Pete Pitts stars as Roger Clay, one of the Saviors, and, boy, is he pulling off that mean, nasty thing in the above photo! He’s the one in the middle. You can see him in the photo below holding a weapon in his hands right behind Daryl’s right shoulder.
He might be “Negan” but he bows before the real one like the rest of the Saviors when in his presence. (third from Dr. Carson’s left)
I’ll have to admit when I received Pete‘s answers to my baker’s dozen of questions, they touched my heart and I was very impressed. This is truly a “rags to riches” story and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Richmond, Virginia, then moved with my family to South Carolina and Alabama briefly before settling in Tennessee, which I will always consider my home state.
How did you get into acting?
I fell in love with acting while attending Chattanooga State Community College. I was 22 and had just bought a house, and I was struggling financially, working as a kitchen manager of a steakhouse restaurant. I was seeking assistance with my college tuition costs and I saw a flyer for open auditions to become a student ambassador for the college. The position offered an hourly rate of pay as well as a partial scholarship. I attended the audition and was selected for the role, which allowed me to act in commercials and an online orientation for the college. I became enthralled with the art of performance immediately. After college, I spent years pursuing an independent rap music career while also working full time in many jobs as a waiter, chef, personal trainer, sales manager, bartender, landscaper, and even a janitor. I practiced acting during every job I worked. In 2015, I decided to seriously pursue a career in the film industry of Atlanta, and I have been acting in major movies and TV shows every since.
Was it always your dream to become an actor?
Yes, my first aspiration as a child was to become a “movie star.” At the time, I didn’t realize the difference between an actor and a movie star, lol. My brothers, sister, and I would act out scenes from movies or TV shows we enjoyed, such as Tim Burton’s Batman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I used to tie a pillowcase around my neck and run around the house pretending to be Superman. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee, and my family did not have much money. If I ever told someone in my hometown that I wanted to act in movies, they would usually laugh at me, or sometimes tell me directly that my dream was impossible and would never become a reality. I began to believe the opinions of close-minded people, and I largely abandoned my biggest dream for many years. I also toyed with the idea of becoming a lawyer, an aircraft mechanic, or a pilot, but acting was always something that I have considered my dream career.
What was your first acting role?
My first acting roles were very minor parts in church plays when I was a child. My first experience acting in a major Hollywood film was in 2015 when I worked as a background extra in the movie The Accountant in a scene with Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick. My first speaking role on national TV was in the show Murder Chose Me on the Investigation Discovery Channel, as I portrayed a “hospital witness.”
How did you get the role of Savior Roger Clay?
I worked hard in the Atlanta film industry for many months on multiple film sets, building relationships with many actors, filmmakers, and casting directors. After being encouraged by an actress who had portrayed a walker in previous seasons, I pursued a small part in The Walking Dead and got a role as a Savior in Negan’s crew. I created my character, Roger Clay, during the scene when Negan is introduced in the show, as our group surrounds Rick and his team.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the role, like having a backstory of any kind in your own mind?
Yes, I always develop a backstory for every character I portray. In order to more effectively display complex emotions, I feel that a character’s past should be clearly defined in order to explain what makes that character tick. For the character of Roger Clay, I used some of my own personal experiences and tragedies as mental fuel to bring more intensity to each scene. I also relied upon the backstory that I wrote of struggle, pain, loss, adversity, survival and eventual camaraderie that shaped the course of Roger’s life until the moment he met Dwight, who would later introduce him to Simon and Negan. Roger Clay is a very complex, troubled, and fearless character who has no family left except his Savior brothers and sisters.
Were you a The Walking Dead fan before landing the role?
I had only watched a few moments of The Walking Dead before working on the show, but I binge-watched every episode on Netflix after realizing that I needed to develop a better understanding of the world I was immersed in. I quickly became a fan of the show as soon as I watched the very first episode!
Did you experience any funny or memorable behind the scene moments on The Walking Dead?
