Written by: The_Digital_Jedi
Warning: If you have yet to watch Sunday’sWalking Dead finale, steer clear of the following post mortem. And we repeat: If you have yet to watch Sunday’s Walking Dead finale, steer clear of the following post mortem. Everyone else, you have permission to proceed…
This was more than just another one bites the dust.
Sunday’s Walking Dead season ender not only marked the final episode for original cast member Laurie Holden, it served as a dramatic climax for her character, Andrea, whose Season 3 arc proved to be among the show’s most polarizing. (Why didn’t she kill the Governor when she had chance after chance!)?
In the following exclusive interview with TVLine, Holden — who deftly drove the role from tough to suicidal and back — addresses some of the specific criticism leveled against her ill-fated alter ego, shares her thoughts on her sad send-off (a self-inflicted bullet to the brain), and reveals when she learned that the end was nigh (hint: not that long ago!).
TVLINE | How long have you known about Andrea’s death?
I didn’t get the official word until a few days before we began [shooting] the finale. It was a shock to everyone. It was never part of the original story docs for Season 3. And it was rather unexpected. That said, this is The Walking Dead. This show is not conventional by any means — and we know that as actors going in. So you roll with it. You show up, you do the best job you can, and you honor the storytelling. Overall, this has been an extraordinary experience and I just feel so blessed to have been a part of it.
TVLINE | Do you know why the decision was made to kill her now?
Honestly, I feel like it’s story-driven. It does propel the story forward… The [second half of Season 3] was a bit of a free-for-all. It had an organic fluidity to it and it just naturally unfolded day-by-day, week-by-week, moment-to-moment.
TVLINE | Andrea has taken some heat from fans this season for, among other things, sticking by the Governor’s side for so long. What do you make of the criticism?
I think when people watch the [entire] season — especially the finale — that her trajectory will be clear. She was a woman caught between two worlds. All shewanted was peace. She was for the people and was willing to do anything and everything possible even if it meant sacrificing herself to preserve humanity and keep the people alive. At times her actions were a bit misunderstood or ambiguous. But when you see the season overall I think people will really understand this girl. She did the best she could. And I do feel there was a sense of closure, healing and completion. The people of Woodbury did reach a sanctuary. No one in the prison was killed. Rick was finally set free from the ghosts of his past. And Andrea died in the arms of her best friends surrounded by the people she loved. She wasn’t cannibalized. She didn’t turn. She was able to go out with a certain amount of dignity. Her last dying wish was to end it herself and she was granted that. And by the grace of God she’s now going to be with her sister. And Dale.
TVLINE | Do you think she died a hero? A martyr?
That’s not my place to say. I’d like to think Andrea’s death will have meaning. That what she stood for and believed in will continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of the people she left behind, because we all learn and grow from one another. I do love that the finale ended [with a shot of] a cross, because I feel that it’s a time for new beginnings and a spiritual awakening. Let the healing begin.
TVLINE | Milton’s exchange with Andrea in the finale felt very meta, because in many ways he was asking her the same questions fans have been asking all season: Why did she choose to stay with the Governor, why didn’t she kill him when she had the chance…
I am so grateful for how that [scene] was written. It was written by [new Season 4 showrunner] Scott Gimple. I feel like there is complete closure and resolution with the character, and any questions the fans had have now been answered. It couldn’t have been a better ending in terms of really understanding her past.
TVLINE | She kept coming back to the same refrain — “I wanted to save everyone,” “I didn’t want there to be any death.”
Since [around] Episode 9 — when the Governor pit [Merle and Daryl] against each other, and then when [Andrea] went to the prison and found out about all the insane things he had been doing — her whole modus operandi from that point forward was, “How can I make sure that these people stay alive? How can I bring about peace?” She was a human rights lawyer prior to the apocalypse; she’s not a killer. She’s never killed a human being in her life. She’s killed a lot ofzombies. I think fans who were unhappy with the fact that she wasn’t able to follow through on killing [the Governor] when she was standing over the bed [with the knife], have to understand that that was a moral dilemma within her. She believed in humanity. She believed that, “OK, there’s got to be a better way.” And she was successful. There was a peace conference. Yes, it went south, but she was able to put that together. She was always trying. And there’s something to be said for that. And listen, at the end of the day,she was the casualty of war. I feel like she did not die in vain.
TVLINE | Was the final sequence between Andrea and Michonne as emotional to shoot as it was to watch?
Yes. [Sighs] Yes. [Long pause] You have to understand — we all love each other. We’ve been working on location in the backwoods of Georgia for the last few years. We’ve become a family. It’s very hard to say good-bye… I just love how it was written. I love that Andrea was able to ask for a gun and take matters into her own hands. I love that she was able to say, “I know how the safety works” — she came full circle from Season 1 with Rick. And I love that there was a healing and a closure between these two women who loved each other so much.
TVLINE | It made me want to see more flashbacks to the time Andrea and Michonne were on the run together. Are you sad there wasn’t more time spent showing the beginnings of that relationship?
It’s not up to me, you know? I’m the actor. I do what I’m told. The writers are the ones in charge of the storylines. And they write the scenes. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Do I wish we could’ve seen and explored more of the comic-book-Robert-Kirkman Andrea? Yes. Absolutely. Do I wish that I had more scenes with Michonne showing that friendship? Yes. Absolutely. But at the end of the day, I don’t think I could ask for a better death. I feel like her life mattered, and she died trying, and her heart was in the right place. I feel grateful for that. You can’t have it all.
TVLINE | I was a little surprised the Governor made it out of the episode alive. Are you, as a fan of the show, looking forward to seeing him get his comeuppance?
I think that’s inevitable. The man has crossed into such evil, dark territory that there is no redemption for him — ever. But this is the nature of our show. This is why it’s so popular. I think everyone assumed that I would be saved from the torture chamber, that I would kill the Governor, and it would be a big happy ending. But we don’t do that on The Walking Dead. And, at the end of the day, all Andrea wanted was to get back to her family and to make sure that the people didn’t die — the people in Woodbury and the people in prison. And she accomplished that. And if it meant that she had to go down to make that happen so be it.
TVLINE | Will you watch the show moving forward?
I don’t watch the show now. Andy Lincoln (Rick) doesn’t watch the show. When we’re shooting it we’re so invested. It’s every moment of our lives, 18 hours a day. It’s necessary to separate. I think in time I will be able to go back and watch. Because I do love the people I work with. The cast and crew are the best people I’ve ever known, and I want to see their beautiful work and I want to see their journeys. That said… [Sighs]… I guess I’m like an audience member now. [Pauses] I don’t want to see any more people that I love die. [Laughs] Maybe I’d rather live in the dark.
TVLINE | Any chance we might see Andrea again – either as a ghost or vision like Lori or in a flashback?
Anything’s possible. Who knows what they have up their sleeve? There may be scenes of Andrea and Michonne that the audience wanted to see. You may see more of renegade-Robert-Kirkman-badass-Andrea.
TVLINE | What’s next for you?
Legally, I haven’t been able to procure work. Come Monday, I am a free agent. I’m excited about the future and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
TVLINE | Any final thoughts?
Just that it’s not up to me to tell the audience how they should feel about this finale. I loved playing this character; I had the time of my life. I’m so grateful as an artist that I was able to be a part of this, and to tell this tale. But whether she was a hero or a martyr is not up to me. That’s up to the viewers to decide. At the end of the day I feel like she was just a gal who did the best she could. She tried.
Written by: WalkerBait
Beautiful Stranger: The Ballad of Savana Jade Wehunt
By Staff Writer Steve Boyd*
Savana Jade Wehunt, like many of the zombie actors on AMC’s smash “THE WALKING DEAD”, is called on to play many roles. Whether human or zombie, alive or dead, Savana makes it happen. With roles scattered throughout the television mythology, Savana Jade Wehunt has solidified herself as a silent force to be reckoned with.
Off screen, she’s one of the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet.
But don’t let the pretty face fool you.
WalkingTheWalkingDead.com was fortunate to chat with Miss Wehunt a few months back (just before Season 3 aired) to talk about her roles, her goals and what motivates her to get her zombie on.
WALKINGTHEWALKINGDEAD.COM: Savana, thanks for taking a few minutes out of your very busy schedule to allow us an interview. I’m sure you’ve been asked this a lot, but has it always been your dream to be one of the frightfully scary, flesh-eating undead?
SAVANAJADEWEHUNT: From an early age I have been watching scary movies, one of the first scary movies I can remember watching is The Birds which to me weren’t very scary. I love how scary movies draw peoples’ attention. I started getting into the haunt genre more when I was 14 when I started working for Creepers Haunted House. That’s where I learned how to be a flesh eating zombie. Since then I have worked for Six Flags Fright Fest and Folklore Haunted house. I guess you could say it is one of my dreams to become a flesh eating monster!
WTWD: With stand-in parts for Carl and Sophia as well as your zombie character in THE WALKING DEAD not to mention the WEBISODES, you’ve contributed a pretty significant amount in the mythology in just two seasons. What’s been the most challenging part for you or do you just take it all in stride?
SJW: I guess the most challenging part is to keep up with the crazy filming hours and be able to stay alert and in character. I also go to school full time but I make it a priority to just go with the flow and keep focused on my priorities.
WTWD: I’ve seen you out in the convention circuit making rounds. Do you enjoy meeting fans and what’s the one question you’re constantly asked by them?
SJW: I absolutely love meeting fans of the show, I love hearing the input that they have on what parts they did and did not like and what things they would like to see happen in the future. I am constantly asked by fans how long my makeup takes, which is a great question but it seems to be one of the most popular questions. Sometimes I’m asked what is their favorite cast member is really like.
WTWD: Speaking of fans, there’s A LOT of them. Were you familiar with THE WALKING DEAD comic book before getting involved with production of the TV show?
SJW: Sadly no I was not aware of the comic books. I didn’t know much about the comics until the first season premiered in 2010. Since then I’ve started reading them and I am more seasoned in the similarities and differences between the show and the comics. A lot of fans do ask me questions about the comics as well. I like to be able to talk about them too!
WTWD: I’ve heard in different interviews you’ve given that your interest in acting began around the age of 10 in productions at both church and school so this must have been something you’ve always wanted to do on some level. Who’s been your biggest fan and supporter over the years?
SJW: Ever since I was little I have wanted to be on the stage and have all eyes on me. My biggest fan I would have to say is my mom. She has always supported me in my career and has given me some great advice along the way.
WTWD: There are some actors who don’t watch the shows they star in. This may be a silly question, but do you watch THE WALKING DEAD and if so, what’s your favorite episode and why?
SJW: I usually watch The Walking Dead religiously so I can spot myself when I am on. Now one silly thing that I do is that I don’t watch the video or audio interviews that I do. For some reason it just makes me really nervous to watch myself speaking as myself. Or any of the other things I have done that I am myself and not a zombie. My favorite episode would have to be the finale of last year, I saw myself several times and it really showed how the characters in the next season would behave.
WTWD: You’ve given pointers and lessons to people on how to walk like a zombie. Personally, I think it’s something people would pay money for. Like Zombie School starring Savana Jade Wehunt. Do you think you can teach anyone to be a zombie or are there some students that just can’t cut it?
SJW: In my opinion, anyone can be a zombie. It’s all about letting lose and having fun or zoning out like do. For some people it comes naturally and many it takes a little bit of extra coaching. I would love to do zombie schools on the side; it is so much fun to meet new people!
