Interviews with Eleanor Matsuura, Laila Robins, Josh McDermitt, Michael James Shaw, Seth Gilliam, Khary Payton, Lauren Ridloff and Ross Marquand of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 11/14/22
It was fun to speak to some members of the TWD cast! I’ve interviewed some of them before, but it’s always a treat. I was especially happy to speak with Seth Gilliam, who was awesome as the vet in “Teen Wolf”; and Michael James Shaw, who is great as Shaw in “Blood & Treasure.” I don’t watch TWD regularly (not a fan of zombies), but it’s a very good show. Everyone is really looking forward to the series finale tonight. It’s a bit sad for these actors who have been on it for so long. However, the interviews were very enjoyable – as you will see below.
The first roundtable interview was with Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko), Laila Robins (Pamela Milton), Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter), and Michael James Shaw (Mercer).
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: In your own opinion, what do you think is the most defining moment for your characters that changed them, and how did it change them, for each of you?
LAILA ROBINS: I would say when my son became a walker; I think that was a big one, to see him in that shape and form. And then again, I think, last night. Something shifts obviously when you shoot a child. So, I would say those two things.
ELEANOR MATSUURA: For me, I’d say it’s probably seeing my brother, my brother’s picture on the wall looking for me at the beginning of this season. My god, that was the first episode of this season. It feels like a second ago. Yeah, I think, for Yumiko, that was the beginning of, I mean, it was the beginning of drawing everyone into the Commonwealth by virtue of making the group that I was with stay in that moment. But it was this glimpse into her past, this pull that was keeping her from leaving with the group. And, yeah, an opportunity to sort of see where she came from, and how that’s unfolded in this season with the courtroom stuff, and representing Eugene, and it felt like the past and the present, were all just brought together, like smashed together. So, I would say, yeah, probably for all the seasons I’ve done, that’s probably been the most pivotal moment for Yumiko, seeing that picture on the wall.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: Oh, for Mercer, I think a defining moment in this last couple of episodes is when his sister Max refuses to sign the forced confession. I think that sets him into motion, and he’s plotting things in his own head but not really allowing people in, but he’s definitely still starting to make moves at that moment, because she’s everything to him, and if he lost her, I don’t think he’d have any purpose anymore. So, yeah, that’s a big moment for him. It shifts the balance.
JOSH McDERMITT: I mean, it’s hard, just because I feel like the guy is changing so much throughout. And we’re talking about just season 11. Right? We’re not talking about for the series?
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: No, I’m meant overall, if it’s something else important.
JOSH McDERMITT: That is such a hard question to answer.
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: [laughs] Then do this season. We’ll make it easier.
JOSH McDERMITT: Yeah, well, I’ll tell you, this season, I mean, there were kind of two moments, but they were kind of joined together, so more like a sequence. But it’s just finding out the truth about the decoy Stephanie, who turned out to be Shira, and who Max really was. I think that that brought him down to his lowest point, but then meeting Max kind of brought him up again and gave him a new outlook on life, even though it’s kind of the outlook that he wanted, when he came to the Commonwealth, but it was definitely when he felt like all hope was lost that he did see this little tiny light off in the distance, and that light has grown to then shine the light on all the misdeeds and the bad things going on in the Commonwealth. I really think that kind of sequence, those two things together, were were defining moment for at least the season.
TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK: For all of you, what was it like to kind of break new ground into The Walking Dead and to actually have courtroom drama, as opposed to hunting walkers and all that? What was the vibe on those days? That must have been pretty neat to shoot something so different like that? It’s for everyone.
ELEANOR MATSUURA: It was wild. It was so weird. I mean, I found it weird. I know I spent most of those scenes next to Josh. So, I remember we would turn to each other a lot and be like, “This is wild, right?” Because we could almost look down the barrel of like, if we’d had even more time and more episodes; say this part of the storyline had happened at a different like earlier or something, this could have gone way far down into like a whole courtroom drama. It just was so bizarre. I mean, just when I thought the Commonwealth couldn’t get any weirder, I was standing in a courtroom. I mean, I suppose there’s been so much talk about Yumiko as a lawyer, how good she was, it’s like, I sort of feel like we had to see her in action at some point. It was inevitable that we’d get the courtroom scenes. And in some ways, even though it was weird, I wish we’d we had gotten to delve into them even more, but, I mean, if I found it strange, Josh, you must have found it even more strange. I mean, mind you, this shows taken so many different iterations, maybe it’s not weird to you anymore.
