Meeting Seth Gilliam

The normal font is Carola speaking. The Italic font is Liv speaking. And the bold font is a quote of Seth Gilliam's Q&A


Seth Gilliam was born on november 5th, 1968 in New York. He is best known for his roles in series like:  "Oz" (Clayton Hughes), "The Wire" (Ellis Carver), "Teen Wolf" (Dr. Alan Deaton) and "The Walking Dead" (Father Gabriel), but also for movies like "Starship Troopers"  (Private Sugar Watkins)and "Courage under Fire" (Sgt. Steven Altameyer). He loves his work in movies and television series, but his true passion is acting on stage.

I remember being really excited when Dutch Comic Con announced Seth Gilliam as a guest. not just because the Walking dead is awesome, but also because I've seen Seth in Oz and the Wire. And Oz is my favourite series ever, I was really happy! As was I. Oz was pure brilliance and brought out the best in every actor in it. 

 

At Dutch Comic Con there were constantly people at Seth's desk. I was doubting what to do. Go for a photo op or an autograph. And when? Now, later, tomorrow? We decided just to start with attending his Q&A. That's a nice way to start. At the Q&A, there were mainly questions asked about The Walking Dead and Teenwolf. And also a question the Wire. We heard some interesting information :).

One of the questions was: If you cold be any other character on The Walking Dead, who nwould you wanna be?

And this was his answer:

 

 (SPOILER ALERT)

            "I think Carl would be a fun character to play, you know. I mean it would be

                   hard for me to play 30 years younger than I am. But aside from that, that

                        character has like...you know....He's a kid in the zombie apocalypse. What is

                            that like to play? The horrible things he had to do and change into. Having

                        to ill his mother to deliver, like, his sister..you know. That's intense hardcore

                                stuff! Getting shot in the face?!? In the eye?!? You know that's hardcore stuff!

                 Carl would be fun to play, yeah."

 

           (END OF SPOILER)

 

 

Fun Fact : When asked this question last year Michael Cudlitz said he would choose to be Judith .He also told that Norman Reedus tackles him on the set of the Walking Dead (Yeah, try to picture that!) The question was about funny things that happened on set and his answer was the following:

 

"Norman seems to be able to get away with everything he wants

to do. So far in the time that I've worked with him, he has tackled me four times.

We were doing the scene in the barn, before the storm comes and the

walkers try to get into the barn. And I kept walking over to Andy, 'cause I

wanted to talk to him about the scene. And every time I got close, Norman

would tackle me. So it happened three times in a row and then I started 

looking out for him, like you know, Oh he's not in the barn, let me go talk

to Andy and then I'd get tackled from behind.

And I was like: Well,I would love to be comfortable enough to tackle

him back, but he works out. So ....I didn't."

 

For "The Wire", he spoke about the neighborhood they filmed in and the autenticity it gave to the series. 

 

       "They let the people who actually lived there know we were shooting. And

then in turn, the directors and the executive producers saw that these 

people were fantastic characters. So quite a few of them wound

up being in the show, you know with a line here and a line there.

And I think it helped for the authenticity of the show and it helped

to ground it in the world of Baltimore very much. You know when I first used

to watch 'The Wire' and I had the scripts so I could read them,

I had to watch it with closed captioning on in the bottom of the screen.

Because I just wasn't understanding the slang, because I'm from New 

York, which is very different from Baltimore. I had to have people

explaining it to me and I think part of that is because they were using

people from the actual neighbourhoods we were in. And so they brought 

that authenticity yeah.."

 

When he was asked if "The wire changed his perspective on the drugsproplems he talked about  what he thinks of the program that was used to handle it at that time :

 

 

 "I think it was designed to keep people down. And I think it

was misguided. I think it doesn't work and it dehumanizes 

people. I think there are far better ways to deal with a

drug epidemic than to imprison people. I think it's wrong,

but I had that perspective going into 'The Wire'. 'The Wire'

just helped...because I was working with people much 

smarter than me....to illuminate to me the different

politics of how and why it goes down. I just  knew that basically

it just seemed wrong."

 

And the last thing I want to highlight in the Q&A on Saturday is the way Seth looks towards humanity:

 

"You know I think I'm a lot more hopeful than 'The Walking Dead' is 

about humanity...you know...It seems like 'The Walking Dead'

is uhm...you know it's a very dark, brutal show and I would like to  

hope that if our societal structures went away tomorrow, that people 

would be better to each other and for each other and with each other.

A little bit of that hope dwindles every day,, but I still try to mantain it 

because I think that it's possible. And I think that it's a positive way that

I can affect the world around me, by not giving up. And I think that

is what people who have given up, want you to do as well."

 

 

It was great to listen to the Q&A. Though I wanted to know so much more. Especially since there hadn't been an Oz question at all. But I hadn't made up my mind about what I exactly wanted to know. (Though I talked to Sig about questions for Seth and we dicussed asking which role he preferred in Oz: Being one of the CO's or a prisoner). Liv and I hadn't decided if we wanted to go for an autograph or photo op yet, or when. So, I thought thatt would probably  be something for the Q&A on sunday, since time was going so fast already on saturday. 

 

But then at the end of the day, around 16:00 o'clock, we walked to the artist alley again. We saw that there was only one person at Seth's desk. So walked towards it, discussing that maybe this was the exact right timing for an autograph. I felt quite relaxed and I actually wanted to go now for an autograph. No queue, time to talk. Sounds great, So we went in line and as soon as my mind realised I was IN LINE FOR SETH GILLIAM, all my 'relaxedness' was GONE. I was just thinking OMG, what am I doing? What do I say? And then it was our turn and I had to choose between running away (But well, I couldnt return anymore if I would do that haha) or just stepping forward. And we stepped forward, courageous as we are! At that point I wasn't thinking at all, my mind was blank. And I stepped forward like my automatic pilot was on. And my automatic pilot was feeling courageous.

