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Speakeasy with ... IronE Singleton

The quiet cast member of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' shares insight on 'T-Dog' and himself



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And now you got Lori's baby, and [T-Dog] is like, "What's going on? I'm pitching my tent over here!"

Where you a big fan of horror movies?
No! When I was around 5 or 6, my mom would take my brother and I to see every Friday the 13th and every other horror movie that came out, and she got a kick out of that. We were at the Rialto Theater and we'd just watch these movies and we'd be all scared and she got a kick out of watching us. She'd laugh and she'd see my brother over there whose almost two years older than myself, and he'd hold his hands over his eyes and he'd try his best to fall asleep, but I'd just be into it and it kind of traumatized me. So I had to cope with that and deal with it as best I could and having PTSD from growing up in the inner city, that just added to it. When my agent brought it ["The Walking Dead"] to me, I was like, "Umm, I'm not into zombies like that, not into Sci-Fi, horror." But when he said that Frank Darabont and others were part of it, I said lets give it a go. I said to myself, "I'm grown now," and can shake off the fear and once I got the script I was like, this is beautiful.

Has there been anything on the set in the past two years that freaked you out?
No, not freaked me out but some grotesque things from the zombies, because that's all the time. I will say that Well Walker (season 2, episode 4) ... that's a nasty one. I gagged perpetually. They thought they would have to stop shooting because I keep gagging. Greg Nicotero is a genius special effects artist.

So just curious, you and Dale are the only ones that they haven't tried to partner up with anyone.
[laughs] Oh, well I think they're saving the best for last ... in my Barry White voice.

Have you had any conversations about that - a love interest for your character?
It's come up. People are actually speculating that T-Dog is the father of Lori's child [laughs]. Wait until that baby is born and you see that black baby come out and people are going to be like, "When did this happen?" and T-Dog is going to be over in the corner picking his teeth saying, "... what?" [laughs]

People don't know you're a hometown boy. Tell me about your life growing up
It was rough. You know, its that typical life that you hear about in the news or in the movies. My mom was a crack addict and an alcoholic also. My father wasn't around, only saw him twice in my life. My grandmother was the rock - the matriarch. She was the one who raised me, or else I probably would have ended up in the foster care system, if not killed at an early age. I remember getting hit by a car when I was 4 or 5 and ended up at the hospital. [Actually] my brother and I both got hit. My mother was going somewhere and she said not to open the door. My brother is 5 and I'm 3 maybe, crawled out there and car hit me, luckily it wasn't going too fast. Ended up at the clinic and I think if it wasn't for my grandmother there would have been more incidents like that because she left us home alone a lot.

My mother was always in and out doing her thing. She started doing drugs when I was in the womb. It was one of the things I was teased about growing up; they used to call me a crack baby. But crack wasn't out then it was Heroin. But my grandmother provided a stable home, cooked a good meal, nursed me back to health when I was sick, and she did what she could do with what she had, and that saved me. I made it through that - the parties that ended in gunfire. But they all came together when my mother died when I was 18 from HIV-related illnesses. And after that I could have gone either way, my brother went left and been in and out of jail ever since and I ... went right and used it as an opportunity for growth and decided to not let her die in vain. I said, "I'm going to make sure that her life meant something. I'm going to make sure the world knows Cet's [pronounced "Ket"] son." So my first production is going to be under Cet's Son Productions.

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