Q: What did you know about Tyreese going into this season?
A: That Tyreese was going to go through a lot. That’s what Scott [Gimple] was saying. He was gonna get tested, and he was going to kind of get turned inside out. No actor worth his weight doesn’t want to take on stuff like that. So that’s been real gratifying and rewarding to be able to do that.
Q: We come back this year and Tyreese has a girlfriend. How’d you swing that?
A: Man, Melissa Ponzio is so beautiful and talented, I wish she and I had the opportunity to work together more. But it was awesome working with her. That was my mantra: Tyreese should have a love interest. I just didn’t expect Karen to die in the second episode. I want a love interest and I want her to be around the entire season — but Karen’s death is very pivotal in the storyline.
Q: Tell me about the scene between Daryl, Rick and Tyreese after he finds out about Karen. What was that like to shoot?
A: That was really intense man, because we’re all game, and we all love doing our own stunts. There was a lot of adrenaline, and the director was fantastic. It was kind of claustrophobic because that space was pretty small, with dudes throwing each other around.
Q: Did you strike some fear into their hearts?
A: I think so! But it’s not really about that. Tyreese is kind of locked-up, emotionally. Robert Kirkman was there and he said it’s not really about the fighting, it’s about him provoking somebody to help him unlock so he could feel and to help him be able to grieve for her. The physicality of it, it was…woo! When I was done with that one, I had to get in the hot tub, for sure. A lot of us have theater backgrounds, and I’ve done stage combat and the stunt coordinator loves it because we’re all game to get in there and mix it up without stunt doubles.
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Q: What’s your favorite Tyreese moment from Season 4 so far?
A: It hasn’t come yet.
Q: What do you do to get into character on set?
A: A lot of actors listen to music, but that’s not my thing. I just concentrate and get myself in the place and then go. For me, my own personal technique is to trust what it is and be in the moment. Music would take me out.
Q: Tyreese has an epic walker-killing moment in Episode 3 with the herd on the road. Did you enjoy that?
A: Hell yeah, that was crazy when they were all just coming at me. I got scratched up a little bit, but that’s ok, you gotta go for it. I was like, ‘Oh shoot: I gotta go at them!’