WTWD: We’ve been fortunate enough to interview Chandler Riggs here at WTWD.com and you’ve played his stand-in. This means our site now has complete coverage of all things Carl Grimes. Which episodes have you played his stand-in in?
SJW: Well, I have played Chandler’s stand in for so many episodes I tend to forget. I remember being his stand in for much of the first half of last season. I stunt double when he was shot. Andy carried me and ran to the farm house to set up that shot. And in the bed at the farm house. And I played his photo double when Carl shot Shane. Chandler is a great young man to work with and I still can’t believe we are 7 years apart and I’m playing his stand in!
WTWD: Why do you think the horror films (or TV shows), particularly ones with zombies, are so popular?
SJW: I think that shows and movies with zombies are so popular because in many ways it can become very realistic. Even the CDC believes that it can happen! I also believe that people like the idea of having someone come back to life after dying so they never really lose a loved one in the first place. Today there are so many different theories that I can’t see how someone couldn’t believe it.
WTWD: Season Three is right around the corner and I understand you were asked to come back and help out. Without giving anything away (because I know how that would be bad)can you give me 3 words that would best describe what you know of Season Three? Or hey, spill the beans about Season Three. Whichever you’re most comfortable with.
SJW: Hahaha. I wish I could tell you guys but my zombie lips are sealed! I can tell you in three words how season 3 is gonna be: Epic, Apocalyptic and Jaw-Dropping (may be some literal jaw drops, haha).
WTWD: Let’s step away from THE WALKING DEAD for a couple questions. I understand you’re in college and you’re studying (unless you changed your major) early childhood education. My wife is a preschool teacher and I also heard the call of the teacher when I was in college. What made you decide to go into this field of study?
SJW: From a young age I was always interested in teaching and learning. I use to play school with my sister and grandmother during the summers and line my Barbies and Beanie Babies up and teach them school lessons during the school year. When deciding my major I realized that teaching is a lot like acting and being on a stage just in a different setting. I love young kids and their imaginations are so big that even I am blown away by them.
WTWD: I’m sure there are lots of 10-year olds out there that are getting involved in school plays and are dreaming of doing what you’ve already done. What would you tell these younglings?
SJW: I would tell them to never give up and always be you. Don’t let anyone change you and always make sure to follow your heart and make the right decisions. Don’t let anyone discourage you. If you have a passion jump head first right in and start swimming!
WTWD: You’ve been awesome, Savana. Any upcoming projects you’d like to plug as we come to a close?
SJW: Well thanks so much for giving me the opportunity. I’ve enjoyed answering these questions. I would like to plug a little of what I have been up to. I’ve been working on an independent film called Level 7 which is about zombies resulting from the tsunami in Japan. Also I just worked on a short film called Zombie City which is about a group of people fighting off zombies. I held zombie school for that and I am actually NOT a zombie in this film. In a few weeks I will be working on a remake of Night of the Living Dead in Virginia. I will be a lead ghoul and the ghoul coordinator. Thanks again for letting me interview with you and I hope all you TWD lovers are ready for season 3!
**Steve Boyd is the Director of ComicCollectorLive.com, co-host on the FANBOY BUZZ podcast and a HUGE fan of THE WALKING DEAD in any genre. His wife has permission to kill him if and ONLY if he’s the first to turn.
Written by: THE_GOVERNOR
SWAMPWALKER: THE BALLAD OF KEVIN GALBRAITH
By Staff Survivor Steve Boyd*
Kevin Galbraith is a man of many hats. His “life” in the television world of THE WALKING DEAD has been varied: he’s been shot by Rick, had rocks thrown at him by Carl, been stabbed in the head by Daryl, tried to take a bite at Merle and was the first to take a look under the hood of Dale’s stomach.
And that’s just in the first two seasons.
Answering a casting call paid off for Galbraith in a big way. Featured in several episodes of SEASON 1 and 2 of the TV series, Kevin was nice enough to spend a few minutes with us at WALKINGTHEWALKINGDEAD.COM to discuss his experiences with the show, life, death and just what in the hell happened to Dale’s hat?
WALKINGTHEWALKINGDEAD.COM: Thanks for agreeing to spend some time with us, Kevin. How did you come to be involved with THE WALKING DEAD?
KEVIN GALBRAITH: Around April or May 2010, There was a short, two line blurb asking for “tall and skinny people to be zombies in an upcoming tv show” on the Extras Casting Atlanta Facebook page. I had never gotten into anything involving acting or film and television, but I had genuinely thought about playing a zombie since I was in elementary school so I sent in some photos of myself. I had just learned that “Zombieland” was filmed in Georgia and was really bummed thinking I had missed the perfect and possibly only opportunity to play undead. I’m happy to say how totally wrong I was!
WTWD: Had you read any of THE WALKING DEAD comic books or graphic novels before?
KG: The day I got the email casting me as an extra, I went straight to Criminal Records in Atlanta and picked up the first two trade paperbacks. I’m one of the countless folks you hear talking about how The Walking Dead has hooked them and made them intensely interested in comic books in general. I’m now caught up with the series and eagerly await issue 100. Whatever Robert Kirkman and Image are doing is pure magic. And gross.
WTWD: How exciting was it to find out you’d gotten cast on the show?
KG: It’s hard to describe, but I was certainly blown away when I got that email. I’m a zombie fan first and foremost, being introduced to George Romero’s films as an 11-year old and subsequently teething on other amazing zombie/horror classics by the likes of LucioFulci, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, etc. Let’s just say finding out that I had been cast only let me imagine what would be going on, the actual experience put me square inside the minds and worlds of these incredible filmmakers and every moment is too surreal to fully describe in words.
(Kevin gets hands-on treatment by Director Greg Nicotero)
WTWD: Do the zombies get copies of the script like regular cast members or do they just fix you up, point and shoot?
KG: More often than not it’s a point and shoot, as you say. Production assistants will be dispersed through groups in horde scenes to continually update the walkers on what’s coming up next. Other days the groups of walkers will be part of the script readings for a scene, it all depends on the size of the group and the amount of detailed action involved. Since swamp walker took three days to shoot, I actually do have a call sheet and script for my day in the creek. It has KEVIN GALBRAITH watermarked in enormous diagonal letters on every page so the higher ups would know who to put on the execution block in the event of a leak. To be honest, I had to hide the thing from my own Mom for 5 months.
WTWD: Your zombie played a VERY pivotal role in the show’s mythology and if I’m not mistaken was the ONLY zombie that appeared in the episode you were in. What was it like finding out that you were responsible for killing one of the main characters?
KG: Something like my jaw falling off my face and shattering on the floor. I knew Greg Nicotero would be directing his first episode and that he was considering me for the “one zombie in the whole episode, who has a ‘really cool gag'” or something along those lines, but he wanted me to do a screen test with him and the assistant director. That’s when the three of us sat around a massive, 40 person mahogany conference table and went over the scenes in the swamp. When they got to the focus of Nicotero’s so-called “gag” they said “…Aaaaand that’s where you rip his stomach open at the last possible second of a potential rescue” before casually brushing past that bombshell and describing less mind-exploding details. I think I might have had to stop them narrating the scene so I could recover.
WTWD: You had rocks thrown at you by Carl. You ripped Dale’s guts out. You got took out by Daryl. So “Swamp Walker” got around in Episode #11. What was the most challenging part of being the Swamp Walker Zombie?
KG: So many things you might expect to hear, but it was honestly having to drive to Senoia, a 90 minute drive from Marietta STRAIGHT THROUGH Atlanta. Saying i-285 is an “Atlanta bypass” is a misnomer. Twice I thought my career as a zombie would be terminated because of bad time and traffic management, but luckily I learned how to drive like a deranged lunatic.
