(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Paola Lázaro (Princess)
Paola Lázaro, who plays Princess on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about bringing her out-of-this-world character to the screen and the nickname she's given to her infamous pink jacket.
Q: Princess is here! Were you already familiar with your character’s comic book story or did you come into it fresh?
A: I actually did not know Princess’s character. I came to that first audition fresh. It was so well-written that I just sensed who she was. It was so clear. When you get good writing like that, it just pops off the page. I wanted to come in and honor the space that had been established.
Q: Princess makes quite the introduction – both to the audience and to the characters on the show. What was your first impression of her, personally?
A: She reminds me of when I was a kid. It really hit home. I used to get in trouble all the time and the only people that really believed in me was my family. Everyone else thought I was hyper and a trouble maker. It reminded me of trying to find my place in the world with all of my awkwardness and energy levels. The night before we shot the first scene, I had a breakdown in the hotel room. I just started crying. Obviously, she’s a bad ass and she’s tough, but she’s like a child too. There are so many levels to her. I was so into it.
Q: And your costume looks just like hers in the comics! How did you enjoy that aspect?
A: [Laughs] Oh my God. When I got to try on the clothes, I was bugging out. I wanted to really honor the character because she’s so out of this world and wild. She’s so unique... I call her jacket “the sofa” because it’s like putting a fluffy sofa on. I put the sofa on and saw myself and it was like I was six years old, just geeking out. Who doesn’t want to dress like that?! I recorded little videos of my dancing in the trailer because I just got so pumped. I’m thankful for the costume and the props designer and everyone who drew the comics and created the character and put so much detail into that.
Q: Can you talk about some of the set details in this episode? Princess sure had fun using her imagination to decorate the walkers and set up such hilarious scenes.
A: It reminded me of myself because I’m a playwright and that’s what I do. This was her way of making her world more alive. It’s her way of communicating with other beings even though they were zombies. [Laughs] She still wanted a sense of community and a sense of home and to not feel so alone. She used her imagination.
Q: Early on, we learned that Princess hasn’t been around people in over a year. How do you see the ways in which that has affected her?
A: As we see, it’s this sense of “are people even here anymore? Am I the only person that exists in this world?” That brings her back to before the apocalypse when she still felt alone and like an outcast. Now, she finds herself literally alone and it doubles that pain. Does she trust that they are actually real? When it’s been a year since you’ve seen anyone, she’ll take anything. It’s okay if they don’t even like her.
Q: How meaningful is it that Ezekiel, Eugene and Yumiko decide to extend the invitation for Princess to join them – especially given her mistakes upon first meeting them? Could this new group offer her some healing?
A: When these people actually extend an invitation to her to step outside of her loneliness and into a journey, it warmed my heart. It’s like “you want me? You want me to come into your world” It was kind of like me coming onto this established show. She’s so excited and doesn’t know what to do with herself. These people actually want to chill with her -- even though she lied – and the reason she lied is because she just wanted to spend more time with them. It’s like “let me show you the scenic route before you leave me forever.”
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to introducing your character to the fans?
A: Everybody who knows her from the comics… I’m most excited about honoring this character, the writing, the show and the vision. I really worked very hard on this!
Read on for an interview about Eugene (played by Josh McDermitt), who was looking for his friend from the radio when he ran into Princess.
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