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Q&A – Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier)

Actress Melissa McBride, who plays Carol Peletier on AMC”s The Walking Dead, talks about Carol’s kill-or-be-killed mentality and why it’s easy for her to cry on cue. 

Q: What did you know about Carol’s arc going into this season?

A: Not a whole lot was given to me except the wardrobe, but looking at that I could tell there was some stuff coming up for her, and that she was going to really be fighting hard to keep herself and everyone else safe. It’s much more utilitarian this year. Also these boots she has: those boots mean business! They did let me know that I would sort of be teaching the children some survival skills and I was really looking forward to that.

Q: Does teaching children come naturally to you?

A: I think I would probably have some high expectations of the kids, like how a parent has to use tough love. It’s funny because I was a horrible student; I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I’m pretty drifty.

Q: Carol is so cutthroat now! Do you agree with her kill-or-be-killed mentality?

A: Yeah, it’s exactly what she says. You can’t live in that world unless you are strong. And she knows that. A lot of changes in Carol this season she’s been forced into in order to survive. For so long, she’s had somebody tell her that she can’t do things. And at some point, she would believe those voices. It does affect your self-esteem. So I think it’s great that these real-world challenges in the show are really pushing her to do what she’s capable of, and forcing her to make choices. To see her so involved and taking this initiative and making choices and accepting consequences for them, I think it’s really great.

Q: This season is understandably an emotional one for Carol. How hard is it for you to cry on cue?

A: When I’m doing those kinds of scenes it really is just me considering the life of the character and the circumstances. People seem so impressed that somebody can cry on cue and all that stuff, but my issue is that sometimes it’s very difficult for me not to! She’s extremely sensitive, and she’s very empathetic and I love that about her; she understands weakness and underdogs, and roots for them like I root for her.

Q: What’s been most surprising to you about the Season 4? 

A: What’s great about this season is that we get to explore interactions a little bit more deeply with other characters in the show. There are so many interesting pairings and relationships between the characters. And I think that’s great. It’s just like in the real world when you’re hanging out with people and one part of you just feels alive with one person and when you’re with a different person a different part of you feels alive. Who you are is relative to who you’re bouncing off of, and I think it’s so great for these characters to be able to mix with other characters.

Q: Carol comes close to performing an amputation during the cell block attack in Episode 2. Have you ever had to perform first aid in an emergency situation before?

A: Oh gosh! Nothing so horrible comes to mind. If anything happens, I slap a band-aid on it.

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