JOSH McDERMITT: Well, I mean, the show continues to surprise me in the new territory we jump into, and this was no different. It always feels weird when you don’t have blood and guts [on you]. When you can work on the stage and not be sweaty.
ELEANOR MATSUURA: And your clothes are clean.
JOSH McDERMITT: Yeah, like that’s great, and really, to just kind of be still and not not have a bunch of action and business that you’re supposed to be doing where you’re walking around and taking a horse and putting the horse over there. You know, it’s like, you can just sit at a table and just do your thing. That was weird. But I know we have a lot of people on the show, cast and crew, who have all done courtroom dramas, you know, other series at some point. So, that was fun to talk to them, because there is a specific way you kind of have to shoot a courtroom scene to keep it interesting. I mean, the storyline isn’t always interesting enough. There’re camera movements; there’s a pacing to it. There’re all these other things. So, it was nice to, in a sense, do an episode of Law & Order without ever having to leave Atlanta, Georgia.
LAILA ROBINS: [laughs] Okay, I’ll piggyback on that. I’ve done so many Law & Orders, and I’ve worn so many suits and so many high heels. I was praying for a job where I thought, “Oh, I get to be out in nature and the woods.” Watch out for what you wish for [laughs], because when you’re shooting out there under the sun in Atlanta with a wig on and a wool coat and boots and a gun. It isn’t so pretty. I was like, “Oh my God, thank God we’re back in the courtroom.” [laughs]
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: It was surreal the whole time. We kept looking at each other like we’re in The Twilight Zone. You know, just, what show are we doing today? [laughs] It was good fun though, good fun.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Hi, guys. I wanted to start with Mike. It’s great to see you. I love your show Blood and Treasure, and your character on there is just amazing.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: Thank you.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: So, do you think that most of the fans will like the ending?
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: They’re going to love it. [laughs] I loved shooting it. Yeah, I can’t really say much about that, but some shit’s going down, and it’s good.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Anyone else like to give their opinion on that?
ELEANOR MATSUURA: …It’s so hard to answer. I feel like we’ve been asked this a lot, and I always try and summarize like, are we going to be able to please, every single person on the planet? I don’t know. I don’t know if we are, but then this show wouldn’t have gotten this far without people’s total commitment to it. Like it’s eleven seasons of a show. That is a huge amount of time, I think. And I really do think if you’ve dedicated your life to the show, and the way that so many people have, and you’ve come this far, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed with the end. You might have certain things that you would have hoped turned out slightly differently. You might have bits and pieces that might not be the perfect package, but I do believe in the integrity of how we finish the show, and I feel like it’s a good ending, even though we know that we’ve got a bunch more spin offs, which I’m sure people can, like, fill their boots if they need to go and get more, if they didn’t feel like they were satisfied with what we’ve done. Yeah, and that’s all we can say. We tried to finish it out in the best possible way that we could. Yeah, and I believe in the integrity of that, like whether or not everybody will think it’s the perfect ending, that would be an impossible thing to quantify, but I think we’ve given it a damn good shot.
LAILA ROBINS: Yeah, I think it’s a very emotional show. All of these people who have invested themselves in watching it, I’m just thinking of all the actors who have been there for eleven years and how they must feel. I can’t even get my head around that idea, knowing that you won’t see each other as often as you normally do, and that they’re a real family. I mean, I’m a late comer. I even feel emotional about it. I can’t even imagine someone like Josh saying goodbye to it. It’s unbelievable.
BRIAN: Josh, this question is for you. You have been on the show since season four, and then you mentioned how the show has changed a lot; your character has changed a lot. So, what are some of the few things you’ll miss about playing Eugene?
JOSH McDERMITT: Definitely, what you just said, the fact that he hasn’t been a stagnant character. I think every time you kind of jump onto another production, and you’re playing a new character, you fall in love with that character, and you hope that the writers change the person a lot to keep it fresh, because, as human beings, we do change ourselves. But I think this one’s going to be hard to top with that sort of thing, just because it wasn’t just season to season, but sometimes it felt like episode to episode he was having new revelations about himself and that sort of thing. I definitely definitely miss that about it. I would just hope that other characters I end up doing can hold a candle to Eugene, because even if they’re half as fun playing, I’ll have a great time with it.
