Interview with Khary Payton, Eleanor Matsuura, Josh McDermitt and Callan McAuliffe of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 8/3/21
This was from The Walking Dead virtual roundtable interview, taking place Tuesday, August 3.
This was so much fun! The actors were very funny and silly. They were clearly having a good time. I wish I could show you the video, but we’re not allowed to. You’ll have to read the transcript below. It’s definitely worth it!
Question: Khary, can we expect any flashbacks for Ezekiel and his time as an actor or zookeeper, this being the last season? I really do hope so.
Khary: Oh, that’s an interesting question. I would tell you to, you know, expect the unexpected, that there’s so much story that we’re telling, none of which I’m going to tell you about. We all spent these last few months shooting all this thing, and I just feel like it would be wrong of me just to tell you in a Zoom call. So, how about this? How about this? Why don’t we set up just like for the next couple of weeks, like Sunday night? Get together, you know, pour a drink. I’ll tell you all about it.
Callan: Khary, is it Episode Six where they do the flashback where you fall in a panda enclosure, is it six?
Khary: Oh my god, you know what? We’re gonna have so much fun. The crazy thing is that a panda is much harder to do CGI, so, obviously, we had to just go ahead and go with the the panda that I keep here at the house. And although he’s not as bubbly; we just don’t have the bamboo here. And, you know –
Callan: I still can’t believe you managed to outbid Nicolas Cage for that panda. It’s crazy.
Question: As a fellow actor, I definitely appreciate your sense of humor.
Khary: It’s incredible. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited.
Suzanne: Hi, how many episodes have yet to be filmed? Or have they all finished?
Khary: Oh, it’s far from over. It’s far from over. We’ve got, I don’t know if we’re quite halfway done; we’re nearing the midway point, but we’ve still got – we’re gonna go shooting well into next year. So, I feel like there’s just a lot of story yet to unfold and yet to be told and yet to even be decided upon, in a lot of ways. So, yeah.
Suzanne: Do they tell you ahead of time, whether your character is going to make it through the end of this show or not?
Khary: You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? It’s funny to be on a show like this one. When you get on a hit TV show, you pop the champagne, and you’re thinking, “Oh, it’s time to celebrate.” This is one of those shows that you get on, and you’re just waiting for that phone call around the corner to tell you that you all of your dreams and aspirations are about to be bashed, and the limousine that drove you here is not taking you back. I hope you didn’t take the Uber app off of your phone, because you’re going to need that to get back to wherever you’re going. So, this this show’s a cruel mistress in that way, that it gives a lot, but it can take it all away in a heartbeat.
Callan: Did you guys all save Angela Kang in your phones with the skull and crossbones emoji? Terrifying every time she calls.
Khary: Exactly. We’re just [unintelligible], because she’s got such a brilliant, happy little smile.
Callan: It’s true.
Eleanor: That’s how I never say hello to Angela. I just say, “Am I dead? Am I dead? Ok, how’s it going?”
Suzanne: Thank you, guys.
Khary: Thank you, Suzanne.
Question: This question is for everyone. Would you rather your character have the glorious Braveheart death, or would you want to end the series as still a living member of whatever society looks like, in your opinion, if you had it your way.
Callan: If I had it my way, the character’s death would be so unremarkable as to be remarkable. I would want him to trip in a puddle and to bang his head on the corner of a marble counter and for it to never [get] mentioned again. Mid conversation, just heart attack.
Josh: Yeah. I personally, I want to die of old age or want Eugene to die of old age; that would be my hope, because I feel like he deserves it. I feel like he is a guy that everyone just expected, even myself included, would be gone after two episodes, because it’s like, there’s no way this guy’s living. And he’s figured out a way. He’s been a little cockroach about it, but I would hope that he dies of old age. But, you know, look, if they do decide that it’s time for him to go, I would at least hope they do it justice and give him a hero’s death, just because I think he does deserve that, if he does go, just based on who he was and where he’s been and kind of how far he’s come. He’s certainly been the hero many times before, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would have a hero’s death. I just hope that if it came to that they would at least do that for him.
Khary: Yes, jumping off a cliff, dreadlocks flying, slow motion in the wind. You know, a full orchestral score.
Callan: Wait a minute, Khary. Did I ever tell you about the way I hope to die? That sounds remarkably similar to my plan for [my] funeral. I plan to gather, tell 100 friends that I died, or have them told, have them gather on a clifftop and then emerge dramatically from the coffin to the [unintelligible] gospel choir and leap gracefully into the sea.
Khary: You know, we’re closer than we think. I had not heard you tell that, but it does not surprise me. And, you know, I hope to be standing on the same cliff one day.
Callan: The convoluted aspect of mine is that I wanted there to be a shark tank at the bottom, so that I swan dived into the sea, but landed in the shark tank, it ate me, and then we piece up the shark and fire the shark’s ashes into space after it’s reconstituted my flesh
Eleanor: Don’t do that to space. Space has got enough trouble with all these rockets going into it.
