For Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead represents the best of both worlds. As Rick Grimes, leader of a group of survivors during a zombie apocalypse, he has done some of the most nuanced acting of his career. That's because the hit AMC series isn't just about battling flesh-eating ghouls. It's also about relationships, love, courage and more. That's the aspect of the show that Lincoln likes most: exploring human emotions. That said, he does enjoy getting in touch with his inner warrior.
"There's nothing like putting an ax in someone's head," the English-born actor says. "It's an incredible release. The joy of doing the show is that you turn up for work and you have no idea what is in store for you in a day." The Walking Dead, which airs at 8 p.m. Sunday, is fun to watch for the very same reason.
1 What first attracted you to this show three years ago?
I'd never read anything like it. And doing something new is exciting and terrifying. The pilot was almost like a grand operatic feature film in the way that it said something about humanity in the middle of hell.
2 With Rick, there's always a moral code, a line he won't cross. Yet he winds up crossing that line every time. Do you like portraying such a conflicted character?
The moral ambiguity is one of the joys of playing Rick. I'm reading a book at the moment called The Wisdom of Psychopaths. One of the scenarios in it is there's a car on a railroad track rolling towards five people and it will kill them. There's also a man in front of you who, if you push him in front of the car, it will save the lives of the five people. It tests the psychopathic mentality. Which choice do you make? The psychopath says it's a no-brainer: Push the man. He dies, but you save five for the price of one. I mention this because, in our show, we play out those scenarios in a very real way every week, which is thrilling.
3 Is it true that the zombie stuntmen are the unsung heroes of The Walking Dead?
A lot of credit has to go to the people who play the Walkers, these incredible stuntmen that get kicked and stabbed. I stuck a knife in one of these. It was a dummy knife, but I stuck it so close to him it sort of went in his mouth at one point. He was fine and he didn't get hurt. But I still felt the need to apologize.
4 The relationship between Rick and his pregnant wife, Lori, is very rocky. Will they work things out?
These two people love each other at a cellular level. They've been sweethearts. They're the first and last loves. So there has to be some hope.
5 What's the scariest movie or TV show you ever saw?
I watched The Omen when I was about 8 years old. Way too young. And I watched the whole thing. I was completely traumatized. I couldn't sleep. And my brother leaned over to me after I watched it and said, "That is all true. It's in the Bible." Now, every time I hear that music, I'm terrified.
-- David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram