WORLDSCREEN.COM – NEW YORK: Andrew Lincoln, the star of The Walking Dead, talks to World Screen about being number one on the call sheet and setting an example for the numerous cast members and extras on the sprawling set in Georgia.
WS: The last time we spoke, you had just lost your TV wife.
LINCOLN: That’s an occupational hazard in the apocalypse, I’m afraid. I’ve lost a lot more people since my TV wife. You know, we still correspond, Sarah [Wayne Callies] and I. She signs off [her e-mails] with DTVW—deceased TV wife.
WS: I’ve heard about the tradition of “death dinners” every time you lose a cast member to the apocalypse. I imagine you’ve had a lot of those in the last couple of years!
LINCOLN: Yes. [Laughs] It’s something I never really thought through when I agreed to do the job. I just thought zombies, apocalypse—not realizing that you make these incredibly intimate and tender and trusting relationships with brilliant actors and friends, and then you have to say goodbye to them. The bonus is I get to work with most of the Screen Actors Guild, in one job!
WS: And a whole lot of extras.
LINCOLN: They’re incredible. The people that play the zombies—the walkers—are hard core. This season in particular, it’s been very, very hot, and wet. It’s probably the same temperature as it was when we first started the show, which was brutal. When you’re feeling sorry for yourself and sweating in your cowboy boots, all you have to do is look across and see somebody with prosthetics on and then you shut up and get on with your day.
WS: What’s in store for season six? The survivors are in a different stage now, having taken up residence at the seemingly secure community in Alexandria. Where is Rick Grimes in this journey?
LINCOLN: We left season five with quite a tumultuous final episode. You have a community in disarray, and the arrival of a long-lost friend, Morgan. You find Rick in a very decisive position. He’s a man who was almost restraining himself toward the end of last season, giving the Alexandrians a chance to get up to speed, as it were, with the realities of the world. You need Rick in a place of no nonsense. I do think that very much the story of this season, in particular what we’ve shot so far, has been about us and them: whether or not [Rick’s group of survivors] can integrate [with the Alexandrians]. But there are two other enormous threats lurking in the wings. All I will say is that this season there have been more zombies per capita than any season to date. It’s a thrill ride, to say the least. It’s been brutal, it’s been brilliant, it’s been incredibly ambitious and also, a nod has to go to [showrunner] Scott Gimple and his brilliant writers’ room. They keep changing up the story, and the way they tell the story. This season, more than any other, they are playing with time and threading some very intricate story plots together. It’s a really bold season in regards to storytelling. That shows some great courage and conviction from the writers’ room, and from AMC for supporting that and allowing them to change up the style and the format of the show. The fans deserve it because they are smart and attentive.