Josh Turner as the Tattooed Savior
Josh Turner is the Tattooed Savior, one of Negan’s henchmen. We’ve seen him with the other Saviors at Alexandria and also at the Sanctuary. He was even with the group that took our Survivors hostage before Glenn and Abraham were slaughtered.
Source: AMC (both pictures)
You can see the Tattooed Savior standing to the right of Dr. Carson before the doc met his gruesome end at the hands of Negan.
When I sent Josh his baker’s dozen of questions, I told him we could also add extra questions and answers if he wanted to. To my surprise, he was open to the idea and ready to get things rolling! I really enjoyed this full, expressive interview and hope you will too.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Indiana, and grew up back and forth between Indiana and Tennessee.
How did you get into acting?
I have been a pro-wrestler for over 13 years which helped me a lot, honestly. I met a guy by the name of Jesse Vint who is a legendary actor. Jesse is a member of the Academy Awards. When I met Jesse for the first time, we sat and talked about wrestling and acting. Jesse told me I should really look into acting. I decided to give it a go and went to an audition.
Was it always your dream to become an actor?
Honestly, my dream was to become a Ninja Turtle or a pro-wrestler. After realizing it was impossible to turn into a giant turtle, I went straight after my lifelong dream of being a pro-wrestler. Being in acting and an actor just came along. After doing it once, I knew this was something I could also see myself doing more.
What was your very first acting role?
My very first role was on TNT’s Leverage with Christian Kane and Timothy Hutton as a Southie Thug. We had to capture Christian Kane and hold him down, and then they turned it around on us. It was a very cool experience. I got to see “squibs” being used for when people got shot. I got to shoot at cars, which was a lot of fun. It is what really made me think “This is incredible!” and I wanted to do more. No matter what I was doing, I just always wanted to be around it.
How did you land the role of The Tattooed Savior?
I was lucky and blessed enough to be picked for it, based off my looks and my tattoos. I get asked all the time if any of my tattoos are “Hollywood tattoos.” That’s a solid No, all of my tattoos are real. I am tattooed all over. They loved my tattoos. So I became the Tattooed Savior.
I noticed a few of your tattoos stand out, such as the words Love & Death on your arms. Can you tell us why you got those on your arms and any other tattoos that may have a special meaning to you?
I got those because the meaning of Love & Death is really close to me. In life we find someone that we love and grow close with. We give them all our love and we love them until literally “Death us do part.” But then we find emptiness in our life and some go out to find love again. I feel like Love & Death play a big part in so many of our personal lives and that you should love someone to and through death always. I also have my kids names tattooed on my arm with their zodiac signs. Then, for my dogs, I have their names and paw prints. I have fireworks with the words “Never Forget.” That is for my child that was taken in tragedy and passed away. The first time I got the chance to hear the heartbeat in utero was on the 4th of July.
Were you a The Walking Dead fan before landing the role?
Yeah, somewhat, I had watched the show and thought it was pretty awesome. My daughter, Kaylie Turner, was a child walker in Season 5 Episode 6. That made my interest in the show increase. I had to watch it in order to see her, which was just amazing. She did such a great job and was a fun experience for the both of us.
So, your daughter, Kaylie Turner, is an actress. Can you tell us a bit about her and what she has done?
My daughter, Kaylie, was on The Walking Dead in Season 5. She also had the pleasure of starring in Term Life alongside Vince Vaughn, Terrence Howard, and Hailee Steinfeld. She was one of the spokeskids for the 2016 Nascar – The Chase web series. Kaylie has been a part of many other shows like Homicide Hunter, Killer Couples, The Red Road, and so many other great shows and films. You can check out Kaylie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KaylieBTurner
What has been your favorite acting role?
That’s a tough question, because it’s like wrestling, there are so many favorite moments that you have. I enjoy being the bad guy. I loved this one local horror film we shot. I was just this brutal, evil dude who loved to attack people. And then there was The Ultimate Death Match films. With them being wrestling-based films and getting to be myself, TKO, on screen, I really enjoyed that. I could go on and on. I find something to enjoy about each character or gig that I do.
I read the article by Susie Graham on undeadwalking.com about your life which is so moving. Because of the circumstances you grew up in, how do handle the aspect of Negan and Lucille?
I use the thought of it as just part of the show. Thankfully, through my own personal battles and growing, I have learned from everything. I have been able to accept more as I grow older. I know that my past is just that, my past. There is no changing it. Even if I could, and some may find this crazy, I wouldn’t. I have become who I am today because of it. Having faith has allowed me to overcome it. My Grandfather always said, “My success story is written by the hands of God for me to share with others.” I fully believe that.
Were there any funny or memorable behind the scene moments you experienced?
There were tons of them! Everyone on that set is so laid back and such great people. They are all so humble, and just a pleasure to be around. Everybody has a good time. You can tell they enjoy being able to be part of something so great. What makes it so cool is when it comes time to be serious and do the work. You get to see them transform and get done what needs done. The fun seriously never stops on that set. It is such a pleasure and a blessing to be even a small part of such a great show with so many talented people.
Do you have any new acting roles in your future?
Yeah, I try to keep busy and moving on. I am looking at a few different films with a couple of different up and coming directors and filmmakers, as well as some that have been in it for a while, which will allow me to do a wide range of characters. You will get to see me as the bad guy, the hero, and the funny guy, as well as the serious guy, romance and drama, which is what I am really excited to do again. I am always looking for my next chance to be a part of something great, big or small.
Who has been an inspiration to you?
God is and always will be a huge inspiration in my life, as He is the one leading us in His plans and will for us. Then my Grandfather; he taught me so much. Not just because he was my Grandfather but because he was the nicest man you could ever meet. He would do anything for anyone and be there for them when they needed someone the most. He was hard working, and all about his family and living for the Lord. My Mom, she always worked so hard to make sure that we had anything we ever wanted. She always supports me in anything I do. My Mom and Grandfather always said, “Don’t hold back, go for it, if it is meant to be, God will lead you to the success He has in store for you.” As I have gotten older, my children are an inspiration to me. They inspire me to do my best. To prove that nothing is impossible as long as you work for it and give it your best. I want my kids to know that nothing is out of their reach. They can be anything as long as they work for it, keep their faith, and trust in the path they are being lead to follow.
What can you share about your work with Fighting for Autism and Diabetic Warriors?
Fighting for Autism contacted me after a wrestling event I had done on behalf of the charity for them. They requested that I become an ambassador for them. I said “Yes” in a heartbeat and that it would be such an honor and true blessing to be a part of such an amazing cause. Then, as I became more involved with Fighting for Autism, we were talking. I told them about Martinez, Elizabeth, Lindsley, Billy, Roe, and my tag partner, Lane. They are all so talented and such great people with big hearts. I knew they would love nothing more than to be able to help the cause and those currently Fighting for Autism. Martinez, Roe, Billy, and Lane attended the same wrestling event with me for the Fighting for Autism Charity. The Diabetic Warriors is such great cause, as well. It is to help raise awareness for children and anyone battling with Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes). Diabetes is something that my own family has dealt with closely. My Grandfather and my Father had it, as well as other close family members. My tag team partner, Scott “Insane” Lane, suffers from Type 1 Diabetes also. He lost his vision in one eye due to complications from his diabetes. Together we are the tag team Krazy Insane, which shows even more that, no matter what you are dealing with, you can overcome anything. That is really what Fighting for Autism and Diabetic Warriors are about. We serve as ambassadors to help bring awareness to each of these issues. I also do a lot of work for Toys for Tots, The Children’s Miracle Network at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and The Smokey Mountain Children’s Home Orphanage. I personally feel like it is the least I can do, to give back on behalf of the blessings that God has given me and to share them with others. One other thing I urge people to do, please look into their local Animal Shelters. Volunteer or see if you can donate anything to help the animals out. They really rely on us to be there for them and it is not their fault that they are there. We are their voice.
(Okay, I’m officially in love with Josh now! Not only does he do things for children; he does things for animals; my two great loves!)
I noticed you started a whole new Unicorn Trend, on behalf of yourself and Billy Holt. Can you tell us how this came about and how you started this Savior Unicorn frenzy?
HA! Yes, Billy Holt and I were doing an interview together for a show called Beatz Mode. During the interview, I called Billy out for having a unicorn tattoo on his backside. They asked how I knew and I told them that at the last wrestling event Billy and I had attended together, he was changing in the locker room. He must have let his guard down and some of the other wrestlers and I had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing his rainbow unicorn tattoo. Billy became embarrassed and #TeamUnicorn and #UnicornPower and the #UnicornMovement came to life. Because, honestly, it was just too good to pass up and let slide. By calling Billy and his unicorn out, everyone else has jumped on board, too. Unicorns are awesome and bring joy to people, and we all can use a good laugh.
(NOTE TO BILLY: How come I didn’t know about this tattoo when I did your interview? I think I need a picture of that tattoo!)
Source: Photo supplied by Josh Turner
You’ve had some big roles on the show Nashville and Under the Dome. Can you tell us about those?
Both of those shows were such an awesome experience and so much fun. On Under the Dome I was one-half of the Jeter Brothers; we were the bad boys under the dome. On Nashville I was Jolene’s boyfriend. Jolene was played by Sylvia Jefferies. She is one of the most beautiful, talented actresses there is. It was a lot of fun and everyone on that set was so incredibly nice and great to work with. My trailer was next to Sylvia’s and the little girl that was playing the young version of Juliet Barnes. We had a chance to get to know each other, which in turn made working with each other so much easier and better.
I heard you were one of the stars of the Ultimate Death Match Series alongside Kevin Nash, Raven, Sandman, Shane Douglas, Kid Kash, Lady Amazon, Wrestling and MMA Hall of Famer Dan Severn, along with many other wrestling superstars and legends. Can you tell us what it was like working with those guys?
That was an awesome time. One, because being a pro-wrestler and then getting to be myself in the films made it so much easier, plus being around so many great guys from the business made it even more fun. A few of us were already close friends before going into filming. Lady Amazon, Melissa Coates, Kid Kash and I all knew each other, which allowed for even more fun times between all of us. In the first Ultimate Death Match, I took a barbwire crutch to the face in the ring. It was real barbwire and the blood that was pouring down my face was also real. The barbwire got stuck in my face. I told the guy I was working with to kick the crutch as hard as he could in order to break the barbwire loose from my face. Those films were such a great opportunity to be a part of and I will always remember them as good times.
How long have you been a pro-wrestler?
I have been wrestling for over 13 years now; I started when I was 18 years old.
What made you want to become a pro-wrestler?
Growing up, I loved wrestling. I loved watching it on TV and seeing these two larger-than-life guys fighting and putting up such an incredible battle against each other. It was just amazing to watch. Then seeing all these people in the crowd cheering and booing them, the crowd backing the good guy, and being so mad at the bad guy. It just seemed like the most amazing thing in the world and the feeling I would get as a kid watching it. I knew I had to do this and see what that feeling really was, what it felt like being in a ring in front of a live crowd with no second chances, no retakes. It is right there and live. You’ve got only one shot at it. When I got that chance, it was the most amazing feeling in the world and I knew this was it. I was at home.
Where did you come up with your name “TKO” as a wrestler?
Well, according to everyone that personally knows me, it is not a name. TKO, The Krazed One. It is really who I am and just a way of life to me. I am Krazy; I have no filter and will really just go out there and do anything without thinking twice about it. I’m all about being out there and making everything I do something fun and something special and wild as possible. Plus, coming up in the wrestling world, I was always willing to do anything. I didn’t care if it meant getting hit with barbwire or having fire thrown in my face, I would do anything and have no fear.
Where did you begin wrestling at or did you go to school somewhere for wrestling?
I started in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Ohio Valley Wrestling School. At the time Ohio Valley Wrestling School was the official training school and facility for WWE. OVWS was and still is the best place to go if you want to learn how to be a pro-wrestler. Rip Rogers is the head trainer. Rip knows the business like the back of his hand. When going to train, you really challenge yourself and have to push yourself way beyond any limits you could even ever imagine. That is what was good about training at OVWS, it really pushed me and challenged me to do better and be the best I could be, in and out of the ring.
Do you have any other fighting, training, or abilities?
Yeah, I have trained a little in Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Greco Roman Wrestling. I did a few unsanctioned fights, which was a lot of fun. I also used to do some underground fights for money. I’ve never claimed, nor would ever claim to be the toughest guy. But I damn sure would never back down and not be willing to take on the guy who claimed he was. The thing about fighting; it is not for the self-pride to call yourself a badass. It is a true passion and an art. You are really a part of something that is a personal battle and a personal lesson with yourself. If anyone does it just to be a tough guy or a badass, they are in it for the wrong reason and will get hurt. You never want to underestimate anyone. Professional fighting is like a game of chess. It is a fight, yes, but it is well thought out; you plan your attack and study your moves and your opponent’s moves. It truly is an art brought to life through combat.
How can fans keep in touch with what you are doing next, or if someone wanted to have you be a part of their next film or wrestling project, where can they reach you?
They can follow me on Twitter @SaviorTKO or they can check me out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoshTkoTurner.
Is there anything else you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know?
I have four chihuahuas. They are like my kids, which tends to crack people up because they think I would have big dogs.
Go out and support Josh and the other Saviors as they Fight for Autism. And bring your pet unicorn along! Or better yet, bring a stuffed unicorn toy our wrestling Saviors can pass along to the children!
Source: Photo supplied by Josh Turner
I hope the Tattooed Savior makes it through the war that is coming on The Walking Dead. I’ll be watching, as well as looking for Josh on all his new projects. Tune in on AMC Sunday nights at 9/8C to see what happens and tell me what you think @sassypoo.