Terry Crews on the Thin Line Between Horror & Comedy, Tales of The Walking Dead, & More

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The latest entry in The Walking Dead franchise is off and running.

Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1 aired Sunday night, and TV Fanatic got the chance to speak to Terry Crews about stepping into this universe.

Check out the interview below.

In the Bunker - Tales of the Walking Dead

TV Fanatic: Were you a fan of the franchise before signing up?

Terry Crews: Oh, I've been a fan since it started!

I got to go back into history because I'm a big fan of the zombie genre because of Night of the Living Dead.

Seeing someone like Duane Jones, a black man who was a hero, I had never seen it before, and I watched it probably about 10 years after it was made. I couldn't believe what I saw.

A New Plan - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

At the end of that movie, it was like social commentary. That really, really hit hard. And I thought, if you can craft horror this well, you can send a brilliant, beautiful message.

With The Walking Dead, it really examines humanity because it takes everything to its limit. One minute you're a hero. One minute you're a villain, and then it reverses again.

We're all potential heroes and villains. The thing is, the dead is something we could all deal with, but it's the living we have to worry about, you know?

All of your roles are infused with humor, which is something we don't usually see on The Walking Dead. How important was it for you to have Joe cracking jokes?

Cake for Joe - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

My thing is I always see comedy and horror as two sides of the same coin. Because when you talk in comedy, the whole rule of comedy is to build tension. You build tension, and then where the laugh comes is when you release the tension, but with horror it builds attention.

And then the fear comes. So, it's really two sides of the same thing, except you can either get a laugh or you can get a scare.

We have these brilliant comedic performers who do well in horror like Jordan Peele. He knows comedy so well, but he can also do that twist on all his movies.

He's this amazing, horror sci-fi kind of guy.

Joe Takes Aim - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

I also go back to the moment in The Thing when you see this head walking away on spider legs, and the guy says, "you gotta be effing kidding." That was the joke, but holy shit. And you laugh because the tension has been brought to such a place that you must release it.

I think that's been my whole career, for me looking intimidating and being big and strong and threatening, and then all of a sudden, it's the opposite. It's a release. It's like, "whoa, wait. I thought he would be like this."

That's been my career in many ways, but with this, I get to go darker. Because Joe is left alive, there's got to be more. I would welcome it, but I think there will be a lot darker moments and a lot more intensity to come for them.

This was a great episode to establish Evie and Joe in The Walking Dead world. And I think things will get very dark for both of them.

Undead Friendship - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

Joe and Evie were opposites at the beginning of the episode, but they slowly started to get one another as the episode progressed. What did you like the most about showing this bond between these two people?

What I love is the fact that opposites do attract. Here, Joe is this realist. He's a man who has been prepping for the end of the world forever. And you know, he's distanced himself from family.

He's been alone. It's just him and his dog. And when the dog dies, he knows he has to have some connection, but here comes Evie, who is this vegan, very ethereal non-realistic woman. 

To Joe, she's in a fantasy. And it's like wake up, and I think Joe feels like, "wait a minute, I have to save this lady, or she's gonna get herself killed out here."

But what I love is that Evie and the hope that she always brings is the one who ends up saving him. And I think that's just what a brilliant twist.

On the Bike - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

Being real keeps you in a negative spot, a negative spiral, but Evie's positivity is the thing that saved Joe and gave him hope and helped him see himself. It's brilliant. I thought it was a really beautiful story, and as I said, it's the perfect episode to establish these characters.

The arcs are beautiful. I would love to do more. And now, with all these different spinoffs, there are like three different ways I could still exist in this beautiful world.

Joe wanted to meet with Sandra until he met her and realized the apocalypse had made her question everyone's intentions. What was your reaction when you read the script and found out how that scenario played out?

The catfish thing is real. Like, most of the people on the internet aren't real. Yeah, it's funny. This is why Elon Musk won't buy Twitter. He's finding out that half of these guys aren't real people, and this is a thing. It's a reality when you're talking about never meeting people but living vicariously.

Questioning Their Next Move - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

And here you could see he was on some chat room that he had printed out before everything went down. It was pretty primitive, but he didn't see what she really was. And I think that that's the power of what the internet does: that someone with less than great intentions can hide in anonymity and manipulate everything and do a lot of damage.

The thing is, to get catfished in today's society is not what it used to be like. How do you know what's real or not? You can't even know if the news is real anymore.

It is a testament to finding out about people and seeing people in real life because you cannot replace meeting people again.

We live on social media, but it's just not a real world, and Joe had the unfortunate incident of actually meeting his hero, and that didn't end so well for her.

Taking a Page from Another Book - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

Joe was so determined to stay inside, but Evie helped him realize that even with its horrors, the world was still a beautiful place. In your mind, where do you think Evie and Joe landed after the final scene?

I would love to see it because one thing about The Walking Dead universe is that if anything looks hopeful, look out.

I'll never forget the moment when it looks like Carl and those guys are going to get out, and then Carl gets shot in the face and loses his eye. Like, what in the world?

I think there are very dark times ahead for both of them, but I also think they will make it through because they trust each other.

Joe Has a Drink - Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1

It's that mentality. Because they're very giving, I think they're going to find some people who will take advantage of them. And I think that almost has to happen.

The catfish incident was just the beginning of the dark journey they're about to embark on.

Tales of the Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Tales of the Walking Dead Quotes

There's nothing wrong with getting older. Come on. Let's finish this outside.

Joe

Joe: What'll happen first: the world ends or I pay off my shelter? DotTheEye, my hubs would leave me if he knew I upgraded to a platinum bunker. My sister thinks I'm too depressed. Let me tell ya, she's the one who's not seeing things clearly. You and I, we're just getting ready. My husband, Tom, he passed last month. I'm alone now. I'm so sorry. But you got me. Digitally, at least. You're the only one who gets me. Let's meet IRL. feel the same. But meeting? Are you afraid? Goddamn coward.