September 28, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season 7 - Cast Q&A

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What amazes you most that it is Season 7 of The Walking Dead?

It amazes me that my boots are still attached to my feet.

Was it harder coming back this season knowing where you left off?

I didn't fully take on board how hard it was going to be until the read through, and then it was... We're going to have to do this... We're going to have to do this episode. It's one thing reading a script. Then there's actually having to do it. You get a sense of the summit you have to climb.

At what point in filming did you feel like you were back in production?

Pretty much the first day I felt it. Within about 20 minutes, I was in pain and said, “Ah... this is familiar. I must be home.” This particular episode as well because it's a direct pick up. It feels like no

time has lapsed from the hiatus. It's all very, very fresh.

What is the hardest part about knowing the outcome of the Season 7 Premiere?

It's the greatest television job I've had in my career, and it's also the hardest because you know you're saying farewell. It's the Johnny Cash song: “everyone I know goes away in the end.” It’s unique in that way. It's one of the excitements in that it keeps evolving. It has to by definition. We're telling a story, and the story has to move forward.

What does the character Negan bring to the series?

We are seven years in and we are only unleashing now probably the greatest villain of the series. It's a very thrilling and exciting time. It does feel like we are smashing everything and starting over.

What makes Negan more of a threat than those Rick has been up against in the past?

The Governor was much more about secrets. You didn't know what the Governor was doing. Negan is very clear. He is very open with the people he meets. There is a charm, but there is a terrifying logic as well.

Has Rick met his match at this point?

Without a doubt he has, absolutely. Everything is changed. The playing field has irrevocably changed.

What does Jeffrey Dean Morgan bring to portraying Negan?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is amazing. He feels like a presence who has always been here. That's how easy it has been for his assimilation. He's also having a lot of fun, which is key to this kind of role. You need to be having a great relish. I love acting with him. He's so in it, and he makes great choices.

How do you hope the audience feels after they watch the Season 7 Premiere?

I hope they recognize the effort and the commitment that everybody – crew and cast – has put into this returning episode, like always. It's palpable.


As they kneel, what does the group realize about the world now?

They realize they are not driving the car. There is somebody else who has a lot more territory than they do who is calling the shots. It’s super interesting and great that there is a character that is going to put fear into them. One of my favorite parts of the Season 6 finale is watching Rick be not in control. Rick has lead these people for so long and he might have just lead them all into the water to drown.

What does Daryl realize?

Mistakes will end your life.

What makes Negan more dangerous than anyone this group has come across?

Negan is a cold-blooded killer and he’s got the numbers. He’s got an army of people who all call themselves Negan. They are doing everything he says. There’s no way around that right now.

How is Negan able to Stop this group in its tracks where others have failed?

Fear. Fear is a bigger motivator than love or revenge or anything else. He is putting fear in people and that does wonders. It is particularly cruel because he uses a nursery rhyme. He’s not remorseful and it’s not personal. It’s just going to happen... just to keep the order.

What does the future look like for the group?

It looks really bad. It looks like they are about to have a complete change of lifestyle. We know Negan has people, but we don’t know the expanse of his tyranny.


Last season, why did Glenn agree with Rick to attack the Saviors?

Glenn is fighting his classic battle – pragmatism over compassion. The one thing that checks his pragmatism is his heart. I don’t think Glenn sees any other option that his heart can push in any other direction but to do what Rick has suggested.

Why did Glenn step in and kill for Heath when they attacked the Outpost?

After Glenn kills the first Savior, he knows that it takes a part of your soul to do it. Why not let someone keep that? Why have someone go to this place when he doesn’t need to? Since Glenn is already there, he tries to take it upon himself to let Heath still preserve himself.

In what way did the group underestimate Negan’s power and capabilities?

There is a cockiness to the group, not arrogance. We think we can overcome all odds. Last season, Glenn says we were wrong about the world, it is much much bigger. And now we have to figure it out all over again. The threats that we have experienced are not even close to the threats that are really truly out there. It is definitely a humbling moment, but I still wouldn't count out our cockiness.

