Seth Gilliam is going to have a grand role to play when he makes his debut as Father Gabriel in season five of [The Walking Dead](series:201193). If you recall, 'TWD' creator Robert Kirkman promised us a while back that he would be introducing lots of new characters soon, some originating from the comics and others being completely made-up. So, it seems like he has made a good choice in bringing forth this very interesting character from the comics.
Father Gabriel made his comic book debut in issue #61, giving Rick and his group his church as a place of refuge. Apparently, he has a dark past, and so he might be trying hard to atone for that. It remains to be seen whether or not Scott Gimple ('TWD' showrunner) decides to stay true to the source material, or diverge from it a bit for more originality. Personally, I hope he does a bit of both; the show is at its best when it is introducing new story arcs, in my opinion.
Recently, Father Gabriel portrayer Seth Gilliam sat down with EW to discuss his newly-landed role. Asked about the casting process, he said this:
I actually did not realize I was reading for the role of Father Gabriel during the casting process. The sides were for a school guidance counselor named Michael, who had an issue with a couple of his students. I had not seen the show before I was cast on the show. So I just thought, okay, I guess they've discovered some guy who's holed up at a school or something like that and was carrying around this horrible exchange that he had with his students.
Gilliam also mentioned that he ended up getting a call about a week after he had auditioned from Gale Anne Hurd (executive producer of 'TWD'), in which she finally explained to him the role he would be playing.
Interestingly enough, and having never seen the show before, Gilliam had to binge-watch the first three seasons on Netflix. By the time he reached season four, he had already begun working. However, he has not read the comics nearly as much, only the issue in which his character debuts.
I didn’t read anything before that, and I haven’t read anything after that. I discovered from reading about the show that often times characters’ names and journeys are kind of crisscrossed and mismatched, so I thought if I did read too much I might be giving myself a lot of information that would be useless, or just outright wrong. So I figured, like with everything, I’d just take the script and try to fill him out the best I possibly can.
That might prove to be a good strategy for Gilliam, because surely he has figured out that the makers of the show love to add unique plot twists that cannot be found in the comics. It makes for more intense viewing for us fans, and it also allows Gilliam some flexibility in terms of how he goes about playing Father Gabriel. So, if Father Gabriel from the show starts to resemble his comic book counterpart less and less as the upcoming season moves on, it might just be Gilliam's own doing, which would not necessarily be a negative thing if he can make his character appealing.
Furthermore, he was asked what it was like joining the incredible cast of The Walking Dead, a cast that rotates every few episodes, it seems.
It was pretty intimidating because it’s a well-oiled machine. But Andrew Lincoln was the first cast member that I met. And the guy has got a heart the size of the Grinch at the end of the Dr. Seuss story where it just grows and grows and grows. So he made me feel instantly welcome, and instantly a part of it. And everyone after that, I mean, they’re the warmest people and they’ve done everything they possibly can to make me feel like I’ve been part of it from the very beginning. But yeah, I was pretty intimidated by it, by the immensity of the show, the popularity of it, and also the depth of it.
As intimidating as it surely is, Gilliam is indeed getting the chance to work with very kind people like Andrew Lincoln. Not only will they make him feel welcome, they will help him make the most out of his 'TWD' experience, which could be very limited.
And speaking of popularity, Gilliam's popularity on social media has skyrocketed since the announcement of his casting as Father Gabriel was made.
I have an Instagram account that had maybe 29 followers on it before I got cast on The Walking Dead, and I think I’m now at 3,859. [Update: now 4,071.] And it grows daily.
And not only on social media, but on the set as well. Everyone knows how engaging and rabid fans of this show can be, and Gilliam is evidently starting to witness that for himself.
You know, there are some times the fans camp out outside locations where we’re shooting, waiting for people to come by. And they’re rabid for it, but they’re lovely people. So it’s interesting because a lot of people that stop me on the street now and they talk about The Wire, and they all have the same question: “How come they took that show off the air?” Because you guys weren’t watching it when it was airing! [Laughs] And you come to it On Demand or on Netflix or whatever else. So this is the first time I’ve actually been on a show where it’s popular while it’s airing. And I was not prepared for that, and I’m not sure that I ever will be actually.
That's very cool! I am more than certain that every single fan of the show is behind Gilliam as much as I am, and we are definitely rooting for him and wishing him nothing but the very best. The loyalty of 'TWD' fans everywhere never ceases to amaze me, and it is a gigantic reason why the show is as popular and as dominating (in regards to TV competitiveness) as it is.
If you wish to read the entire interview, click HERE.
Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel is...
Don't forget to catch Seth Gilliam and the rest of the cast in season five of The Walking Dead, which will debut October 12th.
[All images from: TWD Enthusiasts]