think we’re going to pay the cost.

How dangerous are the humans compared to the zombies?

Much more dangerous. Human nature is so tricky. Right now, everyone is in a fight or flight mode. Even with blood, there’s the question of blood and bond. What is the strongest? There are common themes happening. In the last episode, there are two brothers. One is living at the hotel and the other one is working with the drug dealer. You are redefining what family is.

“Fear the Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.

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