Comic Image Credit: Skybound/Image Comics

According to Reg E. Cathey, who plays Chief Giles in
Outcast, his character is a true southern man who deeply loves the town he’s from. Unfortunately for the Chief, Rome, West Virginia, isn’t the quiet, peaceful place he’d like it to be. Faced with forces beyond his control, Giles must figure out what the people he’s sworn to protect are up against.

What did you and Robert Kirkman discuss in terms of bringing Chief Giles to life in the TV series?

From the very first, Robert said the character in the comic book is white, and he said, “But don’t worry, I’m going to write a human being.” Which is great. “Great man. I can’t wait to see what human being I get to bring to life.” When Robert first talked to me about it, he told me that in the comic books the sheriff is only in one or two little scenes, but he was going to make him a much more substantial part than that.

Did you work out a background story to get into character?

I had a long discussion with [showrunner] Chris [Black] and Robert and a couple other people. But I like the writers to write it. As an actor, I like the surprise and the challenge of trying to make what’s on the page come alive. It starts with the writing. If it’s not on the page, it’s not going to be on the stage. And I knew from The Walking Dead—both the comic books and the show—that Robert was a formidable writer. So I knew it was going to be fine.

How would you describe your character?

He represents the audience in a weird way, where he’s witnessing what’s happening, and he hasn’t made up his mind about what it is or if it’s real or if what’s happening is mental illness or something that his dear friend the Reverend says is something else. He gets to go on his own little journey.

What would you say is Giles driving force?

Giles is from Rome, West Virginia, and his family has gone through all of the things one would expect a black family goes through in the South. So his friendships and connections are concentrated. Growing up with Fire Marshal Ogden and the Reverend, knowing Kyle’s family so well, being a part of the good, the bad, the brutality, the wonderful hospitality of the South; he’s a southern man, and he loves his little town, and he wants the best for it. And it disturbs him what’s going on. And all of that is dealt with really delicately and really beautifully throughout the series.

Can you describe your character in three words?

First, I would say family. And I mean that in a Southern sense of the word, where it’s not just one’s immediate family, but there’s a closeness of friendship where it becomes like a family.

Second, challenge. He embraces any kind of challenge, whether it be trying to be the police chief and be black in the South, to the challenge of dealing with a supernatural event because his friend says it’s happening.

And third, that brings me to loyalty.  

So I would say: family, challenge and loyalty.