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The Walking Dead Q&A – Melissa McBride (Carol)

Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about filming her action-packed Season 5 scenes and how Carol has changed since Season 1.

Q: Tell us more about the scene in the Season 5 premiere where you’re walking among zombies who are covered in flames, gun in your hand, after you’ve just caused the Terminus explosion. How bad-ass did you feel?

A: [Laughs.] Well, it was frightening because she could have been mistaken for a walker. She’s thinking, “I’m going to do the best I can here and hopefully make it out alive,” but there was a very good chance that anything could happen. It was awesome shooting all of that – the sequences of going into Terminus, the explosion, walking with walkers on fire, the fight with Mary, the reunion – just all of it. There wasn’t any part of “me” or Carol feeling bad-ass. It was about not knowing any different. This is what she had to do. It’s where we are.

Q: Did you have to go through any training for your fight with Mary in Terminus?

A: Mary and I did tumble around on the floor quite a bit, but the stunt double went into those candle holders. They didn’t want to take any chance of us landing wrong or catching on fire. They are very well-trained and did such an amazing job. We just picked up from where they landed on the floor.

Q: In Episode 506, Carol talks about all these identities of herself that have “burned away.” Have you ever experienced something like that, changing so much that the person you were no longer exists?

A: Definitely. I feel like with growing up and going through life experiences, I have to say goodbye to different aspects of myself that are no longer useful to me. I think we are always in a state of becoming. It’s wonderful.

Q: What advice would you give Carol about her identity crisis?

A: I would say, “Hang in there. Don’t lose your head.”

Q: That’s great advice for the apocalypse!

A: Yes! Literally and figuratively.

Q: Carol has changed so much since Season 1. Knowing her so well, is there any part of her that’s still the same?

A: There are definitely aspects that she maintains. There are parts of her that were the best parts of her even before the apocalypse. It’s a fight for her to hold on – to know that these parts are inherently in her, but if she lets them come to the surface, they’re going to cause pain. You can’t coddle people. Nurturing is different in this world. Surely, before all of this, the last thing she would want to see is a knife in a child’s hand.

Q: How nice was it to be back with Daryl this season? Are you a “’shipper” for them to get together?

A: I’m not even talking about that! I’m not adding to the fire. There’s a war out there. The fans are pretty passionate. [Laughs.] It’s really fun to see the ‘shipping,’ though. It’s pretty cool.

Q: What was it like to shoot that van crash? Was it scary?

A: Yes, it was very frightening. Norman [Reedus] and I were literally hanging over a real bridge in downtown Atlanta. It was rigged and braced professionally by Darrell Pritchett from the special effects team. We trust the people we work with, but I had never seen anything from that perspective before and I hope never to again. We were seeing the ground below at an angle. When the van goes over, that’s obviously not us. Those were dummies done by Greg Nicotero and his team. Once it hits underneath the bridge, we went back inside and did a little jostle; and that was that.

Q: Rick (Andrew Lincoln) banishes Carol from the prison last season. Do you think you could make it on your own during an apocalypse or would you need to have a team? Where would you go if you were on your own?

A: I always thought it would be fun to find a hot air balloon and stay off the ground for as long as you can. I think it’s great to have a team on your side. You can only do so much on your own. Just to have another human being to share a word or touch reminds you that you’re in this world and still alive. That’s a great thing.

Q: You had probably the most talked-about line of Season 4: “Look at the flowers.” What was it like to shoot that episode? Since it aired, any memorable encounters with fans regarding it?

A: Brighton Sharbino, Kyla Kenedy and Chad L. Coleman were all so wonderful to work with on that episode. It was so intimate. The kids were so prepared and professional. It was heartbreaking and difficult and I do feel like a part of me stepped away in that scene where Carol pulls the trigger. The number one thing fans want me to autograph on a photo is “Look at the flowers. Love, Melissa.”

Q: There’s a #TeamCarolBoots hashtag on Twitter. Have you heard about that? Are you thinking about picking up a pair?

A: I have heard about it. I think it’s great. There are a lot of fans on Twitter who tweet me pictures of their boots. Those boots are empowering.

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