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: For each of you, what do you think is your character’s biggest regret?
JOSH McDERMITT: I think for Eugene [laughs] much like the defining moment, there’re too many. [laughs]
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: [laughs] Sorry.
JOSH McDERMITT: No, it’s, it’s fine. I mean, it just speaks to kind of the question that [the other journalist] just had about just how everything changes, and it’s very fluid, and that’s what makes it fun. But I think for Eugene, a very big regret for him is that he didn’t do more to help – help his group get around Negan and the Saviors, I guess, that Glenn and Abraham died. Eugene is the type of guy who will continue to think through problems, game-plan, figure out a way to get in the cracks so that he can continue to survive, or the people that he cares about can succeed, and that’s one where he lost. He really lost, and I think that does eat at him, because of what happened. In the end, he lost two people that were very close to him. And honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s a big regret for a lot of the characters on the show. It still haunts everybody. I mean, from Maggie all the way down to Judith. She was a baby at that point, or a kid, a little kid. So, it just I think that was probably his biggest regret, that he didn’t he wasn’t able to do more.
LAILA ROBINS: I guess for Pamela it has something to do with not being the best mother somehow, my inability to communicate with my son or to get through to him or to guide him properly or to have him care about the family’s legacy or somehow to inspire him, that I lack the ability to inspire my own son to greatness, I think is a regret. And obviously, what it led to, his demise, and ultimately, his death. But I think she does take that responsibility.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: I guess. Mercer’s biggest regret is that he didn’t put eyes on Hornsby sooner.
LAILA ROBINS: He’s slippery! [laughs]
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: It could have saved us a lot of trouble. He could have saved us all a lot of trouble. That little snake. [laughs]
LAILA ROBINS: You were just wowed by his outfits. You weren’t looking deep enough. You got all caught off in his outfits. [laughs]
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: Where’s he getting these fabrics from?
LAILA ROBINS: Pink!
ELEANOR MATSUURA: That’s a hard one to answer. I think probably it’s something to do with not being able to do enough, because something about Yumiko is that she’s relentless. She truly doesn’t ever give up, even in the face of such adversity, when you sort of think there’s just like – there’re so many moments with Eugene and Pamela where you see her, and you’re like, “There is literally no way out of this.” And even even though she knows it’s kind of pointless, she just keeps going and going and going. So, I’m thinking to myself, “Well, I wonder where that comes from?” And because the pivotal moment with her brother, like I spoke about before, seems to be such a important core thing for Yumiko, I guess there must be something from her past that may be something that we haven’t seen in the show. It would be something that I have probably been playing without even consciously realizing it, just like this feeling of like, you could see it, it’s like striving to be the best, because she comes from this very prestigious, educational background, but I don’t think she sees it like that. I don’t think it’s about the competitive [nature], trying to be the best. I think it’s about more not feeling enough, therefore not giving up. I’m sorry; I know that’s not a direct answer to your question. That’s the best way that I can answer.
TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK: What life has been like after The Walking Dead is over and kind of transitioning to leaving the air, leaving Atlanta and all of that and kind of going back to some semblance of real life? What’s that been like, for all of you?
JOSH McDERMITT: I cry less. That’s a big one. [laughs] I mean, I still cry. It’s just less. It’s been nice for me to come home and reconnect with people. It’s hard to maintain some relationships when you’re away. Texting and calls do so much but it’s it’s really that face to face interaction is what I think we were craving, and so it’s nice to be home and to be in my own home, to be in the nice Los Angeles weather and that sort of thing. There’s a peacefulness about being at home; it’s kind of nice.
