Not much is known about “Fear The Walking Dead” character Victor Strand. Played by Colman Domingo, the cool and calculating Strand initially encountered Nick (Frank Dillane) in a hospital detention center following the initial undead outbreak in Los Angeles. The pair quickly formed a mentor/student-like bond and worked together to break out of the facility. After gathering Nick’s family and the Manawas, the group of survivors made their way to Strand’s gated beach house, where they learned his plan to survive the growing apocalypse: take up residence on a luxurious yacht.
Season 2 of AMC‘s spinoff of its massively popular “The Walking Dead” opened with the survivors hitting the sea in order to find a safe harbor. So far, Strand appears to be a welcomed ally, even if he is a bit strident and condescending. But his true intentions, his apparent understanding of the zombie apocalypse and the source of his personal wealth remain unknown. All those mysteries beg the question — what is Strand’s true agenda?
CBR News: Strand was introduced as this mysterious figure that we’ve slowly been learning about. Were you on the same learning curve? What kind of breakdown did you receive when you booked the role?
Colman Domingo: When I signed on to the show, I just knew he was a mysterious man of means. I knew some possibilities of how he made his money. I knew possibly where he was from and sort of his background. Did I know anything else? No, I just knew what was on the page. I just knew he was a wordsmith by the way he used language to decimate that poor fellow in the holding cell, but that was for survival. Everything else was so on the page, and so clear, that I understood the character and instinctually how to play him. He doesn’t reveal too much because he keeps his cards close to his breast pocket.
In what ways are viewers going to get to know Strand better as Season 2 progresses?
There’s going to be a huge hammer swung at Strand’s whole veneer. It may either shatter to pieces or it will crack and you will see all the little intricate cracks in Strand, but, he will stay together. There’s a great opportunity in what we’ve been shooting already, for us to really refine and expose a lot of Strand’s foibles. It will actually humanize him. Right now, he’s got a really strong veneer. It’s well-manufactured. The apocalypse will puncture that a little bit.
In the Season 1 finale, Strand could have helped others escape that military confinement, but he didn’t. Why do you feel he’s aiding the Clarks and Manawas?
I think he’s aiding the Clarks and Manawas only because they are associated with Nick. Nick and Strand have formed a bit of a bond in that holding cell. They need one another to escape. Strand needs someone to have his back and he chooses Nick because he’s such a survivalist and risk-taker. Strand finds those to be great qualities, although Nick is a recovering heroin addict. It’s more about the obligation to Nick, and these families are associated with him. Therefore, Strand has to take them on. That’s going to come with its own complications.
Now that everyone is on Strand’s yacht, how much of a “It’s my way or the highway” attitude does he possess?
He’s not like a spoiled brat, but when it comes down to it, it is his boat, so it has to be his rules. He also has a plan and once again, the plan is going to be challenged by the other adults on the boat, who may have different needs and wants. When you have a bunch of type-A personalities on one boat, it’s going to come to a boiling point and pop. Right now, he’s trying to maintain power for as long as he can. That’s going to be challenged. He’s going to have to resort to other ways to maintain his bravura on this yacht.
With all these strong players and opinions, who does Strand clash with the most?
Probably with Madison (Kim Dickens). She can be just as strong as Strand. These two can spar. She’s not afraid of Strand at all. They are from two completely different demographics and social ladders as well. They see each other in themselves, more than they both care to admit.
Besides the zombie epidemic, what other concerns do these survivors have this season?
They have concerns about how long they are going to wear their stinky clothes. [Laughs] They have concerns about taking a shower, about food. They have concerns about getting a decent sleep, knowing they have to keep one eye open. If there was a zombie apocalypse now, I don’t even know who would go to sleep peacefully. You’d sleep maybe 10 minutes at a time because you’d just never know if you are going to wake up bitten. Those are the characters’ concerns as the season progresses.
More than anything, I think they should be more threatened and worried about people. They are the true danger in this zombie apocalypse. You have to be very careful, especially when it comes to your family and friends. The people close to you yesterday may have other needs now. It’s a devastating time and it changes people. The zombies — or what we are calling the “infected” — I feel we should be even less afraid of them in a way and more afraid of who supposedly had your back yesterday.
Season 1 was composed of six tight, captivating episodes. How do you feel having more than twice that count now affects the storytelling?
First of all, honestly, every script that I have read, it’s as if we’re doing an epic film for each episode. You can’t imagine the way we are going to spend time each episode. It’s exciting, thrilling and you also question whether we can shoot all of this in eight days each time, but we do. It’s ambitious. We have water, new locations and a boat. That’s what is cool. It’s going to move faster than last season. We were doing a lot of character development last season. It was a bit slower paced before we got to episode 5. We are going to come out of the gate swinging. It’s just an epic adventure each time. Towards the middle, we have a few moments to catch our breath, but we’re really running. We know that L.A. has fallen. A lot of the other cities in the States have fallen, so it’s time to hustle and move.
Season 1’s finale featured hordes of zombies. What can you tease about an equally intense sequence this year?
I would say the more intense things are the emotional layers with what each character is being put through. I think it’s even more than the horror of the zombies. It’s the effects of loved ones, family and friends turning and what it does to you as human beings. Emotionally, we’re dropping in eight layers into the core and heart of this apocalypse.
“Fear The Walking Dead” airs 9 p.m. Sundays on AMC.
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