Tales of the Walking Dead Q&A — Against All Odds Jillian Bell’s Gina Lives to See Another Day

Tales of the Walking Dead features six original life-or-death, high-stakes stories of survival with an all-star cast of both new and familiar characters set against the undead apocalypse. In Episode 2, we meet Gina (Jillian Bell) and Blair (Parker Posey), a disgruntled employee and her overbearing boss, who are unwittingly thrust into the apocalypse together and have to do their best to make it work. In this interview with amc.com, we speak with Jillian Bell about Gina’s mental state at the onset of the episode, why working with Parker Posey was both surreal and fun, and why she thinks Gina and Blair may be the key to everyone’s salvation in The Walking Dead Universe.

Q: When we first meet Gina, she's in what can only be described as a life slump. What did you think of Gina when you first read this script and what drew you to her as a character?
When I was sent the script, I was really excited about the premise of the anthology series. When I was flipping through and I got to Gina, it was sort of like, "Who's this character?" Because she's described as this smart, ambitious woman but she’s not quick to speak up. I saw her as this woman who was stuck in this dead-end job and couldn't get out past the front desk of this insurance company. I thought that was really interesting, plus I knew this story was starting at the beginning of the apocalypse. I thought, "Well, how is this woman going to deal with it? Is she going to cower or is she going to rise to the occasion?" Wanting to know the answer to that question was the first thing that really had me leaning in.

Q: Obviously we have a limited amount of time with Gina, but you got to spend a bit more time with her during prep and filming. Did you create a backstory for her or were you given any information about her backstory to flesh her out in your mind? Why do you think she's stuck in this job that makes her miserable?
A: That's a really good question. What I like to do with scripts is I like to see what’s given and then obviously create my own version of what got her there and how she got stuck there. I think, like a lot of people, life circumstances get you to where you are and I think, for her, she struggles while she takes care of her brother's kids. There was a lot of information plugged into little spots throughout the script of how she got to be where she was. I think she stopped believing in herself. Honestly, I think that she got that job and was using it as a stepping stone. But when you're around a boss that's a textbook narcissist and pushes you down, you end up not feeling like you can move towards your goals. I really think that's where we find Gina at the beginning of the episode.

Q: Were you familiar The Walking Dead Universe before joining the project? What’s so interesting about your episode is that it takes place during the onset of the fall, in the same world as The Walking Dead both in timing and in geography. It’s cool to be back in that world but seeing it from a very different perspective.
A: I had watched quite a bit of The Walking Dead and I'm just a horror fan in general. From a young age, my mom had to be like, "Oh no, should we worry? She really likes watching anything with zombies or monsters." So, this is very much up my alley. I love that our episode takes place at the beginning of everything because I think a lot of times that's the most interesting part of a story. I love that we’re starting way at the beginning, because I think a lot of people start mid-story nowadays. I think whenever you have a return to the beginning, it's always fascinating to find out how it all started.

Q: This episode incorporates elements from one of my favorite movies ever, Groundhog Day. When Gina and Blair first realize this glitch that they're trapped in, they try a variety of approaches to get out of it. What was filming those epic scenes with Parker Posey like? Because it looks like it was really fun but also pretty brutal at the same time.
A: Oh, it was so much fun! We actually were so down for every part of it. Honestly, that's what made me want to do the show. I love Groundhog Day. I love the Russian Doll of it all. I think it's so fascinating to see two people who absolutely would not choose each other, even if it was the apocalypse no pun intended. The episode really is about two people that would never choose each other to be partners to go through this experience over and over again while trying to find a new way out. When Parker and I were shooting it we had a blast because we were doing the same scenes differently every time and the tweaking of them, the evolution, the growing of each scene becoming something weirder and more emotional was the most fun. You get to play a range of emotions in one day that you never expected.

Q: Even though we just have this one episode with Gina and Blair, their character arcs and emotional journey together are really transcendent. How did you and Parker map out those changes and work on building that relationship over the course of a very short 40-odd some minutes?
A: We got to know each other. We spent time in Atlanta together and just hunkered down. We really enjoy each other as people, and I’ve been a fan of hers for forever. Waiting for Guffman is one of my favorite movies, so I was just so excited to jump in. The second I landed I got a call from Parker Posey, and she was like, "Let's do this! I'm in! Are you in?" I said, "I'm in!" And we just dove into this. We were trying to find the nuances, because you want to make sure that you're not giving anything away too early. You also want to play with how much does Gina know in this given moment, how much does Blair know? In some moments, how can they mess with each other, how are they supportive of each other in other moments when we realize you're the only person I've got? There's a lot to play with there and I think we just really bonded and genuinely like each other as humans, so it was easy to connect for whenever we needed to do for the scene.

Q: The scene when you guys are together in the break room and you've given up on getting get out of it alone, the realization that you need to team up and do it together.
A: Yeah, that's a special scene. I think that's in the teaser as well, which I was really excited about. It’s like “Okay, let's try something different.”

Q: And it really speaks to what you're talking about in regard to figuring out a balance between the two characters, which leads to both laughs and tears in some moments too.
A: Thank you. Truly I loved this script. When I finished it, I re-read it again. I just really enjoyed the arc for both characters, and I thought it was a fun story that I'd never seen on TV.

Q: Tales is really fun because there are episodes that have levity, like your episode, and then there are episodes that are super super dark, so there's a little something for everyone.
A: The thing that I love about it the most is how Tales really plays with tone and genre. Each episode gets to be its own thing and I think that's what people will want to tune in for. I know I'm going to watch it for that very reason because you don't know what you're getting at the start of every episode!

Q: By the end of the episode, it seems like Gina and Blair have been successful at breaking out of the glitch and surviving the initial fall of Atlanta. If Gina were to pop up again in The Walking Dead Universe, what adventures would you want to see her embark on with Blair? Because it feels like they're in this together now.
A: Oh my gosh, what a great question! Okay, let me think about that. In a dream world, I think that Blair and Gina end up saving everyone! I think it would be so cool if, at the end of everything, we come in at the very last moment and save the day! Because I think we would be an unlikely pair to save the day for everyone.

New episodes of Tales of the Walking Dead air on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Full episodes are available to stream on amc.com (with a cable provider login), the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and a week early on AMC+. AMC+ is available at amcplus.com or through the new AMC+ app available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. AMC+ can also be accessed through a variety of providers, including AppleTV, Prime Video Channels, DirectTV, Dish, Roku Channel, Sling, and Xfinity. Sign up for AMC+ now.