walker stalker con andrew lincoln

I was presented with an amazing opportunity as a member of the press for Walker Stalker Con this past weekend – the chance to participate in a roundtable with Andrew Lincoln, who is of course the star of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Just eight members of the press were at this particular interview, and each of us got to ask one question. Several of us at The Geekiary put our heads together in hopes of coming up with a question that would really ‘count’.

In the end, there was a good mix of show-centric questions versus ones focused on Andrew Lincoln as an actor, and ours happened to be in the former category. Despite having a fairly limited amount of time in what was clearly a busy weekend for him, Mr. Lincoln truly went out of his way to give all of us thoughtful (and thought-provoking, in many cases) answers.

One of the first inquiries was from Joe Blackmon of ComicBook.com, who mentioned Andrew Lincoln’s stellar acting as Rick in reaction to Lori’s death and asked if there was anything in the upcoming episodes of season four that would again cause that ‘wow’ reaction amongst viewers. Though Andrew admitted that he’s “not one of those actors that watches [the show]”, he also made it a point to mention that “there are some incredible emotional moments…as always…and this season in particular. There’s a lot of story, there’s a lot of character development in this season.” While he didn’t talk much about himself in particular, he mentioned Melissa McBride (Carol), Emily Kinney (Beth), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), and Scott Wilson (Herschel). “Wait for Scott Wilson in the next couple of episodes,” he hinted – and as we didn’t see much of Herschel in episode four, I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve got some great surprises coming in relation to that character.

Mr. Lincoln went on to say that this season, “everybody is getting their chance to shine…we have an incredible ensemble of actors here. I’m not one of these people that goes, ‘Yeah, I killed that scene’…it’s just not my style…Losing someone as important as Lori was on so many levels…very difficult, but…there’s something I’ve just read, we haven’t shot it yet, and I hope I get it right. But…there’s something very big looming that makes me nervous, and a nervous actor is always in my opinion a good actor, because it means you care.” Unfortunately we were not allowed to ask for details on this thing they “haven’t shot yet”, but the fact that he compares it to filming Rick dealing with Lori’s death certainly makes me nervous as well!

Andrew Lincoln’s panel at Walker Stalker Con, November 2013

When my turn came around, I asked, “I think it was at Comic Con earlier this year, you mentioned that every choice or action Rick makes or takes comes with a cost. So I was curious if there was one in particular that you felt was most detrimental, or at least had the biggest effect on his current decision to step back in terms of leadership?”

Although his immediate response was “Sophia”, in the end Andrew essentially gave me a two-fold answer. He’d spoken with the writers between seasons one and two and told them that Rick “has to mess up profoundly…you’ve got to see a man break, because that’s just…a human being. But then you see the fortitude that happens.” He mentioned a similar moment during a grave scene with Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave, a moment that shows “in amongst the hell, there’s still hope…when you see a man’s strength.” Mr. Lincoln then brought his response back around to Sophia being one of Rick’s “terrible decisions. He should never have left her, he shouldn’t…and that irrevocably changed him, and caused that divide in the group…the pragmatic…against the humane.”

I was expecting that to be the end of his answer, but it was a more-than-pleasant surprise when he continued on to say, “I think that the shock and the aftereffect of Lori’s death certainly put [Rick] into a place where he was isolated, for a lot of last season. And dealing with his own grief and his own…madness, for want of a better [word]…I mean, he was very, very distressed and disturbed, and I think that made him loosen the reins on keeping an eye on Carl and Judith. And I think what you’re going to see a lot more this season is a man taking responsibility for that, above all else.”

Considering how introspective Mr. Lincoln’s previous answers had been, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at the thoughtful response he gave to me, or at the fact that when the final question was presented, he once again offered up a sort of two-fold answer. Jason Bailey from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta asked, “If you had one hundred percent control over your character, and maybe the storyline, up until now – is there anything you would have changed? And if so, what?”

At first Andrew admitted, “I would have loved to…have had a bit more time with my wife. Sarah Wayne Callies is such a great actress, and I loved working with her so much.” Quite the sweet sentiment, and considering Lori does live a bit longer in the comics, definitely something to think about in terms of the progression of Rick’s character on the show – which is what Mr. Lincoln brought up next. “The thing is, the beauty of…how that informed my character, was that it sent me off into this crazy place that we arrived at. And it was brutal and challenging and scary. So it’s difficult in hindsight…if you change that…because it changes every other aspect. And I’m very, very happy about who this guy is now and where he’s at. Just because it’s been a different experience this year, playing a guy that…[it’s] almost like he’s holding himself back…he’s like a man in the traps…he’s reining himself in. But…that may not be for long.”

That last sentence was certainly a bit of a cliff-hanger ending for the roundtable. Between Mr. Lincoln’s comments about Scott Wilson, about a yet-to-be-filmed scene that makes him nervous, and the hint that Rick may not continue to be so contained “for long”, I’d say that we have far more to look forward to than even the first four great episodes of season four have shown us.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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