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Fear the Walking Dead Q&A – Kim Dickens (Madison Clark)

Kim Dickens, who plays Madison Clark on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, talks about setting sail during the apocalypse and Madison facing off against Strand.

Q: Season 2 was filmed on a floating studio and featured underwater cinematography. What was that like?

A: It was really great. It was a real surprise. I think that all of us, in Season 1, would have never imagined it. I was sitting on the boat with Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Alicia, and she said, “You ever think that when we were driving around in the ’92 Camry in the pilot that we’d be on a yacht?” [Laughs] None of us really expected to be on the water and we had no idea where the story would take us… Going down to Baja Studios with the exterior water tank was quite a challenge. The weather is a lot to deal with since you’re right on the ocean and there’s a whole other safety crew involved. It made it all the better, I think, because it made it very realistic. It was exciting to play such a different show.

Q: Everyone thinks a boat is the safest option during an apocalypse. After filming this season, what are your thoughts?

A: Well, I think there are going to be challenges anywhere you go. We learn that our characters are not the only ones that think to go straight to the water while Los Angeles is burning. That’s your first instinct, but you’re not going to be the only ones there. We actually end up on quite a nice boat via Strand, but we find that other people desire that as well and it becomes about navigating to where we think might be a safe place.

Q: What was it like filming on Strand’s yacht, the Abigail, anyway? Were there any challenges in making it look like you guys were actually moving?

A: There was an outdoor two-acre tank filled with sea water that blends with the horizon. That kept us from having to deal with real movement. You have to move the boat to some degree and move the water around it, but when we were doing our interior stages, a lot of them were on the belly of the ship. Those were built on the stage and we had to use a gimbal machine to move them slightly as if the water was moving them. You get used to it. It’s a lot better than being out on the actual ocean. Nobody wants to get seasick after a long day of filming. [Laughs]

Watch: Unlock the secrets of Season 2’s “floating studio”

Q: Do Christopher and Nick destroy our hope that the dead can’t swim when they have to fight off infected people in the water in Episode 1?

A: There are people in the water that turn and there are people that walk into the ocean and turn. They don’t necessarily just sink. They don’t know how to swim, but they still move. It’s almost like treading water and floating. It’s really scary and they become so much more ravished by the sun and the sea water. They’re pretty hideous-looking.

Q: Madison wants to help some survivors she sees at sea, but Strand says he’s filled his “mercy quota.” Does Strand hold power over the group?

A: We’ve definitely been taken in by Strand and offered safe passage on his boat. He sort of calls the shots, but we don’t really know who he is. We don’t know if he’s a sociopath or not. I think Madison will be destined to go to war with him in some ways, yet be locked into this relationship because he’s providing the boat. She has nothing else… I think there’s a part of her that understands him and a part that will be very opposed to him.

Q: Madison tells Christopher that if it wasn’t Travis who did it, she would have killed Liza. In the apocalypse world, is this a sign you love someone?

A: [Laughs] I think so! I mean, who knew that this would be how you show your love? It takes a superhuman aspect to rise to that occasion. In Travis’s case, it’s the ultimate loving thing to do for his son and for Liza. I think Madison would have definitely done it.

Q: Last season, you mentioned you’d last around six and a half hours during a real apocalypse. Has that changed by any chance? 

A: Maybe a couple more hours…

Q: Every minute counts!

A: Yeah, maybe like 10 hours. It’s not for chumps! I’m not nearly as strong or badass as Madison.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you learned about the apocalypse this season?

A: Stay in shape. You’re going to have to do a lot of running, jumping, yelling and fighting.

Q: What’s the biggest difference between Season 1 and Season 2, in your opinion?

A: I think you find our characters in the same place you met them in terms of their struggles and motivations. It’s not a big time jump, but our situation changes drastically. Everything really catches fire, we take off on the water and it’s a whole different environment. Just be open-minded. It’s a different window into the apocalypse.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Sign up for the Fear the Walking Dead Insiders Club to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox.

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