The Walking Dead Q&A — Cailey Fleming Describes Her Reaction To Discovering Judith Gets Shot

On The Walking Dead, Cailey Fleming plays Judith Grimes, Rick and Michonne's perceptive and gutsy young daughter. In this interview with, she talks about her favorite action scenes, doing the episode voice overs this season, and the lasting influence of the Grimes legacy.

Q: You've been in action scenes before, but in Episode 23 Judith gets shot, by Pamela no less! What was it like to be involved in this one? 
A: Action scenes are always one of my favorites. When I found out that Judith was going to get shot, I was kind of freaking out because that's like, "Whoaaa!" I've done action scenes before but that's on a whole other level. I wasn't worried about the safety or the comfortability of it, but just for it being something so major that I've never done before. It was a little nerve wracking, but it was so cool! Oh my gosh, the coolest thing I've ever done! And it being the second-to-last episode ever definitely builds up the suspense even more because it's all about to end. What's going to happen to her? I don't want to say much because I get so excited talking about it, but it was awesome! 

Q: What are some of your other favorite action scenes that you've done on the show over the years? 
A: I don't know if you'd call it action, but I climbed out of a window in a flooded basement [in Season 11, Episode 9, "No Other Way"]. That was really cool. I don't know how long they shot that for – a few days – and it was awesome. I’ve talked about it so many times just because I'll never forget it. We played games underwater in between shots and it was so much fun! It was like a big swimming pool with zombies in it! And let's see, I'll never forget my first on-screen walker kill. I think it was Season 9, Episode 14 ["Scars"] where I stabbed a walker in the head. I was so excited to get to use my sword for the first time, alongside Danai [Gurira], who's just so talented, strong, and courageous. 

Q: You did the voice-overs at the top of the episodes in the last part of Season 11. What can you tell me about them?
A: I usually do ADR [automated dialogue replacement] for episodes anyway, when the audio is kind of muffled or we add a line. So, I did all my ADR and then we just added those voice-overs on top of it. I loved doing those and obviously whatever Angela [Kang] thinks because she always has the best ideas and I completely trust her. It's really cool to hear my voice in the episodes. I felt like a superhero!

Q: Even though Judith's parents are both away, she has lots of parental figures, especially Daryl. What does Judith like and appreciate about him, even though they do argue sometimes?
A:  Yes, they do argue, but I think that's because they have very strong personalities so sometimes, they clash. Hmm what does she appreciate about him? Well, he is raising her by himself and he has no clue what he's doing but he's trying his best. He also will do anything to protect her, which is so sweet. She definitely sees that in him, plus he's a fighter! If he has to go to battle for his niece and his nephew, then he'll do it without hesitation. I think she sees that too. Obviously, there's so much love there. She looks up to him and adores him. He's a great role model for her. 

Q: As we've mentioned, Judith and Daryl have had their share of arguments this season, about staying or not staying in the Commonwealth and about whether Judith should join the fight against the Commonwealth. Is it just about their strong personalities, as you said?
A: She always wants to fight, and I think there’s a part of Daryl that's just very protective of her. He doesn't want anything to happen to her, but she understands the risks. I think she's getting to that age where she wants to make her own choices, especially when it comes to people's lives. But yeah, he's just doing his best. He's trying to protect her, which is sweet.

Q: Can you talk about how symbolic it was for Judith to give Rick's sheriff's hat to RJ in Episode 23? After all, Rick gave it to Carl, who gave it to Judith, and now Judith is passing it over to RJ.
A: First I just want to say how honored I was to get to carry that hat for as long as I did. I think it's such a huge part of the Grimes legacy. It’s obviously very important and has been passed down by generations. Carl passed it to me and I'm passing it to my little brother. I'm sure Judith has trained RJ. She's prepared him for what's to come and she finally thinks that he's ready. He's gonna be a great little fighter.

Q: It's so great how Judith wants to follow in the footsteps of her parents and brother. How do you think she got this way? Is it Michonne's influence and Carl's influence?
A: I think it's definitely a mixture of all three of them: Rick, Michonne, and Carl. They're all very courageous. They'll do whatever it takes to do what's right, even if that means putting their lives at risk, which they've obviously done! Yeah, she's very strong-willed and I think that comes from her parents and her brother. They definitely set the example for her. I'm sure they trained her as well in that area. Michonne definitely has. They’ve modeled that for her, as every parent does. They want the best for their child.

Q: The fans love Rick and Michonne, and you mentioned them a couple times in Episode 23. I especially liked the scene on the train with Daryl and Carol. Is it fun for you to mention their names on the show? I know you never got to work with Andrew Lincoln, but does mentioning Michonne bring back memories of the time you got to spend on the show with Danai Gurira?
A: Oh, yeah, it is. It's nice. It's sweet, bittersweet. It's also kind of sad because it reminds me, Cailey, of all the great memories I have, especially with Danai. I love mentioning them. She just doesn't have them anymore and she knows that they're still out there, maybe, but they're not with her anymore. I can't imagine that for myself, so I don't know how she's going through that, with a zombie apocalypse on top of it. So, I think it's nice when she mentions them because she's got to have somebody to talk to, just to get it off her chest. I'm sure she misses them incredibly.

Q: What has the show meant to you?
A: Well, I wouldn't be where I am today without the show. That carries a lot of weight. It jump-started my career. But besides the business part of it, these people – we worked together every day. I was only on the show for three seasons/four years and it completely changed my life, so I can't imagine how much it changed other people's lives that have been on the show for years. It really is just such a big family. I know a lot of people say that, but I really mean it. You don't find people like that just every day. We really connected. We'd really have family dinners. We'd bake cupcakes. We'd go trick-or-treating. Things like that you don't find all the time. I think that's special. The fans also have a lot to do with the show. We would not be here where we are today without them. I love getting to meet them all the time and I can never thank them enough for having me as their Judith. For accepting me, loving my character, and loving me.

New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 11 Part 3 air on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Full episodes are available to stream on (with a cable provider login), the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and a week early on AMC+. AMC+ is available at 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.