Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Jessie on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about what her role in Alexandria would be and shares how she deals with zombie nightmares.
Q: Alexandria is full of clean clothes, hot showers and even video games. If you were an outsider, what would be the first thing you did upon arriving?
A: Well, I thought about this before and I would probably be just as nervous as all of them, but the first thing I’d want to do is eat a lot of food, take a shower for about 30 minutes and then pass out. I’d probably sleep for 24 hours!
Q: Everyone is assigned jobs in this community. What would yours be if you could choose?
A: I actually sew and have taken up quilting recently. I’d probably be the seamstress, or I would be doing a little gardening.
Q: The residents of Alexandria are so nice and, well, normal. Do you think there’s a downfall to that in a treacherous world with walkers? Are there some residents who’ve never even seen a walker?
A: I think quite a few of them are naive and we get a sense of that. You think, “Wow, what luck these people have had.” They stumbled upon this community, built a wall and they were all safe. It’s really dumb luck. It’s possible some of them have never seen [a walker] and definitely not all of them have killed one.
Q: Would you let strangers into your camp like Deanna did? What do you think of her auditioning process?
A: I think she has it set up pretty well. She’s got Aaron going out and scouting and I think he’s a pretty good judge of character.
Q: The fans were quick to “ship” Jessie and Rick. Did you sense any chemistry between the characters when you first read the script?
A: There was a little bit in the script, but they didn’t want to make that super apparent off the bat. When they first meet, she’s married and is not romantically interested in him at all. She’s just genuinely trying to help him.
Q: Tell us more about your hairstyling skills. Did you have any experience cutting hair? Did Andrew Lincoln trust you with his in Episode 512?
A: Well, I didn’t actually cut his hair. I was faking it. When I was a teenager, I used to cut my own hair – which I’m glad I dropped the habit of doing – I don’t think I was very good at it. [Laughs] I did have to learn how to hold the scissors. Hairdressers hold their scissors in a very unique way, so I had my hairdresser in Los Angeles show me.
Q: You’ve had quite a long run voicing various characters on Family Guy. What would The Walking Dead be like as an animated series? What kind of character would you voice?
A: I think it would probably be making fun of itself because in animated series, the characters are always inadvertently making fun of themselves. I do a lot of screaming on Family Guy, actually. If you hear a woman screaming in the background, it’s probably me. So, I’d probably do a lot of screaming and I’d probably make a lot of walker noises like [Makes walker sounds].
Q: Hey, that was pretty good!
Q: Before joining the show, you binge watched all four seasons of The Walking Dead in a week! Did it give you zombie nightmares?
A: I think I made it like four or five days without any incidents and then I had incredibly awful nightmares. Once you watch it, you realize that the show is much more about these people surviving in this world and it’s really fascinating.
Q: Do the nightmares dissipate when you’re acting on the show and seeing the walkers as actors?
A: It does make a difference because you’re more in the reality of the show when you’re watching it than when you’re acting on it, which is very interesting. I know what’s behind the curtain, so it’s not as shocking to me. I see people in their walker makeup just talking normally or just eating lunch. It’s a little easier for me to stomach now because of that.
Q: Do you have a favorite moment now that you’re all caught up?
A: I have some things that really disturbed me like when Rick’s wife, Lori, died and Carl has to kill her. That was a really intense and emotional scene – I was sobbing when I watched it – and then when he comes back to find her and she had been eaten by the zombie! I was sick to my stomach all day.
Q: Did you get any background on the comic character Jessie? How does the role you play compare?
A: I found The Walking Dead comic on Alanna Masterson’s kitchen table and I opened it up and discovered who Jessie was and what happened to her. I hope that doesn’t happen to me. [Laughs] The character in the comic, to me, appeared to be weaker than the character I’m portraying on the show and of course my hair is completely different, too. I think everyone was a little nervous because the blondes in the past haven’t really made it very far!
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