Thanks to OCS which broadcasts The Walking Dead in France, Movies was able to chat for ten minutes with the very friendly Seth Gilliam aka Father Gabriel in Robert Kirkman’s horror series.
Some of you also know him for his participation in Oz, The Wire or Teen Wolf. Seth Gilliam has been hosting our evenings in front of our small screens for 20 years.
Here is our interview with him. We could evoke behind the scenes of The Walking Dead, the departure of Andrew Lincoln, the audience drops of the series, the dirtiest scenes to shoot, the “dirty” hair of Norman Reedus, the fans, and of course the cult The Wire.
(Seth Gilliam in Paris for the 10th anniversary of OCS)
“This is the dirtiest show I’ve ever been to. It turns my stomach around and freaks me out.”
Are you a horror fan?
Seth Gilliam: No, I’m not a horror fan. I am a fan of science fiction.
Did you know The Walking Dead comics before you were cast?
Honestly no. I had no idea what I was getting stuck in at all. I was just aware that this was a series that worked. But since I’m not a fan of gore and horror, I hadn’t watched it. One day I made up my mind to watch 15 minutes of the first episode and ended up watching the entire first season in one go. Then after my audition, I continued with the next three (Seth Gilliam only arrived in season 5). But everything was very fast. Barely 96 hours after my audition, I was already on the set.
Since you are not a horror lover, what are the scenes that disgusted or shocked you the most?
All of them! They all shocked and sickened me. This is the dirtiest series I know. She turns my stomach over and freaks me out (laughs).
Do you have a scene more striking than another in mind?
The one where you have to put on meat ponchos when Alexandria was invaded by walkers. In order to escape, we had to dress in sheets covered with tripe and dead meat, it was incredibly dirty. I don’t know what Greg Nicotero (head of special effects) and his team put in those putrid clumps but it was slimy, lumpy and unpleasant. We had to spread this stuff all over us and there were fruit flies buzzing around us, it was like we were carrying real rotten meat. It was awful.
How hot is your priest costume under Georgie’s blazing sun?
He’s incredibly hot. I sweat all the time. They don’t need to put any makeup on me, I’m constantly sweating like a hostage. My outfit is black from top to bottom.
What do you know about scenarios? Are they only giving you your part to avoid spoilers?
We have the full scripts. We collect them a week before the start of filming of an episode. We have a week to learn the dialogues.
Do you follow the fan theories on the net?
No. I don’t read them. But they tell me about it. Fans who come to see me at conventions like to share their theories. They are often incredibly inventive.
Do you have a theory in mind that we reported to you?
I heard that Eugene was secretly in love with Father Gabriel. This explains why he has a concern with the relations between Rosita and Father Gabriel. But he doesn’t even know how to admit it to himself. He tries to convince himself that he is in love with Rosita when it comes to Father Gabriel. I thought it was interesting.
“I was shocked to learn of Andrew Lincoln’s departure.”
Was Andrew Lincoln’s departure a surprise?
Yes. Completely. But after the shock, I understood his decision. Being so involved in the show for so many years was getting too heavy for him as his family was in London and he was due to stay much of the year in Georgia. What surprised me was that he chose to leave before the end of the season. But once I found out how the writers planned to deal with the after Rick, I thought to myself that this has to be cool. That there is a time jump of a few years is a great idea. This helps keep a mystery around what may have happened during this time.
Who is the funniest on set?
Josh McDermitt who plays Eugene. He has a very dry, cerebral sense of humor. But if you ask him the same question, maybe he’ll tell you I’m the funniest (laughs).
What about Norman Reedus’ hair? Are they as dirty as they look? Have you ever dared to touch them?
(Laughs). I try as much as possible not to touch Norman’s hair. So I can’t really answer. But no, for nothing in the world I …