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(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Cassady McClincy (Lydia)

Cassady McClincy, who plays Lydia on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about the introduction of the Whisperers and what it was like walking among them. 

Q: Did you know much about the character of Lydia in the comic books before joining the cast or did you want to start fresh?

A: Before filming, I had a meeting with [Executive Producer] Greg [Nicotero] and he gave me a huge compendium to read with sticky notes marking all the appearances of Lydia in the comics, but he was very adamant that it should be used as a blueprint and not gospel. So, I used the comics as a guideline alongside each script to analyze Lydia’s character on the show.

Q: Your very first episode picks up right where the Mid-Season Finale ends. What was your first day on set like? 

A: I found out that I booked the role the night before my first day on set! I literally just jumped right in. [Laughs] Right onto a horse, blindfolded and bound. I’ve never worked on a set that’s so close and truly like a family. I can’t even believe I’m a part of it. I grew up watching it and now it’s actually real.

Q: What was the makeup process like? Were special steps taken to make sure the mask would be easily removable, for example? 

A: The special effects process for the Whisperers mask was very detailed and intense, but once it was complete, all I had to do was slip the mask on and off with the help of a special effects artist. As far as what the walkers have to go through, I think I get off easy with just some dirt and some teeth paint. It does get pretty hot with the mask, but I can’t complain. In the scene where Daryl pulls the mask off my head, we alternated with a cheaper and more flexible silicone mask so that the real, fragile and expensive one wasn’t damaged in the scene.

Q: What did you make of Lydia’s interrogation scenes in Episode 9? Are things a bit more complex than they seem?

A: Those were some of my favorite scenes to shoot. Even though Lydia is a scared and conflicted teenage girl, she also has a strong and possibly manipulative survival instinct ingrained in her from her mother. I think she’ll do whatever it takes to protect herself. On The Walking Dead, things are always more complex than what they seem. [Laughs]

Q: We haven’t met Alpha just yet, but we know Lydia is her daughter. What are you most looking forward to in terms of how this new storyline and dynamic will unfold?

A: I’m so excited for everyone to meet Alpha and Beta. Sam [Morton] and Ryan [Hurst] are both amazing at what they’ve done with the characters. I think the Whisperer storyline is so different from previous threats facing the survivors. The writers did an amazing job with how it all unfolds. Samantha is unbelievable. She’s just a genius. I’ve never worked with anyone like her. It was great.

Q: There’s definitely a new kind of enemy to be afraid of now. As a longtime fan of the show yourself, are you looking forward to seeing how the Whisperers shake things up for the survivors?

A: Yeah! I think they bring a whole new level of fear and unpredictability to the show. Alpha is really a genius given how she’s led them to adopt animalistic forms of camouflage and mimicry in order to make sure that the group survives and evolves.

Q: Do you own Lydia’s action figure yet?!

A: [Laughs] I do. My mom ordered it for me. I didn’t even know there was one. It sits on my desk. It’s so cool.

Read an interview with Tom Payne, who plays Jesus.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c.

Watch full episodes of The Walking Dead on amc.com and the AMC app for mobile and devices.

To get more exclusive interviews with the cast, join the The Walking Dead Insiders Club.

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