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Mania Interview: Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs
The Father and Son Duo
By Joel Rickenbach
October 26, 2012
Mania had the chance to sit down with the cast of The Walking Dead last weekend at New York Comic Con. We chatted with the cast and crew about their characters, their experiences on set, and what we can expect from season 3. Part four brings us series stars Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs.
Has it been fun for you this season to see your character change, and grow a bit darker?
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah it's been great, I made a fateful error of going into the writers room and saying "what you think Rick's breaking point is?" and we find out this season, so it's a great journey that I've got this season, it's a beautiful story that we're telling. Yeah, he's a much darker, more isolated character this season. I think all of them have changed. Jumping forward in time was a really good way of explaining how this world has affected them, and the group dynamic has changed as well. That's something that always attracted me to the role, it's all about change, the whole story is about people changing, if you don't change, you die. If you don't adapt, you die. The writers keep pushing these characters . The story of the boy turned into the boy soldier this season is absolutely fascinating. I've never seen it before, certainly not on TV. There's so many other characters, and by definition of what we do, we end up killing off key characters, and then the group dynamic changes, and the show reinvents itself. Then other people step forward, and you watch them change as well.
Do you think Rick could ever become like Shane?
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah, I think he already has. In episode two you see this uncompromising brutality, there's an immediate decision making that is much like the Shane character. I was concerned about showing that too early, but the writers said "no, no, no" this season is very much about the clash of worlds, and men, and camps. yeah I think he has, and certainly there are things, pivotal things, that happen this season that change who the character is, and certainly our group, forever.
What you think the differences are between Rick and the Governor's leadership?
Andrew Lincoln: I think all the kills, all the responsibility, all the bad calls weigh very heavily on Rick and they change him. I think he, the Governor, is able to compartmentalize that, and just go "that's the New World". It doesn't erode his soul, he's able to step aside and say "that's just the way it is". I think Rick feels every single death.
That's interesting because by the time season two came to a close, that's the way Shane seemed to be heading.
Andrew Lincoln: I think if Shane had still been around to set up camp it wouldn't be entirely dissimilar to what the Governor has achieved with Woodbury.
Do you think Rick may eventually make that connection? Will he see that the Governor has the same attitude that his best friend had?
Andrew Lincoln: I think that you should be on the writing team. it's very smart. I think it's interesting because I'm not allowed to say, I can't spoil anything, but I do think that there is a common bond of leadership that possibly these two men it recognize in one another, and they're the only people they have as a reference point. You know what I mean? Rick is certainly reluctantly leader, he didn't want to be there in the first place, but he keeps stepping up. I think that certainly would be very interesting thing to recognize. I may just put in the next episode.
When Rick first sees the prison, he thinks it's perfect, and this is what he wants. Can you talk about how the jail grows on both of your characters? How do they change or develop because of the prison?
Chandler Riggs: It's like we've been saying- adapt or die. We've all been thrown into this horrific world, and the prison is just another thing to adapt to. You can never let your guard down.
Andrew Lincoln: That's the one thing I really loved about the comic book. He says "we're home" in the comic, and in this we say "it's perfect." What other show does that? You break into prison, and we're telling that story, and we say "it's perfect ." I love that, I love that that's the show we are trying to do. And I too think that certainly for Carl, and I would never speak on his behalf, but he's kind of fallen in line with it now, certainly when it comes to Lori, he sided with his dad. And certainly with the infidelities now he's shut down. if we picked up directly on the back season two, and seen the prison, we would never had attempted it. We were too broken, too disparate, too disorganized, too distrustful of Rick's leadership. We've spent some time together, we've become this sort of one organic organism, breathing as one, listening and working together. And we're so desperate, and when he sees the prison he says this is it, this is the citadel, this is the future. And he says this could be a viable place, this the first time he's seen it, with the perimeter fence they can control and they can begin again, especially for the kid.
Can you talk a bit about the Rick and Lori relationship this season?
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah, Sarah (Wayne Callies) and I made a conscious decision not to really look at each other, certainly for the first few episodes until something happens. You know, these two people love each other, and it's on a cellular level, but at the moment they're in a worse place than they've ever been in their whole existence. She even says, in episode two I believe, if you could've drawn up the divorce papers we would've done it, but we can't. They hold a common history, and history is vital in this world where everything is being lost. And also for the group, you know, mama and papa aren't talking to each other, Hershel has become the mediator, the kid has sided with the father, she does not want to burden Rick with anything, and yet she has a time bomb waiting to happen. Sarah's made an incredible choice going "it's fine, don't worry about me", that's her Call, and that's an incredible choice, and so the dynamics changed .Every time she looks at me it Burns, the Shane guilt, that's why we made this conscious decision not make any eye contact. And we're saying we haven't since it's been "public", all winter long around the campfire people can see it, this is what happened, and everyone is hurting. It's the grail myth, isn't it? The king is dead.
Was there ever anything from the source material that you wish they put into the show for either of your characters?
Chandler Riggs: I'm kind of spoiled, I've got everything I wanted. the changes from season one to season three you can see. It Helps me as an actor, because I get to play two characters. I went from this little boy to almost a fighter. it's been really, really fun and great experience for me. I'm learning a lot from Andrew.
Carl's become quite the zombie killer in the first two episodes this season...
Chandler Riggs: I actually don't count the kills, but I think the prop guys do.
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah those guys are diehard fans. They came up to us, and they said there's more kills in episode one, than there are in the whole of season one. Yeah, you're a badass this season.
Is this a continuation of Carl growing into Rick's right hand man?
Andrew Lincoln: Yeah, what happened with Shane was vital, it was sort of a rite of passage, certainly for me seeing him see take down Shane, even as a walker, it's still a powerful image. I was a rite of passage, and it was a wake-up call for Rick to go "hey, wait a minute, the kids ready." He's becoming this very vital and necessary soldier.
Say in 20 years they remake The Walking Dead, which happens so often these days, what would you tell the actors who were now playing your characters?
Andrew Lincoln: Keep it real, just do it real, don't do any spin on it. Just keep it as real and as grounded as you can.
Chandler Riggs: Good luck!