Chad L. Coleman on his new Arrow baddie: 'He's like Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and Suge Knight all rolled into one'

The producers behind The CW’s Arrow have promised the series will be getting back to basics in Season 5, and one big change is the season’s new baddie: the imposing gangster Tobias Church.

So, we caught up with the man bringing him to life — The Walking Dead alum Chad L. Coleman — to talk about what it’s like to jump from the zombie apocalypse to the mean streets of Star City. When the casting sides first hit, Coleman’s character was described as a “ruthless crime lord” in the same vein as Idris Elba’s Wire drug kingpin Stringer Bell. The (seemingly) new gangster creation will be trying to fill the power vacuum left behind by Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E.

Check out our chat with Coleman below, where he talks about everything from who would win in a fight (Stephen Amell better watch out) and the interesting real-life characters he’s tapping for inspiration:

The obvious question: What can you tell us about Tobias Church, your new recurring character on Arrow?

Coleman: Tobias Church is a badass who likes to throw his intelligence and sarcasm around. Depending on your IQ and ability to negotiate on  that playground will decide your fate, which involves brass knuckles! (laughs)

This seems to be an original creation for the TV series, so what types of characters (comic-based or otherwise) are you looking to for inspiration?

Coleman: He wants to be King of the Underworld and take out Arrow. He's on a mission. I told producers he's like Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and Suge Knight all rolled into one!

Your character has been described as an imposing gangster looking to consolidate power, so how do you think he'll fit into the dynamic on Arrow? 

Coleman: He’s a great addition to the show because he brings that street edge that we all know and love.

What specifically attracted you to the role? Are you looking forward to (seemingly) playing a straight-up villain?

Coleman: Of course! The opportunity to play a villain on a well-established series is exciting and definitely something that grabbed my attention. Not only that, but the character is something you've never seen before. Think Kevin Spacey kind of smartass, who kicks ass!

You've obviously already worked on one comic book show, The Walking Dead, but what's it like getting prepped to walk into something a whole lot more (for lack of a better term) comic book-y in the DC superhero universe?

Coleman: This world is so juicy because of the larger than life nature of it, so Tobias Church is a force to be reckoned with! But you can't beat Jack Nicholson as the “Joker" in Batman!

Mano-a-mano, who wins in a throwdown? Tobias Church or the Green Arrow?

Coleman: Stay tuned people! Dat Green Boy bouta feel dat "Brass Asswhupper." (laughs)

Coleman will make his Arrow debut in the Season 5 premiere, set for Wednesday, Oct. 5.

*Header photo credit: Bobby Quillard, Lilyan & Julian

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