Tell us about filming the Season 7 Premiere.

As an actor, you strive for moments like this where you get to feel something, whether it be terrible or good. We've established quite a story and quite a show. To come to this point is a milestone. This only makes the show better.


Why did Maggie cut her hair?

It’s a suit up. The group felt they had a handle on what was out there. They were ready to move forward to take control in a way we wanted. Interestingly, as soon as she gets prepared for that next stage, she folds into the pain that propels them on this terrible journey into the hands of Negan.

How does Negan impact The Walking Dead story?
It’s not an impact – it’s a completely unrecognizable remnant once he comes onto the scene.

In what ways did Maggie underestimate Negan?

Little did we know Negan is this complete sadist that takes so much pleasure out of inflicting such great pain on people. To me, Negan feels like this horrible undercurrent that’s been there the whole time that we haven’t realized, and now it’s rearing its head from every doorway you can imagine. It’s like how bulls have little flocks of birds that live on their backs. We’ve been there not knowing we were all sleeping on this giant scary bull. We are upended.

What is most dangerous about Negan?

He can read people very quickly. He is a very good judge of character despite being a despicable character.

What do you hope fans will feel watching The Walking Dead this season?
I hope that people feel the certainty and bravery of putting other people first. As difficult as the struggle has been for our group, the thing that they do right is think of each other and think of others. Part of the appeal for working on this show and being a fan of this show is the tribe. Being a part of something, knowing who you are, what your part is in it, the impact you make on other people’s lives, how you better a situation by giving of yourself, and you have a place in this family. That is what I have learned, and I hope that can be passed on.


How has the introduction of Negan impacted The Walking Dead?
It’s fascinating and a whole new dynamic for the show. Negan is a very charming character, but at the same time a psychopath. Negan is by far the most dangerous character we’ve come across yet. You are going to hate to love him.

In what way did Carl underestimate Negan’s power and capabilities?

Not only Carl, but the entire group, underestimated Negan’s power. They’ve beaten Terminus and the Governor and a bunch of other groups so they did not think Negan and the Saviors would be that big of a problem – until they are all on their knees.

What does the future look like for our group?

It looks very grim and very dark. The group has been put into a very submissive position by Negan. He is ruthless and he does not care. If someone steps out of line, he just kills them. That makes him a very dangerous character. There is not a lot of hope for the group.

Tell us about filming the Season 7 Premiere...

It was really an amazing experience because all of us learned so much about how each character works and how each other work together. I don’t think any of us will forget.

What is it like working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan?

He is so funny. He brings a whole light to the set. All of the cast and the crew love him so much, which, for me, sucks because I have to hate his guts, but he’s such a nice guy.


What was a defining moment for Michonne last season?

Now that she has a whole new level of intimacy attached to who she is and how she functions in the world, that is definitely an adjustment for her. In some ways, it’s made her even more aggressive. This is a man, from the beginning, she could respect.

Were they wrong in attacking the Outpost?

It is hard to have simplistic morals and standards when you are dealing with a world that is this hostile. In terms of what happened, they were actually trying to help a situation not happen. They’ve had a lot of experience of people doing really terrible things they trusted, and they should not have trusted these people. It was smart, but they didn’t realize the magnitude of who they were up against.

Why is meeting Negan and the Saviors such a humbling moment?
It is like what Rick said at the end of Season Five – you are messing with the wrong people. Well, we just did that. We just messed with the wrong people.

Why is Michonne defiantly staring at Negan as she sits at his feet?

She is in a moment of utter powerlessness, which is beyond maddening for her. There is certainly rage and a desire for something to just give them a little bit of a way out of this, but there really doesn’t seem to be one. The only thing she has is her eyes.

What makes the game Negan plays with them pure torture?

It’s a plausible circumstance that someone could do exactly what that man is doing. We are not in a position at that moment to make it any different from what it is. It’s the juxtaposition of Eeny Meeny Miny Moe with I am about to kill one of you – it’s horrific.