LAILA ROBINS: It’s been nice to come back to New York and catch up on all the plays my friends are in, shows that I wanted to see before they closed, theaters having a tough time these days. So, it was fun to to go see some plays, but it is weird when you’re on a set for a long time. It’s almost like a safe zone, because your your life is scripted, and I always find that weird slight anxiety when I’m wrapped for the day. As to, “Oh, now I’ve got to go be myself.” [laughs] I’m boring, you know? So, it’s been interesting to reenter and kind of go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Here I am; here I am,” when you’re playing a character more than you’re being yourself. Also, that was the other thing I wanted to say, that why I couldn’t think of it. It was during COVID, so we weren’t as social as perhaps we might have been as a cast. I mean, one of my regrets is I didn’t get to hang out with all the actors or really get to know them all that well, because we were unable to do that, perhaps, as much as normal. So, that was a regret.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: To speak on that, life since The Walking Dead, so we wrapped the show, and I stayed around in Georgia practicing jujitsu, and I broke my knee. Yeah, I have a theory that if we would have just kept shooting the show, I never would have broken my knee. But I ended up having meniscus surgery back in August, and now I’m like, 80% recovered, killing it, but if we would have kept shooting The Walking Dead, I probably wouldn’t have broke my knee. [laughs]
ELEANOR MATSUURA: I was just going to say, when I first joined the show, my first child was, I think, six months old, so, really tiny. So, we moved my whole family. We uprooted, and we moved to Atlanta, and everything just felt like my life had been sort of just flipped upside down and all just like shaken about. Then, over those these last four years, I totally fell in love with Atlanta. I totally fell in love with Georgia. Then, I had my just had my second baby. I mean, I was pregnant most of the shoot of this last season. So, it’s so integrated into my life, the show, it’s become like our families; it’s just a part of our life that it’s feels weird now that I’m not going to be like trundling back to Atlanta next month. It’s really weird. It’s weird, because that has been the rhythm that I’ve been used to for the past four years. Yeah, I think it’s just been starting to hit me these last few episodes. I really think it will only truly hit me hit me the finale next week, when when we’re all together. Then, like Josh was saying, sort of just seeing the faces, everyone’s faces in real life for the last – not for the last time. Of course, we can all like meet up and whatever, but it’s different, because it’s like, this is our celebration of the show. We’re not going to have another like, “Oh, okay, I’ll see you next month, see you next season” kind of thing. It’s ended now. So, it’s like, for me truly, I’m just getting used to this, almost a whole new rhythm of life.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Josh, when did the filming actually wrap, and what were your feelings when you finished with it?
JOSH McDERMITT: It was in the spring, but I don’t remember specifically. Sometime in March or April, I guess. And what was the second part of your question?
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: What were your feelings when you had to finish filming for the last time?
JOSH McDERMITT: Oh, yeah. I mean, it was overwhelming. That’s something that’s been a part of my life as a job for the last decade and even longer as a fan of the show. Like, I felt overwhelmed when Seinfeld ended [laughs]; you know, maybe more so with this just I have a more personal connection to it, but, yeah, it was just it was overwhelming, but kind of like what Eleanor was just saying. I mean, I’m looking at their faces right now, and we can call and chat anytime and like, you know, I could go to New York, and Laila and I could go see a show. So, these people are not out of my life. It was just kind of this, “Oh, this chapters done, but the story continues, in a sense that that’s kind of how I was overwhelmed, I think.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Now you’re making me cry. [laughs]
JOSH McDERMITT: Good. That was my goal.
BRIAN: With the three spin offs that are upcoming, will you guys be watching any of them? Any of them at all?
ELEANOR MATSUURA: Sure.
LAILA ROBINS: Yeah.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: Hell, yeah.
ELEANOR MATSUURA: Yeah, definitely.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: I want to see what happens in New York.
JOSH McDERMITT: I’ll only watch it if they give me a screener.
MICHAEL JAMES SHAW: Better call Pix.
JOSH McDERMITT: I mean, I’ll help you write the blog about it.
The next interview was with Seth Gilliam (Gabriel Stokes), Khary Payton (Ezekiel), Lauren Ridloff (Connie) and Ross Marquand (Aaron).
We were only able to ask one question each for this second group of actors. They were entertaining, though.
BRIAN: Your character Gabriel has changed so much since we first see him in season five. So, how much have you enjoyed seeing his character grow over the years?
SETH GILLIAM: I’ve really enjoyed it. It was a fantastic challenge and kind of like yearly pay off playing Gabriel, because there were so many changes, either subtle or outright drastic changes, to his nature over the course of the last, I guess, it’s been seven seasons now. It was not something that I foresaw. I’ve said before I thought that he was walker bait. I thought he was dead in three episodes. I thought this man is not long for this world. I had not read the comics, so I didn’t have any any history or knowledge about the character, but I just thought that he was a plot device to get somebody of more importance killed. So, all of the different changes and platforms that he’s been able to climb over these past seasons has really been extremely exciting to play, and I feel very, very fortunate to be the guy who got to take the ride with him.
