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Zombie Star Talks Walking Dead

Written by Tashi from the blog Interviews on 02 Nov 2010
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laurie_holden_11The anticipated new zombie slasher series The Walking Dead has arrived.

It premieres on TopTV's Fox FX tonight (Tuesday, 2 November) at 21h20 as part of the world premiere that started this weekend - to coincide with Halloween.

You may have seen the news about the global zombie stunt that took place last week? If not, here's a link to it with the worldwide pics: Zombies Invade Joburg, Major World Cities.

What can we expect from it? ... To find out I chatted to one of the series' leads Laurie Holden, who plays Andrea - one of the human survivors who needs to flee zombie choppers.

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Andrea and her sister Amy are on a road trip when the zombie apocalypse happens. They find themselves stranded and Andrea discovers she can kick butt with a gun.

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Tashi:
Could you tell us more about Andrea - and her rifle skills?
Laurie: Well, she's a gal that, prior to all this madness, she was a very successful lawyer, and in this apocalyptic world, there are no courtrooms but she continues to fight against injustice.

She has this strong moral compass, she's really empassioned to help other people. She just so happens to have this amazing skillset where she's amazing with a gun and in many ways she's a natural born leader.

Tashi: I thought you were gonna say a natural born killer. These gun skills - how did that happen for her?
Laurie: You know how kids just have a knack for something and you can't explain it - when you see her in Season 1 she's never fired a gun in her life but once she picks one up and has to do shooting practice, she hits a bullseye every time. She has this skill, that's even a surprise to her.

The season premiere is 70 minutes. The first season has six episodes. A second season hasn't been confirmed yet but if the show's renewed, it'll have 13 episodes.

Tashi: Did you know how to fire guns before?
Laurie: Yeah, I've fired a lot of guns before - I've played a lot of cops and I was a super-hero on Silent Hill so it's like second nature to me.

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Laurie's roles include: Marita Covarrubias on The X-Files, Agent Olivia Murray in The Shield and Cybil Bennett on Silent Hill.

Tashi: It's such a huge series with so many firsts: the first TV zombie series, this worldwide premiere - what's been the most exciting thing about filming it for you personally?
Laurie: Well, I love the storytelling. This is my third collaboration with Frank Darabont and he's such an incredible story-teller. I love the graphic novels, and every single script that comes in is so dramatic and rich and textured and complex.

The characters are so fully developed and flawed and tragic and wonderful - it's such a gift as an actor because the material is sensational.

Frank Darabont is the executive producer and writer of the show. His credits include The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, producing, directing and screenplay.

Tashi: All the action of the show - what's been the most dangerous thing about filming it?
Laurie: Oh God, surviving the heat. We were working in like 110/115 degree fahrenheit (43/46 centigrade) heat with humidity and we shoot outside in the sun all day, every day, so that was extremely challenging physically and mentally because the heat just takes everything out of you. In Atlanta, Georgia.

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Tashi: You're a human rights activist as well so you must have mega issues wih the zombies seeings they're not about human rights at all?
Laurie: No they're not human, they're people that got exposed to something like a virus and were killed and, it's described in the show, but a part of their brain got upstarted by the virus.

Their brains can do basic motor skills so they can walk and sit down and they need protein, the fundamental things that make you alive, to exist, but they don't have any sense of self.

Laurie's a human rights activist involved in the fight against human trafficking. She's completing her Masters Degree in Human Rights at Columbia University.

Tashi: Why do you think people have loved zombie movies as much as they have over the years? And that there's a demand for a TV series as a result?
Laurie: I think that particularly today, more than ever, I think that there's an apocalyptic feeling going on in the world.

You know, what's happening with our environment, the oil spill and nuclear weaponry - I call it a consciousness around the world that there are things beyond our control that have the power to annihilate us.

I think that the show is, in many ways, a metaphor for a lot of the chaos going on in the world and the embodiment of a lot of our fears so it's something that people can relate to. It's also really entertaining.

Tashi: Zombie's are always so delightful on one hand and so awful on another. What would you say Andrea's inner zombie is?
Laurie: I think her inner conflict is, she has a really strong moral compass but there's a lot that really rattles her and tests her mettle and I think she particulary of all the characters really battles with hope.

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Amy, played by Emma Bell

Tashi: Her sister - does she have any impact on that? Does she give her hope?
Laurie: I can't really talk about anything specifically or I'd be shot by my show-runners but I can say that Amy is the love of Andrea's life. She's her best friend and she's the best sister she ever had.

They're thick as thieves but a lot of really terrible things happen to my character, there's a lot of loss, she's physically attacked, there's a lot of things that happen to her that really test her mettle as a human being.

Tashi: Would she do anything to survive?
Laurie: No. Let me clarify that - she has tremendous empathy for other humans and I think she would rather take her own life than ever hurt another person.

Tashi: Even if someone was coming after her?
Laurie: She'd kill a zombie because they aren't human - if it were self-defense and someone was attacking her, then she would, she's only human but I think across the board she's on the good side of the aisle.

When the apocalypse happens, everybody responds differently. Some people embace their higher selves and become natural born leaders, which I think Andrea is, and others allow themselves to resort to near savagery and she's not one those.

Tashi: How would you respond if there were a zombie apocalypse?
Laurie: I think I would get together with my family and loved ones and do the very best I could to protect everyone I love. I can't even conceive of this, it's such a bizarre world we've created.

Tashi: If there were to be such an apocalypse - do you think it would be a good or a bad thing?
Laurie: I think it would be the worst thing in the world. Are you kidding me? To have the human race wiped out as a species, it would be horrible.

Tashi: What do you think people are going to find particularly exciting? The must-see factor of it for you?
Laurie: The special effects are incredible. The special effects make-up artist Greg Nicotero, he just won the Emmy for The Pacific - these zombies are so real and so authentic and so frightening.

It's a scary show, there's nothing campy about it, I think people are going to be so thrilled because it's a show that has really complicated characters that are flawed and the storytelling is out of this world - I think it's amazing entertainment.

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Tashi: I've always wanted to play a zombie. It's like no pressure, all you have to do is go after someone.
Laurie: They actually had to go to zombie school, all the zombies had to learn how to walk and turn and react - they were very selective with the zombies that they cast because they're such an important part of the show that you can't just have Joe Schmo off the street, show up with make-up on and say: "Okay, he's a zombie.

They all trained to be zombies, how to move and react and their facial expressions. There are certain basic 101's that they all needed to learn - they're very authentic.

Laurie: "In many ways it's a morality tale - an exploration of the human condition. I love it. Life couldn't be more parallel in terms of what's happening."

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1 Comment

Sobza
03 Nov 2010 08:03

Wow....wow....wow, fascinating scary and awesome stuff, I can't wait for next weeks episode....Tjo

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