Yes, way more than I can even list! I consider every actor and crew member who works on this show like family. We are a group of people who are very passionate about the film industry and the world created by Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple. On the first day I worked with Norman Reedus, he noticed me from about 20 feet away, stopped talking to a crew member he was engaged in conversation with, walked over to me, and extended his hand and introduced himself. Lauren Cohen also greeted me outside her trailer on my first day on set. The rest of the cast and crew showed me the same warm welcome. I have been blessed to interact in multiple scenes with these incredible actors and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined from them! We worked together in the freezing cold and in the sweltering heat, we have shared laughs and moments of emotional intensity, and I respect every one of these men and women tremendously!
You are a rapper and a writer. What can you share about that?
My life has been largely shaped by tragedy, struggle, adversity and determination to achieve a better life for myself and my family and make a positive influence in the world. As I grew up very poor, I was bullied and made fun of in school because my family could not afford to buy designer name brand clothes for me. I became depressed and developed an unhealthy self-esteem. I foolishly turned to drugs and alcohol as a teenager, attempting to mask or escape my emotional pain. I became addicted to crystal meth at the age of 16 and was suicidal. After eventually overcoming drug addiction, I used poetry, music, and movies to cope with my life’s situations and to gain inspiration from others. Music and the performance arts always touched my soul. I felt a deep connection to the poetic expression of rap music, and so I began writing and producing my own rap music. I produced an album called Short On Time, which is available on iTunes, with my group Self Made Click. Guest features on our album included rappers such as Project Pat, Lil Wyte and Jellyroll. We received international recognition for our music video Swagger Strong. My music is intended to motivate, uplift and inspire others, being positive in nature and devoid of the typical obscenities present in the vast majority of popular rap music. And that brings me to my book, “Path To Success.” After realizing how important it was to follow my dreams to the fullest extent, I began working full-time in the Atlanta film industry as an actor. Since I had to make great financial sacrifices to follow this dream, I lost my house to foreclosure and became homeless. I slept in my car between days and nights on film sets. Even though I was earning less money than I had ever earned, I was happier than I had been in my whole life, as I found myself working alongside legends like Clint Eastwood, Ice Cube, Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey, Robert Downey, Jr., and many more. During this time, I wrote my first book to document my personal journey that had led me to that point. I also intended to inspire and encourage other people to pursue their own ideals of success. I self published “Path To Success” on Amazon, and the book has already been changing lives by helping people work towards living the life that they always dreamed of. “Path to Success” contains my unique story and everything that I have learned about building character and achieving goals. I am so confident that my book will inspire and empower the reader to live a more fulfilled, satisfying and successful life, that I offer a personal money-back guarantee. If you buy and read the book, you will be inspired. I know of no other book that includes that guarantee. I am finishing my second book now, which will include short stories and poetry; my third book will be an illustrated children’s book created to inspire boys and girls, beginning at an early age. I will release many more works of music and writing in the future, as well as screenplays and cinematic music videos.
Source: Wrestling Junkies
Are there any new acting roles in your future?
Yes, fans will be able to see me in a wide variety of films, commercials, and TV shows in the near future. At the moment, I am doing some behind the scenes work on a new film with Sylvester Stallone, as well as making small appearances in several films that I cannot yet reveal. I particularly had a lot of fun working on the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which hits theaters in May, 2017! Feel free to visit my website www.petepitts.com and follow me on social media for more updates about my film, music and writing projects!
Has anyone been an inspiration to you in your life and acting career?
