Hey Everyone! Welcome back to another episode of Creech Questions! This is CJ Creech, and our guest today is none other than T-Dog himself, Mr. IronE Singleton! As we just mentioned, IronE played T-Dog in “The Walking Dead”, but you also may have seen him as Alton in the Academy Award Winning Film, “The Blind Side”. IronE is currently performing around the country on his One Man Stage Show,” Blindsided by the Walking Dead”. The Show is based off his book of the same name, and covers IronE’s Struggles growing up in Atlanta to the trials and tribulations he experienced on the path to Success. Without Further Ado, Let’s get to the questions!
CJ:In “The Blindside” your performance was what many would call your “Breakthrough” Moment. In preparing for the role of Alton, how did you prepare to play a character that was in part based on a real person?
IronE: When I was coming up, I met and was around a bunch of “Altons”. I grew up in the inner city of Atlanta in a housing project called “Perry Homes”. I think I was there when it was at the peak of the violence and the onset of the drug epidemic of the 80s, when it was at its worst. Being in that world, it does something to you. When you have drugs and violence all around you as a child, it has a certain type of effect on you. I was able to witness those characters, those people that were similar to Alton. I just went back to my experiences when I was preparing to play that role, so it wasn’t that hard to just kind of go back to my past.
CJ: How did your involvement with “The Walking Dead” come about?
IronE: My Agent, out of Atlanta at that time, contacted me and asked me if I was interested in doing a zombie TV show. Having been exposed to so much Horror as a child when I was four or five years old; My mother would take me and my brother who was a couple years older, and we would watch “Friday the 13th”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, and “Halloween”, and that stuff freaked me out! I didn’t want any part of any horror or anything.(laughs) So when he told me that, I wasn’t too interested. UNTIL he told me that there were some legendary producers on board in Gale Ann Hurd and Frank Darabont. So that peaked my Interest. I said, ‘Let me check this out. An opportunity to work with someone of their caliber”. I read the script and the sides, the audition piece that is, and I liked it. I said this seems to be pretty cool, So I auditioned and Frank liked what I did. Well, the first time I played it a certain way because the name T-Dog suggests something about the character. I played him somewhat kind of street-like. More so, similar to the character that I played in “The Blindside”, but less Menacing. Frank didn’t want me to play it that way, so I played it another way and he liked that which led to me being cast. The rest is as we say, history. (laughs)
CJ:Out of the 3 main settings that T-Dog was featured in(Camp/Hershel’s Farm/Prison), What was your favorite to perform in?
Irone:As a matter of fact, I just answered a question similar to this one a few minutes ago. I would have to say although they all have a special place in my heart because I was able to make so many long lasting relationships doing the show for three seasons. But If I had to choose one, I would have to say the campsite because I grew up a mile or less from the campsite. Years prior to that when I was coming up, I was ducking and dodging bullets and just trying to survive living in poverty. My whole life I experienced that, so to be on the set of a major Hollywood production was surreal. That was the same place where it was very likely that I could have ended up being killed or arrested, you just never know when you were living in that world. I looked back on it and was like, “Man, I’ve been really blessed and favored by God to have made it out of there and to be here, just a mile away from where I grew up.” I was there all the time and seeing these places, and shooting where I used to run those same streets as a kid. It was so surreal, so I have to go with the campsite from Season 1.
IronE: Whoa, Yes it was! It was a great thing that things were moving so fast and it was so chaotic because we definitely needed to keep moving because it was 27 degrees that night. (laughs) It was freezing cold! If we didn’t have all that action and just had say the scene with T-Dog and Dale on the roadside, that would have been a tough shoot! That would have been a tough night, my feet would have been freezing! Plus, we had hundreds of zombies, so we had a bunch of bodies there which created some warmth also. It was very chaotic, it was just the way you put it.
CJ: The end result was an amazing episode. It seemed to never slow down. Even now, It’s one of my absolute favorite episodes of the show.
IronE: Thank you! I really appreciate that. I’ll tell you this (laughs). If you watch it again, when I was driving the truck, which I thought was really interesting as I had never had that experience before as an actor: of driving a vehicle and having to drive so slowly. If you look at Andrea and T-Dog, we were pounding these zombies and bowling over them with the truck. I was driving maybe 5-8 mph, but it seems like I was going 30 mph. I probably wasn’t even going over 5 mph, but the way they worked the camera made it look like I was going a lot faster. But pay attention to that episode the next time you see it, so you can see we’re not going that fast at all! (laughs) You reminded me of that, and it kinda made me chuckle.
CJ:Speaking of funny stories, do you have any other funny stories either on or off camera from “The Walking Dead” that you’d like to share?
Irone: (laughs) I can recall Daryl, who’s played brilliantly by Norman Reedus. I can recall him referring to my sausage links as poop. I got in the van and was headed to the set, when we picked Norman up. He got on the van that morning and I had some turkey sausage links, and he went “Aw man! What’s that? Poop?” (laughs) I got to the set and we were shooting the Well Walker scene. The Well Walker is probably the most grotesque looking zombie I’ve seen on the show, even since then including season 4. I haven’t seen a walker yet that can top that Well Walker. Do you remember that episode?
IronE:Yes! That was Season 2, and while we were shooting that scene, I was reminded of what Reedus told me. So the image(of poop) kind of clashed with the image of that walker, and I started to gag. I couldn’t get through that scene without gagging, and I just kept gagging. The Director noticed I was gagging and came over to me and said, “Irone, I like the gags. That’s pretty cool, I like that decision. But let’s do it again without the gags. Let’s not Gag.” (Laughs) I thought it was kind of funny, because I was like “I can’t help myself. I’m just gagging.” This Walker was just so nasty and filthy looking, that he thought it was just a personal choice of mine as an actor when it was not. It was just a gross walker with Daryl adding to it by ruining my appetite that morning before we shot the scene. But we got him back, CJ! I got him back! (laughs) During the opening of Season 3 when we were in the house, the scene where Carl was getting ready to eat the dog food? Do you remember that?
CJ: I sure do. Lori went from not showing to being about to pop (laughs)
IronE: Yeah! I think the place was already a mess when we got there. I believe somebody had some squatters to get in there the night before we shot. We had already solidified the location, but I think some people went in there that night when they shouldn’t have, and took a poop. (Laughs) Near the fireplace, there was some poop , either by a dog (or human.) Daryl(Reedus) was standing by the fireplace. We knew; Everybody that was in that scene knew there was poop in there except for Reedus and Lincoln, who plays Rick in case there is anybody who is not too familiar with the show. They were the only ones who didn’t know, and I didn’t tell them anything. Daryl backed up and stepped right into the poop (laughs). I didn’t tell him as I remembered all too well the Well Walker scene from Season 2. Just goes to show you: Karma is real! (laughs)
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK