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The Walking Dead Q&A – Josh McDermitt (Eugene)

Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about embracing his mullet and keeping his character’s secret.

Q: Tara calls Eugene’s mullet a “source of power.” Has it become a part of you?

A: It has absolutely become a part of me, not just Eugene. I feel naked without it at this point. They’ve let my hair grow out so it kind of looks like I have a baby mullet. I can’t get away from Eugene.

Q: Eugene’s no good at killing walkers. How would you fare during a zombie apocalypse? Could you take care of yourself?

A: I would like to think that I would be an epic bad ass – someone like Daryl or Abraham – but I actually feel I would be worse than Eugene. A lot of people have this perception of how they would be in certain situations because they would never experience those situations. I’m slowly coming to the realization that I would just be the biggest pussy in the world.

Q: Eugene tells the others he’s smarter than everyone and a good liar. If you were to choose two attributes to describe yourself, which would they be?
A: I think I find humor in the darkest of situations and I’m a giant teddy bear.

Q: Talk about that scene in Episode 505 where you blast all the walkers with the fire truck hose. Was that a lot of fun to shoot?

A: That was so much fun! They had a stunt guy on top of the fire truck for the overhead shot and all of the walkers were stunt people. I don’t think they trusted me. I was so jealous of that guy. He looked like a better-looking version of me. He was totally fit and wore the mullet better. I was afraid I would get fired. [Laughs] It was such an epic day and cool to be a part of a scene that’s going to be remembered. Eugene got to be the hero.

Q: Maggie tells Eugene if he didn’t have his mullet, he’d be like everyone else in the lab. What else makes him a unique individual?

A: For one, he’s extremely smart. I think that’s the only thing he has to offer in the apocalypse. He’s so black and white and really lacks an emotional spectrum. He’s socially awkward and that’s another thing that makes him unique. It’s a fun mix for someone like that to try to survive in this world.

Q: Were you surprised about Eugene’s secret? Did you know all along or did you find out along with everyone else?

A: I knew all along. It’s also outlined in [Robert] Kirkman’s comics, so I think people had an idea, but I tried to throw them off anyway.

Q: Are you good at keeping secrets yourself? What’s the biggest secret you ever kept?

A: I would say Eugene’s secret is actually the biggest I’ve ever kept. The second biggest would be getting booked on the show initially. I had to lie to my friends about why my hair was dyed a different color. I’m horrible at keeping secrets. The only way to get me to keep a secret is to make me sign a Non-Disclosure [Agreement]. Otherwise, it’s fair game. I get so excited when people tell me one. I just want to be included!

Q: Do you think he has any other redeeming qualities to defend his position in the group?

A: His intelligence is one of them. He’s not everybody’s favorite person at this point and he’s trying to figure out his way back into the group. I think he was devastated that people died to protect him, but he’s doing what he can to survive and so is everybody else. I think that’s why they haven’t killed him, although Abraham almost did.

Q: What would you do to Eugene if he had lied to you?

A: I think, in that environment, I wouldn’t be able to forgive him. In my own regular life, I’d give people the cold shoulder. I feel like I’m a great person to be around, so if they can’t be friends with me, that’s a punishment. [Laughs]

Q: Now that the secret is out that you modeled Eugene on your brother, what was his reaction? Is he mad at you, or does he like it?

A: He was so pissed off at me! He sent me the link to the interview and the subject was “F-You.” [Laughs]

Q: What kind of tweets do the fans send you?

A: We do #MulletMonday and #MulletCrushMonday. They love to take pictures and create their own memes out of Eugene’s mullet. They also dress up their kids. It’s an honor to look so ridiculous on a hit TV show and have people want to copy that. The mullet has been sweeping the nation.

Q: You also get a lot of fan art on social media. What is it about Eugene that makes him a fan favorite? Do you think fans will view him differently now that his secret is out?

A: That’s actually something I’m concerned about. I’m a little scared. I think the fans will recognize that he’s a good dude and will forgive him quickly, but he’s still looking for a way to redeem himself because that was a big lie. Hopefully, people can separate the actor from the character.

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