How does Negan change the landscape of The Walking Dead?
They have never seen this type of force in this world yet. The game has changed. We hope we can still play it.


How should fans prepare to watch the Season 7 Premiere?
It’s going to be rough. There is no way to prepare for what is going to come. You think you know what is going to happen and the way it’s going to happen. You are not prepared for what is coming.

Carol isn’t Suzy Homemaker anymore, is she?

The persona that Carol is taking on is a little bit different than the one she had in Alexandria. She has a little more sass.

What does Ezekiel add to The Walking Dead world?
What this character has in the Kingdom is something very different from Terminus and from Woodbury, and something that Alexandria maybe could become. This colorful leader, from the goodness in his heart, genuinely wants a better world for the people in the Kingdom. What motivates him, how he follows through, how he takes care of the people – I don’t think the fans will be disappointed in Ezekiel or his sidekick.

How is working with Khary Payton?

Once Khary gets the hair on and his voice going, it’s an amazing transformation from the actor to the character. Working with Khary is super special. When anybody comes into The Walking Dead family, we like to embrace them and make them feel like they are home. I don’t know how they gather up the kindest, most interesting, wonderful people to work on this show.

Describe Carol and Morgan’s relationship with each other...

Carol and Morgan are in conflict with one another with their points of view. Morgan himself is so kind. He doesn’t have a mean bone. Carol is kind too, except she can’t go to that place. It’s going to be interesting to see these two together this season.


What led Abraham to start a relationship with Sasha?

The defining moment happened when Abraham is on the bridge when he literally looked death in the face. He breaks up with Rosita and that puts into motion the idea of a future. He ends it to start the rest of his life with Sasha.

Where is the group at the end of the last episode?
The Season Finale is great because, from the minute it starts, you know it’s not going to end well for so many reasons. There is the claustrophobic element of the RV and the ticking time bomb of Maggie getting sicker and sicker, forcing us deeper and deeper into this trap. It starts closing in on us roadblock after roadblock. Everything about this is implying the size of the force that we are dealing with is way larger than what we have and what we have ever encountered. We are not dealing with people who don’t know what they are doing. It’s terrifying to us.

Was the group too confident dealing with the Saviors up until now?

We were looking at things as separate threats. It’s a dangerous world, and it appears it is run by one guy that we knew nothing about. We have no idea of the size, scope, command, and the tentacles that

this group has. There are no answers, and we are not in a position to get them, because, in this moment, we don’t matter.

Where do things go from here?

It’s The Walking Dead, we lose people. I’m eager to see how the loss changes the group. And there are other groups we still haven’t met yet.


How is it getting to work with Melissa McBride this season?

I like to work hard to make it easy and that is what happens with Melissa. I genuinely believe if you asked any of the actors on set who do you most enjoy doing scenes with, every person would say Melissa. If she were English, she would be a Dame and she would be as close as we could get to Knighting.

Where is Morgan and Carol’s relationship at the start of Season 7?

Morgan has a huge amount of respect for Carol. He sees in her himself, mostly his pain. He gets her. What pulls Carol away from him is that it is uncomfortable for someone else to see your pain. That’s where they are at the beginning of this season. Morgan has not caused the dilemma Carol is going through. Carol was going through that before he arrived, but he hasn’t helped it.

Is Morgan able to trust more now?

Morgan doesn’t trust anybody, but that doesn’t mean he is not willing to trust people. He has had plenty of examples of how good and how dangerous trust can be.

We get to see the Kingdom this season. Is it a fairy tale or a dangerous illusion?

It is all about survival. We can’t decide how other people make it through. And certainly Morgan can’t decide how other people make it through because his path has not always been a fairy tale. A large part of it has been a nightmare. Morgan is not going to be judgmental.

Why does Ezekiel call himself “King”?

If you’ve got a pet tiger, you can be whatever you like. In this world, all the leaders we’ve come across to a great or lesser extent are playing a role. Every time Negan comes out to play with Lucille, he’s putting on a show. The guy we’ve been following is a town sheriff who wears a holster, with a gun at his side, and a cowboy hat. Even Deanna was playing the senator in a world where there is no senate.

What is one of the things you are most excited for this season?

Me riding the horse. It’s the thing that tells me I’m not in Kansas anymore. I’m a kid from South London. There are not too many horses there. The idea of me jumping on the back of a horse and riding around is just the most exciting day every chance I get to do it.


Sasha How did Sasha and Abraham fall in love?

After the deaths of Bob and Tyreese, Sasha was in a pit of despair and in a pit of walkers. She eventually came to the other side, looked across the way to him, and saw he was in a place she just came from. We see the strength in each other and that is what pulls us together more than anything. We are very much partners in war and a love was birthed from that. Abraham is life after survival.

What makes Negan the most dangerous person this group has encountered?

He is using psychological abuse. That makes him different and more dangerous than anyone we have ever faced before. In his mind, he is more valuable than anyone else and that is sickening.

What made Negan successful at stopping the group in its tracks?

It was immediately alarming running out of the woods with Maggie on the stretcher and the first thing you hear are all these piercing whistles. When we reach the clearing, it is deafening. It’s coming from everywhere. You hear before you see just how many people are here. Then the lights flash on and you are completely confused.

Is there a future as the group sits awaiting their fate?

To have your life in someone else’s hands, who will do whatever they want with it, it is a very chilling thing. Without hope, why live? That will be the hardest thing about the future because they are in a seemingly hopeless situation.


Tara was last seen going on a run with Heath.

Tara is doing what she can to get back to Denise and her family at Alexandria.

What makes Tara such a good character?

She sees the good in everyone, even to a fault. Tara is optimistic, and she’s optimistic when it’s hard. That’s who she has become. You are either going to cry about it or you are going to get up and do something. You are going to try and do whatever you can because the world is more important than just you. You have to look out for other people and take care of them. She’s a fighter.

How has the introduction of Negan impacted the world of The Walking Dead?
You’ve watched these characters grow together, fight together, and stick together through everything. Now you’re a little bit worried that maybe they are not going to make it through. Maybe they won’t stay together because there is such a force of evil coming from this man. He is the biggest threat.

What does the future look like for the group?

It’s pretty uncertain. You think if Rick is leading them, everything is going to be okay and everyone is going to do what they can to keep the group together. This is the first time you are unsure and you don’t know if anyone is okay.


Did Eugene overcome his self-doubt when he volunteered to drive the RV alone?

It was just another moment for him to display that newfound confidence. That’s exciting to see a guy who I feel like represents a lot of what most of us would be in the apocalypse if it ever happened – someone with no skills hoping someone protects them or they might die. Then to become a man of action, a man who will step up in the face of danger. In those situations, you have to continue to build your confidence.

How has Negan changed landscape of the world the group thought it knew?

We thought we were in this nice little community where our biggest worry was we don’t have enough food. Negan came in and made this world much larger than we thought it was, while making our world a lot smaller.

What makes Negan so threatening?

It’s a pretty sadistic game that Negan is playing using a child’s game to kill someone. It’s so nonchalant and everyday for him. It lets you know you are not in charge. You are not the ones pulling the strings anymore. This is a scary time for this group.

Is Negan unpredictable or does he have a plan?

This isn’t random. They are not one step ahead of us, they are 10 steps ahead of us. This is the ultimate chess match, and we don’t realize we are playing chess, and they do.


Does Rosita feel betrayed by Abraham?

It was traumatic and heart-breaking, but the break up was a gift to both of them, especially Rosita. The audience got to see her on her own and that she is a soldier, not just a follower. She’s learned it is best she is on her own. She works better that way. She is stronger that way.

What happened mentally to Rosita after Denise was killed last season?

She saw a person die whom she was responsible for and she feels a huge sense of failure. That was the hardest thing – death was right in front of her, and it could have been avoided. You see that register with Rosita. You don’t come between Rosita and what she believes is her job. Rosita was in charge of her, and you killed her. As a soldier, that is a huge issue for Rosita.

Was there any anxiety coming back to Season 7, knowing how things were left?