I am inspired in life by God and everyone I meet. I look for the good in people, and seek ways to learn something from every person I meet. My family, friends and fans are the driving force behind my determination to make the world a better place through my performances as an actor and musician and as a writer and public speaker. I study and learn from great leaders in many industries such as Bruce Lee, Dave Ramsey, Lewis Howes, Les Brown, Gullermo Del Toro, Eminem, Zig Ziglar, Will Ferrell, Brian Tracy, Edward Norton, Martin Scorsese, Denzel Washington, Alex Jones, Dr. Ron Paul, Sandra Bullock, Joel Osteen, Tupac, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Kubrick, Meryl Streep, Wyclef Jean, The Beatles, John Grisham, Bassnectar, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, John F. Kennedy, Dr. Kent Hovind, and many others. As far as people I have worked with on the set of The Walking Dead, I have derived immense inspiration from personally interacting with Austin Amelio, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Greg Nicotero, Andrew Lincoln, Steven Ogg, Joshua Hoover, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, and Chandler Riggs, to name a few. I feel so blessed to be doing what I do right now, and I continue to find inspiration in each moment and every encounter with others.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
My hobbies and interests include world exploration, motivational speaking, helping and serving others, inspiring people to follow their dreams, exercising, continual learning, laughing at comedy movies and performances, film making, cooking culinary masterpieces, and freestyle rapping. I love to spend time in different cities and beaches around the world, and I highly enjoy aquatic activities, particularly boating of all kinds. I am intensely interested in psychology, philosophy, entrepreneurship, religious studies, cultural studies, architecture, biology, history, finance, supernatural investigation, astronomy and art.
Is there anything you can tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
I have an Old English/American Bulldog named Champ The Amazing Bulldog who is also an actor. He has been in one major film so far called The Leisure Seeker in a scene with Donald Southerland and Academy Award Winning actress Helen Mirren. Champ was born with a cleft palate, abandoned by his mother, and told by 3 different vets that it was impossible for him to survive; they all recommended that he be euthanized. I refused to accept their advice, and instead I bottle fed Champ as a puppy and raised him with the help of some loving family members and friends. Now, Champ is 7 years old, happy and healthy, and he brings joy to people everywhere by performing tricks and amazing tennis ball catches, in addition to acting in films. He is another example of how success can be attained when you refuse to give up. You can follow Champ on Facebook and Instagram @Champtheamazingbulldog. Additionally, I am preparing to launch a podcast and show based on my book “Path To Success.” The podcast and show will feature guests from the film and music industry as well as inspirational thought leaders, entrepreneurs, educators and celebrities from around the globe. Our focus is to bring awareness of hope and inspiration to the world by sharing a plethora of diverse stories and topics of discussion. We will include entertainment, comedy, music, and debate discussions. We will talk about health, wealth, personal development, success, setbacks, and many other things. Fans are also invited to join our Path To Succcess Team, where they can not only receive unlimited support and guidance from our qualified Team Leaders, but also potentially earn money while working from home or travelling the world with us. We are building a movement to spread love, hope, respect, inspiration and joy worldwide. Our goal is to help heal the pain and despair that is ubiquitous in the world. We want to change the world by helping people overcome adversities, financial and economical challenges, emotional and spiritual pain, physical ailments and disease. We want to put an end to hate and racism and discrimination. Feel free to visit my website and reach out to me and my Team for more information! Thank you Judy for allowing me to share with all the amazing fans out there! I would like to leave you all with one final thought. Your life is never hopeless. The odds may be stacked against you, but you can always find a way to improve your attitude and your life. If I can overcome such incredible adversity and go on to perform in one of the most popular TV shows in the world, anything is possible for anyone! Don’t chose to let your past or even your present situation define you! Your future can be even better and brighter than you have yet imagined! Follow your heart, have faith, work continually, focus on your health, prioritize your values, develop an unwavering desire to improve, and you can live the life of your dreams! On behalf of the cast and crew of The Walking Dead, thank you all for being such incredible fans! We love you!!!!
I love this photo of Pete from his website; he looks so happy. After learning about his life, struggles, and adversity, it is nice to see him smile. It brightens up his handsome face like sunshine on a cloudy day.
Source: Pete Pitts
We’ve got a long time to go before The Walking Dead returns this October on AMC. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Pete Pitts as Savior Roger Clay.