KG (cont.):There’s a laundry list of things a zombie extra could complain about: itchy prosthetics, annoying contact lenses, the smell of the make-up, the waiting around, and of course the finnicky Georgia weather. Swamp Walker had all that and was tackled repeatedly in the wet grass on a cold Georgia night with no shirt on. It was great! I’m hoping they throw me off of a building if they need me next time, or maybe the show will eventually have some winter scenes and they let me be a popsicle walker clothed only boxers and a single slipper. I’d do it.
WTWD: What do you think Swamp Walker’s life was like before he turned? Ever came up with an origin story for him?
KG: It’s a fun thing to think about but I don’t think it’s that important. Probably just another one of Hershel’s farmer neighbors…. Maybe not every zombie can take down a cow single-handedly though, so he could have been an expert in cattle husbandry or something.
WTWD: I’ve heard that it was supposed to be Hershel that died in the episode and not Dale. Can you confirm this or from your involvement was it always Dale that was gonna get his guts ripped out?
KG: I’ve heard the same thing about Hershel being on the tentative to-kill list but not necessarily in Dale’s place. I’ve also heard that it was supposed to be Jimmy dead in the field rather than a cow, but I can’t be sure.
WTWD: Any clue what happened to Dale’s hat? He’s wearing it in one scene and then you never really see it again….
KG: Dude, I’m so glad you asked me about that hahaha. There’s a video out there of Robert Kirkman talking about how he wished he had taken Dale’s hat when he had the chance, and describes a similar feeling of mystery surrounding who manages the bucket hats and who decides their ultimate fate. You see the hat go flying off for a split second but it’s kind of hard to tell because they do a really wide shot when they show Dale and Swamp Walker fall to the ground, and it lands in the grass somewhere. There were at least two bucket hats from what I could tell that night, maybe an entire box of them in wardrobe. I’m sure Jeff Demunn has one of them.
WTWD: Obviously, Swamp Walker bit the big one. Do zombie actors ever get to come back and play other zombies again?
KG: As a matter of fact, many folks who have the right physique and facial structure can go through make-up quite a few times and look substantially different each time. If you have that kind of build, take directions well and have the right kind of movement and performance, you will have a great chance of being called back more than once. As for me, I was the drooling rooftop walker trying to burst through the door when Merle was handcuffed to the rails in season 1. I was also the second zombie killed in the “zombie dogpile on Rick” gag from season 2.
WTWD: How has appearing on the show effected your life as a normal human being?
KG: The convention circuit is the craziest thing to me. I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my signature has a market value, it’s a real mind trip. I love it though, because I’m talking with real people rather than arguing about running vs walking zombies on the internet like when I was 16 hahah. There are so many enthusiastic and dedicated fans of all ages out there coming up to me at shows, and being in between the whole “Pro-Dale vs No-Dale” dynamic makes every single encounter interesting.
WTWD: Got anything in the pipeline you wanna plug as we start to wind this down?
KG: I have a Facebook page where you can see some behind the scenes shots, fan art, and pictures of the other walkers I have portrayed on the show: https://www.facebook.com/TWDSwampWalker
KG (cont.): The Walking Dead is the most intense and ambitious zombie epic anyone has ever attempted. While we all have a spot in our hearts for absolutely crummy, low-budget zombie b-flicks, the genre is disproportionately riddled with embarrassing failed ventures. A zombie themed TV show has been something fans have wanted for a very long time, and we can all be thankful that it wasn’t “Return of the Dead come Back to the Living: The Series: The continuing quest for the source of the ecstasy that turns people into zombies!” or something even remotely involving Uwe Boll. We have The Walking Dead.
*Steve Boyd is the Director of ComicCollectorLive.com, co-host on the FANBOY BUZZ podcast and a HUGE fan of THE WALKING DEAD in any genre. His wife has permission to kill him if and ONLY if he’s the first to turn.