Only anxiety.

What do you think audiences will learn about the group in Season 7 Premiere?

All our characters are very tough, very human, very capable, and very strong. At times, they may seem invincible. They are not. That is a very powerful message. These people can hurt, can bleed, and can feel fear. They do not have control.

What makes Negan the most dangerous person this group has encountered?

He has no empathy.

Why does this cast come in when they are not working to give fellow actors eye lines?

That is common on our set. It’s not common in the industry. Our cast is so supportive. They might not even be in the episode, but they come to support you. We are genuinely invested in what we are doing here and we, as fans, want to see all the cool things others get to do too.

SETH GILLIAM | Father Gabriel

Why does Father Gabriel understand the group’s need to find Negan and the Saviors?

It is ultimately about preserving what they have at Alexandria. It is challenging for them all, but it also says if you want to keep surviving in this world you are going to have to step beyond yourself in many different ways in order to do that. Gabriel is capable of initiating violence of some kind and he is not going to have to carry that burden with him of what it means.

Gabriel wears not only clerical clothing, but carries a rifle.

He’s dealing with the duality of man. He is going to have to be a man of action, not just a man of thought. He is prepared to deal with the consequences of those actions. It’s been an incredible journey from hiding and trying to disappear to standing front and center and being able to face whatever challenges are coming.

What was a defining moment for Gabriel last season?

It was a key moment when the walker herd initially comes through the walls and he ushers his flock of Alexandrians into the safety of the garage church, and he does not stay with them. He runs back out feeling there has got to be something more that he can do. Gabriel of old would have just closed the door with them and tried to be as quiet as possible. He is willing to venture out not knowing what is going to happen or what he is going to do. It’s not enough to get them to safety and to shelter, but that he has to be more proactive in keeping them safe and sheltered.

How does Father Gabriel feel having regained Rick’s trust?

When Rick smiles on Gabriel, Gabriel smiles inside.

What does the introduction of Negan bring to the world of The Walking Dead?
Negan introduces calculated brutality. That is a very different dynamic than we’ve seen in this world.


How does Negan impact the story of The Walking Dead?
Negan has been a pervasive threat for most of last season. Even before he was revealed, there is this notion that he is everywhere. He is this ubiquitous force of negativity and darkness that is very terrifying. Just when they think they have the upper hand, they realize that they have only touched the tip of the iceberg. There is so much beneath what they think they know.

What is going through Aaron’s mind as they sit at Negan’s mercy?
This is the first time where not only Rick’s group, but Rick especially, is very aware they can’t overcome something. That realization washes over him like a horrible dream and there is no waking up from it. They have taken everything we have, not only our physical possessions, but our hope.

Does Aaron feel responsible for where the group currently sits?

Aaron feels a certain responsibility for this group and feels he screwed up by them getting to this place. He wants to make sure they can safely get out of this situation because in that moment there is no way out. Every single one of these people in this line up would die for each other.

What was the biggest moment that impacted Aaron last season?

[In the tunnel], as someone who has a partner himself and wants to very much protect him, he realizes Maggie is not just fighting for herself and Glenn, she is fighting for the life of their unborn baby. It’s not just these adults fighting for their future, it’s about protecting the next generation.

What may fans expect during the Season 7 Premiere?
It came off of a very intense emotional note last season and it’s going to go deeper down the well of sadness.


Last season, Spencer and Rosita appeared to be starting a relationship...

It was a really complicated relationship at the end of last season. We know that there has been a physical thing, and Spencer asked her out on a date and she didn’t show. There is tension there. She doesn’t understand him and maybe she doesn’t want to.

Why has Spencer always questioned Rick as a leader?

Spencer is walking this line of trying to do the right thing, trying to walk the line with Rick, trying to be true to what he thinks he should do. I hope he comes off as a very conflicted, interesting, smart guy. It’s intense playing Spencer. It’s intense being on this show. It’s an intense world they live in.

When did it feel like you were back to work on The Walking Dead this season?
I didn’t want to read the first script. I knew we were back at the table read, and then it was the ticks.

