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Q&A – Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes)

The Atlanta native shares his strategies for crying on cue, describes the “decontamination dance” he helped create and predicts what he’d miss most in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Q: Since you’re from Atlanta, did you counsel the rest of cast and crew on how to cope with the summer heat?

A: Yeah, we actually did. I invited some of the cast to our neighborhood pool on some of the off days. And on the set, the crew kept us cool with water breaks and wet, cool towels. So it was pretty nice.

Q: How hot did it get?

A: Golly, one day it was a hundred and five. It was crazy. That’s a lot hotter than we’re used to. They were like, “Is it like this every year?” I was like, “It’s never been this hot, ever.”

Q: Were you scared to work on a show about zombies?

A: Not really. As long as you know that it’s fake and you see them do all the make-up, it’s not that scary.

Q: What’s your favorite monster?

A: Probably Jason. We were watching The Walking Dead previews on AMC and that Jason thing was on. Saw the whole thing. I love how he’s invincible and when they try to shoot him he won’t die. It is pretty scary. A guy is sticking a pole into his dead body and lighting strikes that pole and he comes back to life.

Q: He sounds kind of like a walker.

A: Yeah, basically. [Laughs]

Q: So which grown-up in the cast acts the most like a kid?

A: Definitely, Norman Reedus. Me, Maddie and him did this decontamination dance. Maddie plays Sophia. He plays Daryl. Maddie came up with the dance and then I came up with the song. And then Norman was just like a back-up dancer. [Laughs] He just saw us doing it and he joined in.

Q: Have you ever really tried to catch a frog?

A: I have actually. At our neighborhood pool. I guess that counts. When I was like four or something. There was a frog sitting next to our pool. It might have been asleep. It jumped away from me once and then it just sat there the next time. I got it, brought it home and had to let it go. I was really mad.

Q: Have you eaten frog legs?

A: No I haven’t. And I don’t plan on it.

Q: Rumor has it you really liked the food on the set.

A: Oh golly, you mean the catering? That was the best food we have ever tasted. They had the desserts — chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake. It was so good. All for free, too. It was amazing.

Q: How did you stop yourself from overdoing it with the sweets?

A: I ate salad. Kind of even it out a little bit.

Q: Was Lori actually cutting your hair in Episode 3?

A: It was an extension. When I was in the make-up — or hair trailer, my bad — they would attach the extension. It put a lot more weight on my hair so it was pulling on my hair the whole time. It was literally like a mullet. I had it down to below my shoulders. But they cut a lot of it off.

Q: Has your mom ever cut your hair?

A: No but my dad did when I was little. I barely remember it, but I knew that I did not like it. I’m pretty sure. My dad said I liked it. I don’t know. I’ve never had a haircut where I’ve gone to a hair cutting place and they gave me an in incorrect haircut. So I’ve been pretty lucky.

Q: Do you enjoy camping in real life?

A: We’re not much of a camping family. When I was in Cub Scouts we went camping once and my dad snored the whole time and kept me up. It wasn’t that fun.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing Carl?

A: Oh man, there so many good parts about being Carl. I’m a lot like Carl — his personality, and of course I look like him. I’m like a clear picture out of the book. I’ve heard a lot of people say that.

Q: What was the hardest part?

A: When Rick finds Lori and Carl. I had to just cry that whole scene and they did it over and over and over again. When I got home I felt terrible. It’s just so much emotion that I had to bring.

Q: How do you do that?

A: I just think of my dog dead. I’ve lived with him my whole life and I think it’s a pretty good strategy.

Q: If there really was a Zombie Apocalypse, what would you miss the most?

A: Definitely, video games. I love video games.

Click here to read an interview with the actress who plays Carl Grimes’s mom, Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori Grimes).

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