JAMIE OF SCIFIVISION: So, for each of you, in your own opinion, what has been your character’s defining moment, and how has it changed them?
KHARY PAYTON: It’s always been Shiva for Ezekiel, because, to me, Shiva dying, it coincided with Ezekiel losing half of his Kingdom in the war, in all out war, and I think he has been fighting to come back from that ever since. So, even when I was mourning Shiva on the show, you know, because it was a CGI Tiger, she was always, for me, the embodiment of the Kingdom itself. So, when I was grieving her and mourning her, it was Ezekiel mourning his people and his worth as a leader, and as a person, for thinking that the power of positive thinking means that everything’s always going to be okay, and coming to find that really, it’s about persevering. It’s not that everything’s going to be okay; it’s how you get through and still make life worth living. But yeah, it all goes back to Shiva for Ezekiel.
LAUREN RIDLOFF: I was just thinking about for my character for Connie. I was thinking about when Connie actually saves the baby, but then I thought also about the episode that we shot, “On the Inside.” I think that truly was Connie’s defining moments, because I know that there’re so many times that people ask, “Okay, so Connie is a survivor. She’s arrived, she’s strong, she can fight. She can save the baby. She has a good heart.” But the burning question was, “How exactly did she survive?” So, I think that on that episode, it gave people an opportunity to see how Connie navigates that world. I really loved the way that episode focused on some specific things that involved conversations I had with Greg Nicotero before we actually shot that. When I first read the script, it had Connie just walking down the hall and looking around the hall, but I told Greg, “Well, as a deaf person who has nothing but her eyes to rely on, she would find other ways to navigate. She would need more information,” because at this point to survive, you need all the information you can gather about what’s happening around you. So, to get more information, Connie would use her hands. She would probably put her hands on the wall and feel the vibrations, you know, feeling the floor creek if somebody’s walking behind her. I think that’s how Connie would gather that information. There’s no way that Connie would just walk down the hall. It just wouldn’t happen, because all her vulnerability is going to be what’s behind her back. She would probably put her back up against the wall and use her hands to to guide herself so she can keep her eyes on both angles. So, I think that kind of specific information played out on the screen so well. I feel like I was just excited to actually finally show everybody how kind of Connie had survived.
ROSS MARQUAND: Yeah, I think where Aaron loses Eric was definitely the one that shifted him completely, because in that one episode he loses his longtime partner of God knows how many years. I mean, it’s arguably one of the longest relationships that we ever see on the show, rivaled probably only by Rick and Laurie, but in that episode, he obviously loses his partner, which devastates him completely, but he also gained a daughter. I think when Rick comes out of the Sanctuary – not the Sanctuary, but whatever that compound is, after just having killed her father, Rick comes out with this baby, and I think Aaron is so lost in this moment that he needs to take the baby and just do something and tether himself to this new life, because he’s lost. He’s just like a cyclone of emotions this point, and if he doesn’t tether himself to somebody or something, he’s just going to go off the deep end, and he’s just going to lose his mind. So, it’s a beautiful moment where a man who has lost everything all of a sudden gains this new responsibility. I think it’s wonderful that he’s taken on this role. At first, I was surprised that the showrunners wanted me to really raise this kid, but now I look back, and I think it was just perfect. It was a perfect and very logical transition for him after having just lost his partner.
SETH GILLIAM: I think it was when Father Gabriel lost his vision, not fully, but in his right eye. It seems to coincide with him seeing things a lot clearer and being a little more devout in his belief in himself and his decision-making process and his courage level and his conviction levels. I think he went partially blind and gained a bit more insight into himself.
KAREN: What can you tease about the finale, and also what was the experience like to film that last episode and to also put these characters away?…And for each you?
KHARY PAYTON: You go ahead. You go ahead.
SETH GILLIAM: No, I was talking, but you’re the king. So, you go ahead.
