(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Cassady McClincy (Lydia)

Cassady McClincy, who plays Lydia on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about the introduction of the Whisperers and what it was like walking among them. 

Q: Did you know much about the character of Lydia in the comic books before joining the cast or did you want to start fresh?

A: Before filming, I had a meeting with [Executive Producer] Greg [Nicotero] and he gave me a huge compendium to read with sticky notes marking all the appearances of Lydia in the comics, but he was very adamant that it should be used as a blueprint and not gospel. So, I used the comics as a guideline alongside each script to analyze Lydia’s character on the show.

Q: Your very first episode picks up right where the Mid-Season Finale ends. What was your first day on set like? 

A: I found out that I booked the role the night before my first day on set! I literally just jumped right in. [Laughs] Right onto a horse, blindfolded and bound. I’ve never worked on a set that’s so close and truly like a family. I can’t even believe I’m a part of it. I grew up watching it and now it’s actually real.

Q: What was the makeup process like? Were special steps taken to make sure the mask would be easily removable, for example? 

A: The special effects process for the Whisperers mask was very detailed and intense, but once it was complete, all I had to do was slip the mask on and off with the help of a special effects artist. As far as what the walkers have to go through, I think I get off easy with just some dirt and some teeth paint. It does get pretty hot with the mask, but I can’t complain. In the scene where Daryl pulls the mask off my head, we alternated with a cheaper and more flexible silicone mask so that the real, fragile and expensive one wasn’t damaged in the scene.

Q: What did you make of Lydia’s interrogation scenes in Episode 9? Are things a bit more complex than they seem?

A: Those were some of my favorite scenes to shoot. Even though Lydia is a scared and conflicted teenage girl, she also has a strong and possibly manipulative survival instinct ingrained in her from her mother. I think she’ll do whatever it takes to protect herself. On The Walking Dead, things are always more complex than what they seem. [Laughs]

Q: We haven’t met Alpha just yet, but we know Lydia is her daughter. What are you most looking forward to in terms of how this new storyline and dynamic will unfold?

A: I’m so excited for everyone to meet Alpha and Beta. Sam [Morton] and Ryan [Hurst] are both amazing at what they’ve done with the characters. I think the Whisperer storyline is so different from previous threats facing the survivors. The writers did an amazing job with how it all unfolds. Samantha is unbelievable. She’s just a genius. I’ve never worked with anyone like her. It was great.

Q: There's definitely a new kind of enemy to be afraid of now. As a longtime fan of the show yourself, are you looking forward to seeing how the Whisperers shake things up for the survivors?

A: Yeah! I think they bring a whole new level of fear and unpredictability to the show. Alpha is really a genius given how she’s led them to adopt animalistic forms of camouflage and mimicry in order to make sure that the group survives and evolves.

Q: Do you own Lydia's action figure yet?!

A: [Laughs] I do. My mom ordered it for me. I didn’t even know there was one. It sits on my desk. It’s so cool.

Read an interview with Tom Payne, who plays Jesus.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c.

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