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The Walking Dead Q&A – Austin Nichols (Spencer Monroe)

Austin Nichols, who plays Spencer Monroe on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about the Wolves attack in Episode 2 and the safety of Alexandria.

Q: The Wolves’ attack in Episode 2 is Spencer’s first big test and he both succeeds and fails. Do you think he’s tough enough to survive?

A: He’s lost both his brother and his dad in Season 5. Literally half his family was wiped out. That’s really, really heavy. He’s been protected behind these walls and is now confronted with the real world. Rick and the crew bring some of the madness into Alexandria, and it’s scary and confusing. Spencer wants to be a hero. In my heart, I believe that he can be strong enough and smart enough. He’s got all the tools, but maybe just doesn’t know how to use them yet.

Q: Did you ever think something like the Wolves’ could happen to a place so seemingly safe?

A: It’s one of those things where you think it’s possible, but don’t think it would ever really happen. We don’t know what the human element is on the outside. We know it’s dangerous, but we haven’t experienced it like Rick and the rest have. It comes as a surprise. When you stand next to that wall, it’s extremely tall, so to have a sophisticated attack on the town would be really hard to pull off.

Q: What did you think about how Spencer handled himself throughout all of that? Who is to blame for the truck horn which foiled Rick’s plan to lure the walkers away?

A: That’s a great question. The fans will debate that over and over again, but if Spencer hadn’t done what he did, I think it would have been far worse. He bought us time and in that time, we’re able to make more preparations. He didn’t cause any of that to happen. He may be saddled with some responsibility, but let’s cut him some slack! He needs a little slack. [Laughs] Spencer has skills because he’s a watchman and he’s up in the tower with a big role to play. At the same time, he’s inexperienced. I found that whole thing very interesting to play. Spencer could have easily been a cowardly and spoiled character, but he has so many other interesting things going on.

Q: What was it like filming the massive herd scene in the Season 6 Premiere?

A: I remember reading that and it just put me on my ass. I couldn’t believe we were going to shoot that. It’s very cool, but it’s very scary for people who live in Alexandria. Because of that giant quarry, Alexandria really hasn’t had to deal with anything. It would be like if Rick and his crew were back in Season 1: This is their first time dealing with atrocities. Shooting stuff like that is really physical, too. It was one of the hottest days, there was dust everywhere and everyone was complaining about their eyes.

Q: Which character has taught you the most in terms of survival thus far?

A: I have a real love and admiration for Daryl. Every character is open to criticism, but with him, he could do anything and I would go along with it. That’s the genius of Norman Reedus and the character he’s created. He’s so complex and kind, but also has moments where he flies off the handle, yet you still understand why.

Q: If you had to be stuck with only one other character from the show in an apocalypse, who would it be and why? Would it be Daryl?

A: Oh no, it would definitely be a woman. [Laughs] Can it be all of them?

Q: You’ve tweeted about the brutality of doing a show like this, like going home with bruises and sore muscles. Does the physicality add to the intensity of the scenes you film?

A: Absolutely. That’s what I love about this show. We’re out in the heat, the sweat is real and although most of the blood is fake, there have been days where I’ve drawn my own blood. I’ve gotten beat up, sprained fingers, muscle cramps, and it does lend a reality to the show. You wake up and you’re hobbling out of bed. It’s the most physical thing I’ve ever worked on. It’s real, meaningful and honest.

Q: Alexandria seems to be an ideal community to evade zombies. Where would you personally want to hide out?

A: I always thought it would be cool to go to an island…

Q: [Laughs] That’s where everyone is going!

A: It would be cool to do on the show if we found out walkers could actually swim, and then it would get all crazy again. I’ve also thought about just a very tall building, so you could see the danger. It would also be cool to have a plane. You could see large areas of land and know where to stop. If something happens, you can get in your plane and peace the f*ck out. Maybe that’s the best answer.

Q: Have you decided what your weapon of choice would be? How did you choose?

A: Cannon! Just firing giant cannon balls like a cartoon.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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