Callan: It’d be biomass debris and wouldn’t be nearly so dangerous as flying metal.
Eleanor: I think, of course, everyone, if they’re going to go, you want the big spectacular glorious death, of course you do. These are our characters. We’ve lived with them; we’ve created them, and they’ve been a part of us for so, so long. If that’s the way you want to go, you want it to be – you want to do justice to the love you have for your character. I’m with Josh though, like, I have to say like, I feel like I want for you Yumiko to have this long, long, happy life. We’ve only just discovered, or about to discover, this whole other side of her past life that she had. I think we always forget in The Walking Dead, especially, because the seasons are so long, but, actually, a lot of the action happens only over a few days or a few weeks. I mean, there’re time jumps and stuff, but a lot of the story happens in these condensed moments, and we sort of forget that we’ve actually had these huge lives behind them. I mean, we learned that Yumiko had this extraordinary education, and she’s basically lived the life that my parents wish I had, if I was smart enough to go to Oxford and Harvard, which I am definitely not. And I’m not saying that that makes her a better person, I’m just saying that it’s this discovery of all this stuff that she still has to give that I think it would be a real crime to not have her live that out in all the ways that she could.
Callan: I think she should be killed in a fight with someone wielding a judge’s gavel. I think that would be full circle.
Eleanor: Yeah, if I’m going to die, I want it to be from the past – like, yeah in the courtroom, a gavel thrown at my head. It knocks me off my feet. I grab judges’ wigs as I fall down onto the courtroom floor, and then I get eaten by walkers.
Question: Is that the penultimate episode of the series?
Eleanor: Listen, I can’t give anything away.
Question: My question is for Khary. One of the big things that happen in season 10 is that we discover that Ezekiel has cancer, and he has to deal with some really dark things like a terminal disease and even suicidal tendencies. Is there a possibility that this character might attain some sort of peace or serenity throughout the run of season eleven?
Khary: I hope so, for Ezekiel’s sake. I want so much for him to find that kind of inner light that seems to gravitate people to him, but, you know, you can’t have victory without adversity. So, here we are trying to just tell a story that’s still captivating. I had this push and pull, because I so desperately want him to be okay and and to just be at the forefront, being the big leader guy, but the thing that has drawn people to him is the fact that his life is messy, and he’s had all of this loss, but he does keep his head up. I mean, he’s lost so much. I think it’s enough to break a lot of people and it’s been nice to know that the journey of this character has resonated with a lot of people and helped them when it comes to dealing with adversity, to kind of set themselves aside and find a companion character to be able to live through and say, “You know what? If Ezekiel can do it, I can do it.” It’s meant a lot to me over the years, to have been a part of telling the story of a character that can be that for anyone.
Question: This is for Callan; actually I have two. Alden is more heart and likes to build things. Is it safe to say that he grew up in a house where he had to take a lot of responsibility at a young age? And also, my second one is does he feel like Maggie is getting too cold to other survivors?
Callan: To the first question, yeah, it was always an understanding between me and the showrunners that sort of he, in the early part of the apocalypse, had been going around with his with his brother. I believe it was his younger brother. And I imagine that the dynamic there was that Alden had to become something of a reliable – not necessarily a builder or a blacksmith, but certainly someone that you can trust to get things done and to bring things together. So, that’s certainly been a part of his life, and, you know, given that we see him building all manner of weapons and catapults and that sort of thing, we can assume he had some kind of a training in it. And then, can you repeat the second question for me?
Question: Does he feel like Maggie’s getting too cold to others? It’s obviously warranted to Negan, because, you know, Allan has seen firsthand what he can do, but Maggie seems to be backtracking a little when it comes to the other survivors. Do you think she’s getting a little cold?
Callan: I think he’s definitely seeing a side of Maggie that perhaps he didn’t expect, and she has for so long been, I suppose, the fulcrum around which his stability swings, especially in the beginning. And I think he finds that contrast disturbing. Yeah.
Question: My question is, again, for Callan. Your character was Team Negan in the beginning, and now he’s Maggie. If there is a war to happen in season eleven, which side do you think would prevail, considering Alden’s experience in both those factions?
Callan: I don’t think he was ever Team Negan. You know, I think he was, as most people in life, a victim of circumstance, and he kind of went where the winds blew him, but I like to think that he’s kind of alighted in the right place, if that makes sense. So, his allegiance should be clear, even when there’s conflict.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Previously on The Walking Dead, our survivors confronted past demons and combated new threats, with friendships and relationships suffering from the mounting collateral damage that is the apocalypse. Alexandria is severely compromised, left a former shell of the home it once was from the carnage and devastation left behind by the Whisperers.
Now all who live in Alexandria struggle to refortify it and feed its increasing number of residents, which include the survivors from the fall of the Kingdom and the burning of Hilltop; along with Maggie and her new group, the Wardens. Alexandria has more people than it can manage to feed and protect. Their situation is dire as tensions heat up over past events and self-preservation rises to the surface within the ravaged walls.
They must secure more food while they attempt to restore Alexandria before it collapses like countless other communities they have come across throughout the years. But where and how? More haggard and hungrier than ever before, they must dig deeper to find the effort and strength to safeguard the lives of their children, even if it means losing their own.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to those at Alexandria, Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess are still being held captive by mysterious soldiers who are members of a larger and unforthcoming group.
AMC’s 11 Weeks of Reveals Until Season 11 of The Walking Dead
AMC released today a new teaser for The Walking Dead as part of AMC’s “11 Weeks of Reveals until Season 11.” The Walking Dead Season 11 premieres Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8c on AMC, and all 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.
Additionally, as part of TWDU.com’s “11 Weeks of TWD” where each week leading up to the Season 11 premiere on August 22, a custom piece of artwork will be shared that looks back at significant moments from each season of the show’s decade-long run. The eighth piece of custom artwork is created by artist, designer and filmmaker Micheline Pitt, and can be viewed here.
AMC will drop new reveals – photos, trailers and more – every Thursday counting down to the Season 11 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8pm CT. All 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.
In addition to portraying King Ezekiel on AMC’s The Walking Dead, Khary Payton has become synonymous with one of DC’s hottest heroes, Cyborg, having voiced the character for 17 years in numerous television series, DVM’s, games, and the 2018 critically acclaimed theatrical release of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, based on the number one cartoon series Teen Titans Go! Payton reprised his role of Aqualad and is taking on the new role of Black Lightning in the fan and critically acclaimed series, Young Justice: Outsiders, which premiered on DCUniverse.com earlier this year. Other current voice over roles include laser specialist Wasabi in Disney’s Big Hero 6: The Series; Grimlock in Transformers: Robots in Disguise; and Rafiki in Disney’s The Lion Guard. Payton also voices in the video games The Sims; Reigel in Starcraft; Drebin in Metal Gear Solid; Azrael and Killer Croc in the Batman: Arkham franchise; and Knox from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Payton caught the acting bug after seeing a production of Cyrano De Bergerac in the 1st grade. As a teenager, he developed a local rep as a rapper and stand-up comic, sharing the stage with such notables as Tom Kenney and Chris Rock. Payton attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, studying acting and directing. He stayed in Texas for several years honing his craft in classical and experimental theatre before moving to Hollywood. Payton co-wrote, produced, and starred in the independent sci-fi feature, Astronaut: The Last Push, winning 13 awards on the film festival circuit, including Best In Show at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase and Fargo Film Festivals. Payton took home three awards for Best Actor.
In addition to his regular series role as Alden on The Walking Dead, Callan McAuliffe can be seen in the feature film Summer Night, opposite Justin Chatwin, Analeigh Tipton, and Victoria Justice, for writer/director, Joseph Cross. McAuliffe was discovered by director Rob Reiner, who hand-picked him to play the romantic lead in the Warner Bros. feature film Flipped. This was followed by roles in DreamWorks’ sci-fi adventure I Am Number Four and Warner Bros.’ The Great Gatsby, as the teenage Jay Gatsby to Leonardo DiCaprio’s adult role. McAuliffe went on to work in the crime-drama film Kite, with Samuel L. Jackson; appeared in Underground: The Julian Assange Story; and starred in the U.K. feature Robot Overlords, with Sir Ben Kingsley. More recently he appeared in The Stanford Prison Experiment for director Kyle Patrick Alvarez, as part of an ensemble including Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, and Thomas Mann. McAuliffe’s many accolades include recognition as Break Out actor by The Toronto International Film Festival for his lead role in the coming-of-age film Beneath the Harvest Sky, where he starred alongside Emory Cohen; and winning the Young Artist Award for his role as the aforementioned young Gatsby. Additionally, McAuliffe is among the youngest winners of GQ Magazine’s Man of The Year Award for Breakthrough of the Year, presented to him for his work in the performing arts in 2012-2013. Outside of his theatrical career, McAuliffe has also volunteered his time to a list of meaningful charities. Always interested in staying true to his Australian roots, McAuliffe became the youngest Ambassador for Tourism Australia for the Friends of Australia Campaign. The Friends of Australia Campaign include some of the most globally influential voices that have a genuine affinity with Australia. McAuliffe also holds a highly regarded position as a UNICEF Ambassador. Besides his film career and philanthropic efforts, McAuliffe has also added the title of Author to his resume. His first fictional book, The Hill Ghost, is a story that recounts the adventures between two unlikely friends, an old Tibetan Mastiff dog and a delusional seagull.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda