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The Walking Dead Q&A – Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) (Spoilers)

Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about Rick’s new world and fulfilling Deanna’s dying wish.

Q: You’ve walked through a herd smothered in guts before, but was it any easier during the second time around? What are those guts actually made of anyway?

A: It’s always easier the second time around, but it was just as unpleasant. [Laughs] The only bonus was that there were all these new people who were just as uncomfortable. You’d have to ask the wizards at KNB EFX what the meat ponchos are made of, but after five hours of sweating, it could really be zombie flesh.

Watch: The cast and crew on what it’s like to cut open a walker.

Q: What was it like reuniting with Lennie James on set this season and shooting with him as part of the group for the first time?

A: It’s a blast. Lennie has such a strong presence on set and he’s a leader in his own right. He’s vastly talented. It’s quite good to have someone who is an ally, but also someone who challenges Rick. It’s an unusual relationship. Rick hasn’t really been challenged publicly since Shane, which didn’t end particularly well… for Shane… [Laughs]

Q: We asked Lennie if he thought Morgan could take Rick in a fight with his new stick-fighting expertise. Who would you place your bet on?

A: I think, without a doubt, Morgan would take Rick out with that stick. I mean, Lennie has taken out pretty much every stunt guy with that stick. He’s lethal. [Laughs] He’s going to be so angry that I said that! It is a funny joke, though. I’ve been counting the number of stuntmen he’s hit and I’m on my toes now. He’s like a Tasmanian devil.

Q: Where does Sam and Jessie being devoured rank for you among the most painful moments for Rick?

A: When I read the script, I just laughed. Sam gets killed, Jessie gets bit, Ron takes a shot at me and ends up shooting my son’s eye out and then Michonne stabs him. Are you kidding me?! It was bananas! We could have done that scene over four episodes! It was an awful day. The whole sequence took about eight or nine hours because the episode is so big. Saying goodbye to great actors and friends is always painful, but with this particular relationship between Jessie and Rick – she unlocks a part of him that hadn’t been touched since the death of Lori. She was hugely important in the rebuilding of Rick and his future at Alexandria. Also, what Alexandra Breckenridge created with this character in a relatively short time was just brilliant. It was hard on so many levels. We keep getting these brilliant performers on our show, and unfortunately, we keep killing them.

Q: Is it fun to film Rick’s bad-ass moments, like the walker killer spree he goes on after Carl gets shot?

A: In my experience with this guy, he can’t bear it when he doesn’t have control over a situation. He had to hand over what he thinks is his dying son and it’s unbearable for him. The trauma and the grief that’s happening after Jessie just turned into absolute white anger. He’s so wrecked by grief. It’s the only way to get rid of this paralysis. He just turned it into rage and what he does is insane.

Q: I was kind of worried for a minute…

A: Hey, don’t be concerned for Rick! Be concerned for those zombies! [Laughs]

Q: Were you surprised that the Alexandrians came out and supported Rick’s stand against the herd?

A: The Alexandrians have proven themselves to Rick. They saved his life and they saved the community. For the first time, everyone comes together in the battle for Alexandria. It’s fueled by trauma and the one man standing alone before everyone joins him. Deanna’s challenge to Rick comes to fruition. She said, “They’re your people now” and sure enough, everybody stands side-by-side to win back the community.

Q: After Carl gets shot, Rick shares with us his desire to show Carl “the new world.” What do you think his new world consists of?

A: I think it’s the first time he really sees a viable future. It’s the first time that he feels hope since before the apocalypse – it’s not spoken of, but it’s absolutely there. He feels he can start again and the community can build a real civilization. It’s everything that Deanna had been talking about – which he didn’t believe until everybody stood together and showed themselves to be warriors. It’s pure hope. Everything else has been pure survival. He also realizes he’s been wrong. It’s a big turning point in his evolution as a leader.

Q: We went back and read our very first interview with you where you mentioned some of the things you’d bring with you during an apocalypse – a tennis racket, your swimming trunks and a gun. Have your top picks changed now that you know what’s out there in that world?

A: I would definitely take my golf clubs rather than the tennis racket. That’s the only thing I’d change.

Q: [Laughs] So swimming trunks are still essential?

A: Speedos and my cowboy boots are two essential items.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Get show updates by signing up for Dead Alert.

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