Matt Lintz, who plays Henry on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about why he thinks Alpha is the scariest villain on the show and why Henry continuously risks his life for Lydia.
Q: Your older sister Madison played Sophia on the show and your younger brother Macsen played the younger version of Henry. How have you all supported each other during these various roles?
A: It’s been such a bonding experience for us. I don’t think many siblings can say they’ve all been on the same show at different times. We all mainly worked with Melissa [McBride] and it’s such a cool chapter in our lives. Madison and I were very supportive of Macsen when he got the role of Henry and Macsen returned the favor when it as my turn to take on the role. We’ll always have this experience to look back on as siblings.
Q: Growing up in the apocalypse isn’t easy. What have you noticed about Henry as he’s grown into a teenager?
A: Aside from the fact that his surroundings are apocalyptic, he’s pretty much like any teenager you might run across. He wants his independence and to prove himself and to make his parents proud. He really wants to make the world a better place. If anything, I think the world he lives in made him more responsible than a teen living in our society. He has to be.
A: All three of them have made a huge impact on Henry’s life. Morgan’s training with the bow staff has become a way of life for Henry. Henry’s a dreamer like Ezekiel and he gets necessary stuff done like Carol does. Henry knew Gavin had to go, just like Carol knew Jed and company had to go. It’s a done deal.
Q: As the audience, we get a peek in this episode at how the Whisperers construct their masks. What was it like for you to see those behind-the-scenes details as well?
A: Greg Nicotero always manages to outdo himself season after season. I mainly felt bad for all the people who had to wear them. [Laughs] I think it gets pretty hot under there. The crew did a great job and they were so detailed with them. It’s really creepy to look at.
Q: Could you tell the difference between walkers and Whisperers on set?
A: Not at all, if I were to be honest! They were all grouped together when I was looking at them and you couldn’t tell which was which – which is the point. [Laughs]
Q: How would you describe the instant connection between Henry and Lydia?
A: I think meeting any kid is out of the ordinary for Henry. His access to humanity has been so limited over the years, so he connects with Lydia. He’s out of his familiar surroundings and so is she. Henry is definitely empathetic towards her. I can’t deny that there’s a sort of Romeo and Juliet thing between them. It’s young love.
Q: After he makes it to the Whisperers camp, Henry sees firsthand just how dangerous Alpha is. How do you think he’s taking this all in?
A: I think Henry’s grown up protecting people. It’s almost ingrained instincts, but his main motivation is to preserve the connection he’s finally made with someone his own age. Alpha definitely threatens that. Henry being five feet away from Alpha, who is literally cutting off a lady’s head, makes him understand that she’s just as dangerous as Lydia said.
Q: What sets Alpha apart as a villainous leader?
A: In my opinion, she’s the scariest villain the show has ever had… She’s a mother – and a sadistic one. She’s quietly gruesome in what she does. Beheading one of her own without question? It’s just crazy. The survivors have never come across something like this. Jesus is killed like it’s nothing. Not only do they have to look out for walkers, but for humans under walker skin.
Q: You’re so good with that staff of yours! What’s it been like mastering this weapon?
A: I worked very hard at it so my brother wouldn’t show me up. That can’t be happening. [Laughs] It’s one of the most fun parts of this and it’s something I’ve ever gotten to do before. It’s a unique weapon to have in the apocalypse and a great thing to add to my tool box.
Read an interview with Eleanor Matsuura, who plays Yumiko.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c.
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