Mo Collins, who plays Sarah on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, talks about her character’s regrets and how they push her forward into a new life.
Q: Have you noticed any significant changes in your character’s evolution since we first met her? How has joining Morgan’s (Lennie James) group affected her?
A: She’s gotten a lot warmer by learning that she can trust other people. It’s really expanded her life. It must be a great relief deep in her core that she has other people besides Wendell. Family is really important to Sarah. The fact that she’s added to her family gives her life great meaning.
Q: Sarah has a couple of bonding moments with Dwight in Season 5, Episode 12. What’s it been like working with Austin Amelio on set?
A: Austin is now one of my favorite people in the universe. He’s an absolutely beautiful soul and I don’t know that anybody has made me laugh as hard as he has. I enjoyed being able to just sink into that and feel that come through in Dwight and Sarah. Having been a forever fan of The Walking Dead, to just meet this person and see how wonderful he is – a lot of those scenes felt very authentic to me. The teasing nature is very much how we are.
Q: How does it land on Sarah when Dwight admits he had the chance to kill one of Logan’s guys but didn’t?
A: That’s not an unfamiliar moment for Sarah herself, having her own regrets about Polar Bear. She can have empathy for Dwight in that moment and she’s certainly not going to hold it against him. Sarah understands that the reason is because now he’s a better person. She understands that, but oddly enough, there are consequences to being a good person.
Q The group has access to a very importance resource – fuel. How do you see them balancing that position of power while also staying committed to helping others?
A: If anything, the oil can be seen like an olive branch. It’s power, yes, but they believe their greater power is in reaching out and helping other people. They want to do this together and share the wealth. I see that in Sarah and her efforts with Logan to come over to the brighter side.
Q: We’ve seen the group struggle with the idea of redemption. Is Sarah still making up for something? Has she forgiven herself about what happened with Polar Bear?
A: She’s right in the middle of that struggle – that’s what this second half of the season is about for her. It’s really festering in her and she’s living through the visceral feeling of that regret. She’s learned from the new group about how to be a better person. It’s not just about she and Wendell. It’s about a bigger picture now and she sees that. She feels her greater humanity.
Q: What does meeting the rabbi represent for her?
A: The past. It comes at such a great time for her. In living through the regret with Polar Bear, there comes the need for self-atonement. There’s this nice piece of her history that shows up just when she needs it. It’s beautiful how the universe does put what you need in front of you, if you’re able to see it. It’s lovely that she didn’t just gloss over that.
Q: Through the toughest of circumstances, Sarah is still able to stay connected to her sense of humor. Can you relate to that?
A: It feels very natural. That’s where Sarah and I are very much alike. Regardless of how serious the situation is, the humor can’t help but rise to the surface. It’s a great defense mechanism and a great way to make others feel relaxed or nervous, depending on how she’s using it. [Laughs]
Q: Karen David mentioned teasing Lennie James about the nickname “Mo Mo.” Have you let him live it down yet?
A: I’ll let other people do it, but Mo Mo is a very wonderful name if I do say so myself. [Laughs]
Q: Sarah is now brewing beers. Is that another element that helps her navigate the world?
A: I think it’s a means to an end, and that end is about people gathering and having a good time. Beer is obviously an ice breaker. It represents leisure and good times and family and reunion. We all need purpose in life and that’s part of her purpose, but it’s about more than just the beer.
Q: The group knows how to survive and now they’re figuring out how to live. What does “living” look like for Sarah?
A: I think Sarah’s best days are knowing that everyone is well. In a world without an apocalypse, Sarah would be the last one to shut off the lights. She’s making sure that everybody is okay and has everything that they need. She’s like an action figure. If there’s somebody that needs something, she’ll tend to it – and I like that it’s on the periphery. She’s the one that maintains the perimeters to make sure everyone on the inner core is attended to and living their best life.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Available 48 hours early, ad-free, for AMC Premiere subscribers.
Read an interview with Matt Frewer, who plays Logan.
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