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The Walking Dead Q&A – Andrew J. West (Gareth)

Andrew J. West, who plays Gareth on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about his first day on set and his character’s true nature.

Q: What did you know about Gareth before joining the cast of The Walking Dead? What surprised you the most?

A: I didn’t even know Gareth’s name when I first got cast. I got the opportunity to play a character that we are going to see evolve, starting with the Season 4 finale and over the course of Season 5. I was surprised at how multifaceted the character is and, as a fan of the show and audience member, how many mixed emotions I had in regards to the decisions he makes, what he does, his viewpoints and his philosophy on survival. All of that is extremely surprising.

Q: You actually didn’t know you were reading for the part of Gareth during your audition. Who did you think you’d be playing?

A: It was very mysterious… When you audition for the show, you audition with material that was written just for the audition, not material from the actual show, to prevent spoilers. So, when I flew to Atlanta, I knew absolutely nothing about this character. I just knew that I wanted to be a part of the show, so I was willing to just jump in, in whatever capacity was needed. The audition material was so outside of anything that involves this world that it would be very hard to guess. I could tell that they were looking for a character who has many different sides and who’s smart enough to be able to create a subterfuge where other people may not know what to make of him at first. I think that has gone a long way in contributing to Gareth’s ability to survive for as long as he has.

Q: What was your first day on set like?

A: It was the scene in which Gareth greets Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Carl, and welcomes them into Terminus. So, it was a fascinating scene to shoot because my character is meeting these characters for the first time and I was just meeting the actors also. It’s nerve-wracking, especially as a fan of the show, and it’s hard to not just watch them do their thing. You love it so much and you know how good they are at it, but then you have to remind yourself: Oh wait. I actually have to get in here and go toe-to-toe with these guys. The crew is so good that it’s very easy to make believe and you quickly fall into this world and become a part of it.

Q: How would you describe your character in one word? Does he strike you as a bad guy or is it just complicated?

A: One word? Thinker. He’s a thinker and has meditated long and hard on what the new world is. He’s developed a philosophy. He’s not a bad guy. I think it would be harmful for me to play a character that I looked at as a bad guy. I see him as a guy who is desperately and truly after something. I don’t like to think of any character as good or bad because he’s designed so well and becomes a real person who’s just complicated like any other human being. No one person is all bad or all good. Everybody does bad things and good things. The most helpful way for me to look at it is: What is he after? What is he willing to do to get it? What is necessary to do in order to survive in this world?

Q: Would you have followed signs to Terminus like Rick and his crew did?

A: Yeah, man. I’d be looking for those signs and for something to help me out. I don’t think I’d make it too long in an apocalypse, so if I saw some signs that said, “Hey! Come over here,” then that’s where I’d be headed. I’d be running!

Q: Most of the actors actually don’t think they’d fare well during an apocalypse.

A: I have a tough enough time if I can’t get a shower every day, so I’d be in bad shape.

Q: Aside from the cannibalism, could you see yourself setting up camp at a place like Terminus during an apocalypse? Where would your ideal location be in an apocalypse?

A: They did it pretty well at Terminus. You’ve got to have those fences. I think they set it up right over there and I think it’s a testament to how smart these people are. They’ve got a good prototype for the ideal location to be at during the apocalypse.

Q: What was Bob’s leg really made of? What did it taste like?

A: Oh, Jesus. I don’t know, exactly. I’d like to think that I wasn’t put in harm’s way, but whoever it is that’s responsible for these things, they do it well.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A: I’ve eaten some weird things. I live in L.A. and there are some fantastic places out here where you can get fried crickets. I have to say, I’m a little bit of a fan. I have eaten live meal worms as well.

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