 

We shook his hand, and I asked the question Sig and I had been talking about (And also talked about it with Liv). This was my chance to do some OZ-talk! He answered that he liked both, but that being the CO was very interesting. The journey he follows as a CO, tryng to find out what happened to his father, it was great to play. The storyline is quite intense. He plays the son of a CO, who was shanked while working and didn't survive. While the story develops you see him shifting from a guy who wants to do a good job and find out what happened, to a guy that is being torn apart by feeligs of revenge and hate. We chatted some more about OZ and both Liv and I picked a picture for an autograph. (I picked a picture of Seth in the Walking dead with the meat poncho).(And I picked one of him as Father Gabriel with the priest costume. This was in black and white and that's what I liked about it) I also asked if we could take a picture. And we could!!

 

I was so happy and impressed afterwards! It was one of the first times  actually said more than "You're great" and "Thanks". And he was really nice, we got to take a picture and actually have a chat. I remember just being overwhelmed with this happy feeling. I immediately went to get a red bull ( I know, whyyy????) I was already bouncing up and down. Yes you were, you obviously didn't need  that extra shot of energy. But I think I know how you felt: I was in need of a cigarette real bad after this haha.

 

Day 2: We decided to attend the Q&A again. The line for asking questions was quite short now. Liv and were still feeling invincible, so we decided would be brave enough to also ask a question! Liv can probably best tell about her question:

Firstly I need to tell why I asked this question. On Saturday-night I read that Seth is a Beatles fan. I thought that was great, because I'm a huge Beatles fan too! During the beginning of the second  Q&A I was thinking about this and I just had to ask him a question about the Beatles. So I built up the courage to do so and walked towards the mic. My question was short but simple: "Who is your favourite Beatle?" . And a short question deserves a short answer:

 

"John Lennon. ( I nodded approvingly) Yes, yes exactly Lennon-McCartney,

not McCartney-Lennon. Lennon-McCartney for a reason, baby!"

 

I was over the moon when I walked back. If only I had known this the day before. I could have talked about the Beatles, with Seth Gilliam!!! But in a way I did by asking this question so I was more than happy.

My question was: Who was your favourite other prisoner in Oz? Yeahh.. I decided this Q&A needed a little bit of Oz :). And he gave the exact right answer. He said his favourite was Adebesi. (I earlier already wrote about Adewale, the actor who plays Adebesi). Liv filmed me while asking my question. It's so fun to hear! I remember just having this big smile on my face while he was answering. It was interesting for me to hear that Adewale would never tell how he kept the hat always at the same place (at the side of his head). He would never tell any of the cast.

 Check out the video of my question here:

My conclusion probably won't come as a surprise to you! I loved meeting Seth! Nothing to add on that. Although on screen he does not always play the most loveable characters, in real life he is absolutely fabulous. Very normal and down to earth. Great guy! 

 

Cheerio!

Write a comment

Comments: 11
  • #1

    joanna (Friday, 08 July 2016 19:12)

    You are so lucky to meet all these actors. How do you do it? I've read many of your posts and you always get to meet someone famous. Good for you! :)

  • #2

    Carola (Friday, 08 July 2016 19:20)

    @Joanna: We often go to fan conventions here in Europe (We go to either Belgium, Germany, UK or stay in the Netherlands). There we meet all the actors! This was in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

  • #3

    Claire Marie Algarme (Saturday, 09 July 2016 07:05)

    This is a good opportunity to meet someone you only get to see on television. How fortunate you are to talk with him about his roles. It is nice to know things from an actor's perspective. I used to watch The Walking Dead when I still have cable TV. But now that I moved back to the province, I no longer have a chance to watch it.

  • #4

    Jessica (Saturday, 09 July 2016 08:21)

    This could have bee one of the best meetings. Of course, I got excited when I see famous people that I adore, so how much more to be able to have some Q&A session. :)

  • #5

    Jerzee Benavente (Saturday, 09 July 2016)

    It's thrilling to be able to converse with popular personalities such as Seth. I've watched walking dead for a time and been watching him as Fr. Gabriel Stokes. I can just imagine the feeling of being able to do Q & A with him. Looking forward to read more from you.

  • #6

    Johna (Saturday, 09 July 2016 14:11)

    Wow! That's so great. I would've love to meet him in person too. He looks so nice :D :D

  • #7

    Berlin (Saturday, 09 July 2016 17:25)

    That is why he looks so familiar! He is Father Gabriel in The Walking Dead. I like his acting. He looks like a tough and serious person. I am so happy for you you get to meet him in person. He looks nice and accommodating in those photos n

  • #8

    Sonnie (Saturday, 09 July 2016 17:37)

    I do not know the guy (sorry :( ). But meeting and listening to a guy whom we admire is not only cool, it's a rare opportunity that we should not pass.

  • #9

    Maria (Saturday, 09 July 2016 18:29)

    Wow! Another one! Though I'm not a fan but I really do dislike his character on TWD. It was annoying at first (because I only watched a few episodes) but I don't what happened next to the priest. Anyway, I do hope you get to meet Sara Lance or Laurel Lance!! :D

  • #10

    Ella Ivoire (Sunday, 17 July 2016 16:31)

    I love your blog. It's the first time coming here but you three seem just my type of people hehe! Seth is in fact a great guy, I mean he is a Beatles lover after all :)

  • #11

    Malaika Fernandes (Saturday, 10 September 2016 13:25)

    Wow lucky that you got to meet him. Looks like you had a whole load of fun