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 "Teen Wolf". And also a question about "The Wire". We got some interesting information :).
One of the questions was: If you could be any other character on "The Walking Dead", who would you wanna be?
And this was his answer:
"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 kill 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 .
Seth also talked about pranks on set and how 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 drugs problems, he talked about how he thinks about 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 Seth during 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. 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 that question 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 4 p.m., 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. 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 couldn't 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. I stepped as if I were on automatic pilot. 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 feelings 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 I 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 explain, 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!