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‘The Walking Dead’ Co-Star Melissa McBride Dishes About Sunday’s Season Premiere
The Walking Dead‘s series regulars are on media lockdown because at least one of them isn’t going to make it out of Sunday’s season premiere alive.
Melissa McBride, whose Carol Peletier character left the main group at the end of last season with Morgan (Lennie James), is one of the few cast members who isn’t staring down the barrel of Negan’s bat and will begin Season 7 at a safe zone called The Kingdom.
McBride sat down with Decider on a recent off-day from filming on the AMC series.
DECIDER: What has the secrecy been like for you so far this season?
MELISSA MCBRIDE: Every season, we try to avoid spoilers, but some fans are really savvy. People will ask when I’m out and about, “What’s going on? Are you still shooting?” I just smile and say I can’t talk.
You live in Atlanta, so you have a built-in excuse if your livelihood on the show ever comes up.
Has the cliffhanger tightened down your shooting locations at all?
No, the show isn’t writing around trying to avoid spoilers. Our locations are still all over the place. We’re going where we need to go to tell the story. None of that has changed.
American Horror Story was coy about its season opener. Is there something about the current media environment that puts a premium on surprise?
With social media, everything is so immediate. The face of television has been changing, and viewers are adapting to the new world just like we are.
In the episode “The Same Boat” last season, did you read the scene where you hyperventilated yourself into a panic as Carol having a moment or as the beginning of a con?
When I first read it, I wasn’t quite sure. On the second pass, I approached it a little differently. By the third pass, I was certainly making decisions for Carol about whether this was real — a true panic — and there was a very fine line. I won’t say one way or the other.
No, it’s vague. I like the way that it is vague. It helps play into where Carol’s mindset is. She’s having difficulty. I like the vagueness, the overall uncertainty that she feels. It’s hard as a viewer to know if it’s real or if it’s a ploy or diversion.
Carol burns two guys alive at the end of that episode. Did you see that as something you had to do because you couldn’t lock them in the room?
I don’t know if there was a lock on that door. Carol wanted to be certain that that were destroyed. It was a really unfortunate way to go about it, but as far as she was concerned it had to be done.
Did you see some malice there on Carol’s part or Carol evolving into something?
It was immediately after that she knew something was wrong, but she was not feeling right leading up to that. She was not clear about how she felt. She was doing everything in her power not to kill.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) says in one of the later episodes last season that if Carol had killed the sick people in the prison in Season 3 that people would be glad, but then it was controversial. I took that as Rick marking how much the rules of survival had changed. Was Carol becoming more comfortable at the end of last season with killing to survive?
I don’t think she’s ever been comfortable with it, but it’s absolutely a necessity and a mask she has to wear in order to do that. It’s always been about defending ourselves from becoming the monster, and at some point you can’t differentiate who’s the good and guy and who’s the bad guy. We are becoming the people that we are trying to save ourselves from, and I don’t think that’s what she wants.
Carol seems to be the character where the show’s moral relativism plays out the most visibly. Do you think that’s right?
Mmm. I think everyone has had their issues, and everyone still faces that moral dilemma. In this world, that line is shifting more and more to becoming the way it is. There is no moral choice. This is a different world.
The discussions you had with Morgan (Lennie James) last season reminded me of Magneto and Professor X in X-Men having philosophical discussions about the opposing sides of human nature. Is that how you see those discussions?
No, not really. Being in that world and being in that moment where death is at your heels and people are infiltrating your sleeping bag, it’s hard to have a philosophical discussion. Even the philosophy is changing, which is one of the things I love about it show.
Have you read past Episode 100 in the comics, which is where Season 7 will start, or have you wanted to avoid knowing where the story goes?
Help me on the geography at the end of Season 6. Is The Kingdom, which is where Carol and Morgan are going, very far from where everyone else is?
I’m not sure if that has been addressed, but we know that’s where Carol ended up. I think they’re in proximity. I think they’re all within easy access, easy proximity.
Without naming names, is there anything for shippers to look forward to in Season 7?
You probably can’t say much about Carol without giving something away.
The world is expanding, and who knows if Daryl even survives.
One of the questions that Fear the Walking Dead raised this season that The Walking Dead really hasn’t raised since Eugene turned out to be a fraud is whether there’s anything this group can do to stop the virus. Do you think The Walking Dead could deal with that, or would that make it a different show?
I think it’s something we could conceive of doing. As we go out and intersect with other people, we’re hoping to figure out what the hell is going on.
Do you think Eugene was right when he said Washington, D.C., which is more or less where the show is based now, is a likely place for some of those things to play out in a chaotic world?
Scott Porch writes about the streaming-media industry for Decider and is also a contributing writer for Playboy and
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Tags andrew lincoln , Interviews , lennie james , melissa mcbride , AMC , Netflix , Queue And A , Fear the Walking Dead , The Walking Dead
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