KHARY PAYTON: You’re stupid you’re stupid. But I mean, I’m going to start by saying we’re not teasing a goddamn thing. You waited twelve years for this episode. You are going to wait another five. We’re not teasing anything. I’m not telling you if the grass is green or brown. I’m not telling you if the dirt is is gravelly, or if there’s if it’s smooth. I’m telling you nothing. It was too cold that day. It was too cold that day for me to be teasing anything. No, but seriously, that’s really how I feel. I mean, I feel like so many people, they want us to tell something, but to the crew and the cast and everyone that has waited this long, I think patience is a virtue. That’s what I will say. I will also say that I have still not mourned the end of this whole thing. I’m not sure if I will. Maybe when I see everybody at the finale, I will finally have some kind of cathartic experience, but Cristian tried to do this, like, two years ago, when we started filming this last season. She started to tear up, and I was like, “Don’t you do it. Don’t you do it, girl. I am not going to cry for two years.” and I think I shut it down. I shut it down. Ever since then. I might just end up being a blubbering mess on Sunday, but I have yet to truly come to terms with letting things go.
KAREN: Anybody else?
KHARY PAYTON: She, she just skipped right over me. She was like, “Yeah, somebody else tell me.
KAREN: Who’s got the loose lips? Lauren, Seth, [Aaron]? (LONG SILENCE)
KHARY PAYTON: I love it. I love it, man. I love you guys right now. Your silence is like love to me. It is sweet ambrosia.
SETH GILLIAM: Much like Khary, it’s still not over for me. The work part is over, but the relationships aren’t over. The show hasn’t finally finished airing. There’s still a finish line ahead. So, I’m not going to sit down on the track and unpack my bags just yet. I’ll cross the finish line and then see how I feel late next Sunday night.
LAUREN RIDLOFF: I guess this is kind of like a real long goodbye, and I don’t think that it will ever get to that point. I just feel like this is a goodbye that’s just going to keep going on for another twelve years. I mean, we finished shooting this back in March. Well, first week of April we were done shooting it. Since then, I’ve seen Seth; I’ve seen Norman. I’ve seen other cast mates every now and then. We get together to do a lot of interviews like this. And now the show has been coming out, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m really looking forward to this Sunday, because that actually means finally, hopefully, most of the cast will be able to get together and look back on all of the work that we’ve done. It’s such a huge honor to be a part of this. This is a cultural phenomenon, in my opinion, and I was part of that narrative, and what an honor it has been. I had a chance to watch the final episode. I finally got to see it, and it’s big. The finale is huge, and I think that we the viewers will feel content and satisfied, but at the same time, I don’t want people to expect it to just be a nice bow at the very end, because it’s still going to go on, just like real life; nothing really ends.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: My question is for Seth. Can you talk a little bit about how playing this character has helped you both personally and professionally?
SETH GILLIAM: But that would make me somewhat of a bore, wouldn’t it? Just another actor talking about himself?
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: No…
SETH GILLIAM: I’ve had an opportunity to see parts of the world I never thought I would. I’ve met people from all walks of life that I did not imagine when I first started out as an actor being able to have access to. I’ve seen places I didn’t think I’d see; I’ve met people I did not imagine meeting. I’ve had fantastic exchanges and experiences and conversations with people both about the show and about my life [directly related] to the show, or indirectly related to the show. I’ve made friends for life. My life has been enhanced and enriched in ways that I can’t really measure from being a part of the show. I guess that’s why I haven’t closed the book on how I feel about it, because I am so full from the experience that I’ve had on the show that I have no place to put up a wall with it, you know? And I don’t remember what the second part of your question is, because I’m trying to keep it short.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Professionally…?
SETH GILLIAM: Professionally. Yeah, I’ve done a couple of films and a play since the movie ended, that I don’t believe I would have been able to do, that I would not have been the first choice for, if they’ve not seen my work on The Walking Dead. So, we’ll see if that continues moving forward, but it’s worked so far.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: Thank you. I’m looking forward to the Teen Wolf movie a lot, and I love seeing your Facebook posts.
SETH GILLIAM: Oh, thank you. Thank you. We have a lot of fun on Facebook, and Teen Wolf is going to be fantastic.
SUZANNE OF TVMEG.COM: I’m really looking forward to it.
SETH GILLIAM: Cool, thanks.
TONY TELLADO OF SCIFITALK: Unlike from an acting standpoint, because some of the group is still with the Commonwealth, and some of the group is on the outside, do you guys mention that to each other in passing or to kind of keep the integrity of both those kind of performances, not kind of acting, knowing in the back of your mind that you know where it’s going on their end? It’s a little convoluted question, but I’m just curious how you kind of stay in your own moments and not overlap?
ROSS MARQUAND: It’s interesting, because I think a lot of frustration, not like a genuine frustration, but just more like a shucks kind of frustration, that we’ve had this last season is that it’s been so chopped up in terms of groups. I mean, we’ve kind of fallen into these little cliques this last season, and I really haven’t hardly seen Lauren or Khari at all this season, I think. And I can’t say if I will in the last episode, but I’m barely seeing a lot of people that I usually work with, or would like to have worked with more. And it’s very interesting, because I feel like, of course, we get the scripts ahead of time, and we get to read what happens, but it is very interesting to just keep track of every different group and where they are and how they’re fitting into this giant storyline. I mean, Angela and Scott laid out this incredibly ambitious and very involved final season, and there’s just so much going on. I mean, it’s espionage and things falling apart, both internally in Commonwealth, and outside of it as well. Then, how do we fit into all these groups? Who do we trust? There’re a lot of moving parts, and that is a great question. I don’t think we’ve ever really had a a strong consensus to a large degree of where everyone is at all times, but we, of course, get the scripts, and that’s the only real clues that we have of where everybody is.
SETH GILLIAM: Well, you didn’t mean to infer or imply that you didn’t enjoy working with the actors that you were working and hooked up with this season.
ROSS MARQUAND: No, I mean, I mostly worked with you.
SETH GILLIAM: That’s why I need clarity.
ROSS MARQUAND: And I am implying [that]. I mostly worked with you
SETH GILLIAM: [laughs]
ROSS MARQUAND: So, I am, yes.
SETH GILLIAM: I just wanted to be clear. I just wanted to be clear. Yeah, it’s a lot to keep a track of. Ross is smarter when it comes to that kind of stuff than I am. I pretty much just learn my lines and hit my mark and hope that the editing would tell the story that that I was not taking on. I think there are so many things that you can concern yourself with as an actor to begin with, that when you start thinking of structure and minute plot details that aren’t directly related to you and your character in the moment, you can get a little lost planning ahead and missing the moment that you’re in. So, I did not undertake it, because as you know, as I said, I try to keep it simple, stupid.
LAUREN RIDLOFF: Yeah, I also wanted to say, like Seth, I have to say, just watching you and some of the actors and other cast members, it’s such an intuitive sense for you at this point. And I felt like so many of the cast members already know their character so well, that it didn’t quite matter what was happening in the script. At that point, they just know how their character would respond in that specific moment. I definitely looked up to that and tried to incorporate that into my character as much as I could. Just over the last three seasons, now she’s developed. It was challenging and confusing, especially this season, just because we’re doing so much cross boarding, and the rewrites were insane. The scripts kept changing. The sides we got were sometimes different day to day. So, just looking at, you know, Norman, and looking to the other experienced actors, and they would just roll with it, and I always tried my best to kind of follow the experience that they had, the veterans of the show, but then I started to realize that part of my confusion was natural. That naturally just contributed to the storyline for the final couple episodes, because it is confusing, and you can feel that people are confused, and I think that’s just real. For me, putting all of that together, it’s definitely like a puzzle, a huge jigsaw puzzle without seeing the actual photo on the box to see how it’s supposed to come together. So, we just have no idea. We’re just trying to search for the pieces that fit.
KHARY PAYTON: I think, at the end of the day, our job is to stay true to our character and their journey and that the pieces will come together, and sometimes it’s frustrating. Honestly, one of my favorite things is to frustrate the hell out of Greg Nicotero. They’re like, “I can’t do that.” You know damn, well Ezekiel can’t do that, And the beautiful, lovely exasperation of a man who is trying to please everyone, and I tear it all down, so we can build it back up. But seriously, our job is to stay in the moment, and the best thing that we can do, I think, for the production and for fellow cast mates when we’re standing across from each other, is give them a moment of truth that they can play off of, and, thankfully, one of the strengths of this show is that they have found people who give you truth when they’re playing these characters, and it’s awesome to see. It’s awesome to continue to be surprised by all of my cast mates, I mean, these three people here included. It’s humbling to be a part of a group of truth sayers in what many call “just a zombie show,” but there’s truth in this blood. Honestly, there’s usually truth in blood [laughs], but even in this fake blood
SETH GILLIAM: You lost me Khary. What the fuck are you talking about? What about blood? What the fuck are you talking about?
KHARY PAYTON: You know what? Next time I see you, we will have a drink my friend. I love you.
SETH GILLIAM: Love you, too.
Transcribed by SciFiVision
Proofread and Edited by Brenda
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