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Fear the Walking Dead Q&A – Mercedes Mason (Ofelia Salazar)

Mercedes Mason, who plays Ofelia Salazar on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, talks about filming the Season Finale and shares her thoughts on Strand.

Q: What were your first thoughts on Ofelia’s relationship with Adams?

A: It’s weird because we know what’s going to happen with our characters, but the characters themselves have no idea. Ofelia especially – because she’s been kept sheltered by her parents and is quite naive, emotionally, she has no idea. Her first focus is to get her mother back, and this guy is a link. I don’t think she realizes the dire situation. There’s some innocence there.

Q: Did you feel the characters should trust the military when they initially showed up? How did that change towards the end of Season 1?

A: Society tell us that we’re supposed to trust the police and the military because they have our best interest at heart, but because they come in towards the end of Episode 3 with guns blazing, I think the natural instinct is to not trust what you’re afraid of. There’s a general sense of fear of the unknown and I think they come in so aggressively. The first thing they did was take somebody out!

Q: You’ve described Ofelia as a “good girl” and a “Daddy’s girl.” Is that a con during an apocalypse? Does the notion of “good” and “bad” change in a situation like this?

A: I remember when I first read her, I was like, “Well, she’s going to be the first to die.” [Laughs] In that type of world, you’re on your own and it’s survival of the fittest. I loved seeing her change and the symbolism. You see her get into these tougher clothes and boots, but still, they were borrowed from Alicia. It’ like a symbolic way of showing she’s growing into her own.

Q: How does Ofelia change towards the end of the season? Were you surprised when Adams shoots her?

A: I think Adams was really heartbroken. I think the two genuinely had feelings for each other even in the midst of all the chaos. Her father tortured him – granted she didn’t know – but I think Adams really sees her as the enemy at that point. Most of all, I think he shoots her to hurt Daniel. He wants to take away the one thing that means the most, and that’s his daughter. Luckily, it was just a flesh wound, but he absolutely meant to hurt her.

Q: In the Season 1 Finale, Ofelia finds out she’s lost her mom. What was it like to stand in front of that pile of dust where bodies were burned? Was that scene emotional to film?

A: That was so heartbreaking. Everything she’s known literally falls apart at that moment for her. You can imagine how alone she must feel, especially because in Episode 5, she discovers her father is not at all who she thought he was. I remember when we read that, Ruben and I were like, “Oh my God!” His character is such a calm bad-ass, for lack of a better word. We want to root for him even though he could be a complete sociopath. [Laughs]

Q: Was it a smart idea for the group to follow Strand to his home? What was it like filming in that luxurious residence with the rest of the city falling apart?

A: I think that’s the only option our characters have. They don’t trust him necessarily, but at the moment, it doesn’t seem like he wants anything from them. Our forefathers traveled in groups like Neanderthals so they could help protect each other. He seems to have everything aboard that beautiful ship on water. It’s a very cool concept. I’m curious to see what the writers are going to do.

Q: Would that be a safe way to escape the infected? Where would you go during an apocalypse?

A: You protect yourself by making sure nothing can get in. the Infected aren’t going to swim out to us, so you’re safe unless you run out of resources. It’s a ticking clock of impending doom!

Read an interview with Lorenzo James Henrie, who plays Christopher Manawa.

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