September 2013 By Philip Berk
Crazy things are happening…
Zombies take over the media.
Dozens of zombie movies are made.
Even one about Lincoln being a zombie killer or was that vampire killer?
Then The Walking Dead a zombie movie gets nominated for a Golden Globe as best TV series.
Meryl Streep’s son in law is cast as Lincoln in the film version of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer, not killer,
And an English actor named Lincoln is playing the lead in the TV series.
At his press conference — Lincoln is not his real name — Andrew Lincoln prefers not to talk about his famous father in law Ian Anderson of, not the Grateful Dead, but Jethro Tull, but rather about the show which has become not just a cult hit but a hugely successful TV show in the U.S.
So what attracted a cultured, classically trained actor like him to venture into these strange environs?
“I got a script, sides from a script that said The Walking Dead, AMC, Frank Darabont, and underneath it said Zombie Survival Horror, and that’s when I became a bit concerned. I phoned up my agent and said, ‘It’s nineteen years I’ve been working, and it’s time for zombies?’ and she said, ‘Trust me, the team is extraordinary, put yourself on tape and see what happens,’ and I put myself on tape and Frank and AMC got back the very next day; they sent me the script, and I fell in love with the idea because it seemed to me a brilliant opportunity to say something about what it is to be human in this extraordinary landscape.”
Was he surprised by the extraordinary success the show has had?
“You always hope that something is going to be watched by people, but this seems to have caught people’s imaginations like nothing else I’ve ever been involved in. It seems to across generations as well; we have young people, we have parents, we have grandparents saying they watch the show and they relate to these characters. I suppose that’s all that we try to do as actors, ground the emotional side of the show as much as we can to sell the zombies, and the alchemy seems to be working.”
The end of season 3, where his wife dies in childbirth must have been challenging.
“I obviously I hated losing Sarah Wayne Callies because she’s such a formidable, bright, intelligent, and brilliant actor, but that is the only downside about this show: you make very, very good friends and they create incredible characters. and then they get eaten, and I invariably shoot them. It’s my job, and that’s the way of the world for the time being.”
How has the show changed his life?
“Professionally very little because I haven’t worked in between seasons, which has allowed me to go home and be a dad. Right now a very large proportion of my life is the show. We began with 6 episodes, then we went to 13 episodes, and now we do 16, and along with the publicity, a lot of my year is taken up with doing these kind of events, which is lovely because I get a direct response from you guys, but it leaves very little time, maybe a window of January and February, February/March when I can do other work. It’s a funny thing fame because nothing in my personal life has changed but everything here has changed. I’m busier. People kind of know me probably a lot more. I’m more visible which is strange, but peoples’ reactions are very positive; it’s a wonderful thing to have people coming up saying we watch it as a family, we dig it, we love it. The show seems to have captured people’s imaginations in a completely different way. They want to talk about what motivates our characters, and it’s really intriguing that a lot of people that watch the show are really keyed into that – they want to talk about what did that mean when you did that; so it’s been one of the great thrills doing this show.”
Losing characters plotwise is endemic to the show.
“As I said, it is the only downside of this job Obviously, it’s very difficult because we’re quite visible now, so you have to be very careful about who’s wearing black; obviously we don’t want to give any spoilers away, but it’s heart wrenching – think of all the extraordinary people we’ve lost already. Jon Bernthal, Jeff DeMunn, it goes on, wonderful actors; so, yeah, it’s tough, and the crew feel it. Everybody feels it. When Sarah left it was harrowing and when Laurie left, people who have been on it from the beginning, it’s really, really hard, and equally so for those who come in and do a great, magnificent job for four episodes and then leave. You’re just getting to know them so it is hard.”
Did he get to meet Robert Kirkman, the creator of the original comic book?
“Yeah, he’s a great guy, very funny; he’s got an amazing sense of humor, incredibly deadpan. He’s very bright with the most twisted imagination you can ever imagine. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. He’s also an executive producer and a writer on the show so he’s often on set on episodes that he wrote last season and the season before, as are all of the writers. I also see him every Comicon. I saw him when we were in the writers’ room three weeks ago.”
Anything he can say about Ian Anderson?
“He is an extraordinary man and a brilliant talent. I mean he’s been working for forty five years in a very, very tough industry. He’s been a huge success all throughout his musical career. He’s a legend, and we get together sometimes at Christmas where I play the piano, he plays the flute, and we sing zombie songs from the Apocalypse. He loves the show, he’s a big fan, and he really enjoys it.”
By the way Lincoln is not his real name.
His agent suggested early on he change it.
He is also a father twice over, with a five year old daughter and a three year old son.