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Q&A – Emily Kinney (Beth Greene)

Actress Emily Kinney, who plays Beth Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about Beth’s musical tastes and how the show seeps into her everyday life. 

Q: Let’s talk about Beth’s singing. Daryl’s on the fence about it, but do you look forward to those scenes? 

A: It’s a good way to give a glimpse into Beth’s life, in a way. With the kind of music a person listens to, you feel like you really know somebody. When I first meet people, I send some songs to them. So I think having Beth sing on the show is a good way to let people feel like they know a bit of her inner life. This season I sing another Tom Waits song to Judith, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.” Beth is definitely a Tom Waits fan.

Q: Beyond Tom Waits, what might Beth’s musical preferences be? 

A: I’m sure she’s aware of Top 40 music because she’s a teenager, but I’m sure she goes off and searches for something else, too. I’ve definitely thought that since she’s from Georgia, there’s some music from there in her collection. But I think her taste is a little more indie, too. I think she’s influenced by whatever her mom was into — and that’s why there’s that “Parting Glass” style of song.

Q: Did you know her character was going to be on such a roller coaster ride this season? 

A: They don’t tell you much, but I did know that Beth would have a boyfriend at the beginning of the season and she’d be trying out this different, more hardened way of dealing with it. She’s trying on these attitudes, the way a lot of teenagers do, to find ways to deal with the loss around her. I also knew that she would get separated at some point, and I knew that she would form a really good bond with the person she got separated with. You don’t get to hear a lot of Beth’s voice in most of last season, but there was that point a few episodes ago where she was writing, and it’s a voiceover of the whole ordeal and her thoughts on things. That was so great for me because before I was just filling it in with my own imagination.

Q: Has that storyline affected your own music that you write at all? 

A: My EP that came out, Expired Love, is about my story. But I do think that with my acting career, my style seeps into my career a lot. My songs are similar to Tom Waits in that they’re little stories. Sometimes I write songs based on one word or feeling that keeps popping up for me. And I do feel like, because I’ve never played a character for so long, that it can’t help but seep its way into things. It’s like, maybe this is why a particular idea keeps coming up for me, because this is something that we keep dealing with on the show!

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Q: Do you love working with babies on set as much as Beth seems to love Baby Judith? 

A: I do because it can be challenging. The baby sort of runs the scene. If they’re going to cry, you have to be quick or it ruins the scene. You have to always be ready because it only matters when the baby is ready. In some ways it makes you less self-conscious, which I like. And also, the baby’s reaction is so real, I think it adds a sense of weight to scenes — it keeps you in the moment.

Q: Has Beth’s growing prominence on the show made you more recognizable off-set? 

A: It just depends on the day. Recently in Atlanta it was really intense when I was grocery shopping. I’d never experienced that before. But it’s all good. It’s good to know that someone is watching your work, because that’s why you do it!

Click here to read an interview with Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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