Garret Dillahunt, who plays John Dorie on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, talks about what makes his character tick and John’s relationships with Naomi and Morgan.
Q: How would you say a character like John Dorie fits into this world?
A: In a way, everyone fits in. It’s the world. We were all here when the apocalypse hit. [Laughs] I guess it’s more about who has an easier time surviving in this world.
Q: You have history with Kim Dickens from your time on Deadwood. Was it fun to join her on Fear?
A: I’m a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, though I haven’t gotten to do much of it. It’s been great to hang out with her… great to have her to bounce things off of and it’s great to be in the same town. We’re all new to Austin, so we all get to explore together… There’s great music and there are great places to be outside. I love riding my bike around Austin. It has a small town feel to it even though it’s becoming quite a large town.
Q: Can you talk about the growing friendship forming between John and Morgan?
A: It seems like you don’t really get to choose who you meet in this world… Morgan happens to be the guy that’s there and it was a good sign that he was trying to save me from a walker. I think John’s well-suited for this kind of thing. He seems to be one of those people that manages to look at life as the glass half full and keep a small sense of humor. I think there are times where you see it’s not all sun and light for him. He’s clearly hiding a deep sadness and loneliness. He does not let Morgan go in that first episode.
Q: What was it like spending an entire episode with your character and getting a peek at what his life was like before we meet him in the premiere?
A: When you’re on set every minute, you learn a lot about your character. In fact, you learn so much that you almost want to go back and reshoot the episodes you already shot. I feel like a lot is revealed. I’m really proud of that episode and I felt like we were making something special.
There were harsh conditions. It was unexpectedly cold. The carpenters were amazing and built us a cabin in two days, but it was very drafty. [Laughs] It’s pretty impressive what the crew managed to do in such a short time. It was glorious when the weather was nice. We got to canoe and I thought, “I’m getting paid to canoe!”
Q: How has his time in isolation informed the person he is now?
A: I got to wrap my head around just the kind of person he is. He’s from another time and way of thinking. He’s polite, honorable and loyal – maybe to a fault. It was good to see how he can survive so well on his own. He’s handy in the woods, he’s capable and he’s someone you’d like on your side. He might be a little too trusting of people. He gets in trouble quite a few times with rescuing Morgan. He’s got to up his defensiveness and awareness. Maybe that’s something Morgan can give him.
Q: John refuses to believe that Naomi is dead. What kind of impact did she make on him from their time together?
A: He fell in love with her, so the impact is pretty large. She’s the reason he’s not in that cabin anymore. You meet him in Episode 1 when he’s been on the road for a year looking for her. He uses his gun right away, at least on walkers, so he’s at least gotten over that fear. Maybe she released any feelings he had about who he was. He uprooted his whole way of doing things. He’s clearly decided that it’s a silly thing not to hold onto love when you find it in a world like this.
Read an interview with Danay Garcia, who plays Luciana.
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