What are you most excited about for this season?

It’s going to be interesting to see the world expand. That’s going to be exciting to see incredible new characters come in, and what that means to the group and to the whole world. I want to see what happens with Negan and the Saviors, and what that does to these characters that we love.

This cast often comes in when they are not working to give fellow actors eye lines...

We are a team. We have got to help each other out and be there for each other. It’s the way to be.


What Is Heath Feeling When He Goes Out on the Run With Tara?

He is feeling a little bit of detachment from what he knows life to be, from what he knows how he has lived his whole life. He is starting to understand this world they are living in and what this world is becoming. It’s getting to him on a personal level trusting those people around him and seeing those people around him change. It’s hard to see the world around you crumble and feel like you are the only one who is trying to maintain a righteous life with morals.

Does He Blame Rick and the Group for All the Things That Have Gone Bad?

It’s hard for Heath to blame others. He’s very quick-witted and makes pointed statements, but he understands the totality of it all. He gets why Rick has to do what he has to do, but it’s something Heath isn’t sure he can live with.

What Is Heath’s Moral Compass?

He is human. That is what separates you from the dead. No matter how horrible this world is, we get to make choices. Every character is starting to figure out what life is.

When Did You Realize You Were Back on the Set of The Walking Dead?
First of all, it’s hot. This wig takes the temperature to a whole other level. And then you feel the struggle everywhere you look on set.


How Is Dwight Different Than When We First Met Him Last Season?

When you first met Dwight last season he has a romanticized vision of what the world should be like. He’s an idealistic guy. He wants the world to go back to how it was. He’s not used to the rules and what is going on. Then you see him at the end of the season and he has totally succumbed to this universe. He’s fully submersed in what the world is now.

Why Did Dwight Choose To Go Back to the Sanctuary and to Negan?

You don’t really leave the Sanctuary when you are under Negan’s thumb. He will find you and he will kill you. That’s how he works. I don’t think he understood the gravity of the situation. Negan is this weird dichotomy of someone that you hate and he protects you at the same time.

Why Does Dwight Hate Daryl So Much?

Daryl is a constant remembrance of who Dwight used to be.

What Are You Excited About For Your Character This Season?

I’m excited about the private moments you get to see with Dwight. You don’t know what he’s thinking.


How Did You Prepare for Playing Jesus in Season Seven of The Walking Dead?
I did three months of martial arts training before I came back with lots of kicking, punching, and different things with dummies and punch bags. We’ve been working out lots of cool ways to show off Jesus’ abilities and what he can do. I hope it lives up to the fans’ expectations.

How Good Are You at Killing Walkers Now That You’ve Been on the Show for a Season?

The interesting thing for me was learning to do it with the CGI knives which don’t have the blades on and making sure you do it with enough force and in the right way.

What Role Does Jesus Serve for the Hilltop Community?

He is the scout for the community. He recognizes that a problem shared is a problem solved. He sees value in that for himself and for the community.

Is Your Beard Real This Season?

This is all real now. Season Six we had to use some fakery with the beard and the hair, but, I’m very pleased to say, coming back for Season Seven I had enough time to grow all of my own hair out.


Why Did Gregory Make the Deal With Maggie Last Season?

To live another day and to have a little more life. He will take it over nothing because he is terrified of death. Keeping his people at Hilltop happy is important because it reflects positively on his image of himself.

Explain Why Gregory Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Guy.

This is a man who life has taught him bad lessons. He has been given positive reinforcement for negative behavior. He got away with it because he was confident and that confidence gave him power over other people. Once you are up against circumstances that are as dire as these that behavior becomes all that more crystalized. Yet, he finds himself amusing. That is his way of diverting reality.

You Describe Gregory as the Guy Who Thinks He Is the Life of the Party, but He’s Not.

Gregory is the one that invariably gives the big speech at the wedding thinking everyone is hanging on his every word when they are just saying to themselves, “Is he really going to keep going?” He is.

What Do You Hope for Gregory This Season?

I would like to see that he gets a laugh out of other people, not just himself. A lot of the time, people who get a kick out of themselves, others get a kick out of them too. There is something infectious about that. Hopefully we will see some people laughing, even if it’s in the background.


Were You a Fan of The Walking Dead Before Being Cast on the Show?
This is one of the shows that my wife and I stay current on. My wife is kind of crazy right now because she wants to know things, but doesn’t want to know things.

Tell Us About the Audition Process.

The audition was five pages long of me talking! It was one of the more substantial auditions I’ve ever done. I immediately called my agent and manager to find out if I was in the mix for this. Because if I’m not, let me just find a tiny island to go to for a little while so I can get my mind off of it.

Tell Us About Waiting To Hear if You Got the Part of Ezekiel.

It was about 3 to 4 weeks waiting to find out. I felt like a guy in a skiing championship. They have all these championship skiers and this one scrub who is okay. Let’s have him try out and go first, and he broke the record. You go sit in the clubhouse while we see how these other guys do. I just had to wait

to see if any of the other guys were going to go faster than me. They said nobody went faster than you – you get the dreadlocks.

How Much Fun Are You Having Bringing Ezekiel to Life?

It’s like somebody asked me what exactly would you like. I’m just going to check off a list of all of these things. Would you like to be introduced as a badass? Yes, I would. Would you like a large tiger that will do whatever you want? Yes, I would. Would you like to be introduced on the biggest television show in the world? It’s stupid what is happening to me. This doesn’t happen to everybody and this doesn’t happen every day. I don’t ever want to forget that.

What Is It Like Working With Lennie James?

It’s such a cool thing to work with Lennie James on this show. Andy [Andrew Lincoln] waking up in that hospital, you’re hooked from the very beginning. To have that secondary story happening with Morgan and his wife and his son made me feel like I have to watch every bit of this because it is such great work. That is the character and that is the guy I’m working with.


How Was It Joining the Cast Last Year, Knowing What This Character Does?

The introduction of Negan was hard, but to play this role for me is a dream come true. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s horrible for everyone’s sake.

How Did You Arrive at How To Portray Negan?

The way he moves is very unorthodox. I’ve changed how I walk, how I lean, how I talk. I saw one panel in the graphic novel where Negan is leaning back and laughing. That one panel encapsulated who Negan is for me. I have run with that panel. It’s part of his brutality.

Describe Your First Day on Set Last Season.

This was a big deal for them as a cast and as a family. They’ve gone through this seven-year war together. I had just flown in and had two days to film that episode. Hi meet Jeff. He is going to be Negan. This guy is going to kill somebody. Now kindly get on your knees for the next two days, and not only get on your knees, but act your pants off. You are giving a lot to someone you don’t know a lot about. They were awesome.

What Does Negan Know About the World That Rick Doesn’t?

There isn’t anything in this world that Rick doesn’t understand. Negan just goes about it in his own different way and sees a little bit more humor. Rick is a dark character. Where Rick went dark, Negan made a joke out of the whole thing. He found out that is a very effective way to lead people.

What Might Audiences Expect This Season?

You need to be very careful about what you wish for because you are going to get it and more this year. It’s emotional. It’s hard. It’s hyper-violent. It’s a lot to take. When the audience sees it, they will know exactly what “a lot” means.

What Do You Hope Audiences Feel Every Time They See Negan?

You won’t be able to see Negan without thinking of the premiere episode. What he does is so strong and so shocking. The way Negan inflicts damage is so original to Negan, that whenever he comes on screen you will not know what to expect.

What Should Fans Know About Negan?

He talks a lot. He loves the sound of his own voice. Don’t get lulled by that. The second you think it’s another Negan monologue, maybe it’s not.

What Surprised You Most About Joining The Walking Dead?
I had heard from the get-go that this cast was extraordinary with this family atmosphere with cast and crew, producers and network, top to bottom. I’ve never been around so many extraordinary people who love what they are doing as much as this group of people. You would think on year seven people would not care as much as they did in year one. That is absolutely not the case here. They go at it like it is day one, every day! 

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