Q: What did it feel like walking into Season 10 after so many years on this show?
A: It’s pretty bonkers. This was also the first year we started without Andrew Lincoln. At work, it felt like the same show, but behind the scenes, it was different. Andy and I used to go golfing a lot and talk on the phone about scripts. That piece was missing and it was hard. And then of course, this is Danai’s last season. At the same time, it’s Season 10 and I’m excited about where the story is heading. 10 seasons is a big deal. I’m fortunate to be here on this ride.
Q: Lauren Cohan has officially announced her return to the show! How does it feel to welcome her back home?
A: I love Lauren. I’m super stoked she’s coming back. Now that Andy’s gone, I’m going to have to teach her how to play golf. [Laughs] What struck me when I came on to the show was how tight knit everyone is. It’s such a difficult show to shoot. You need to have people you can trust. She’s a pillar within our cast and she’s going to elevate everyone’s game.
Q: Eugene has been on quite a journey over those years, from selling a false cure to working with Negan. What’s it like now playing one of the group’s leaders?
A: It’s so much fun. I spent the first several seasons cowering in the background while everyone else protected me and now I get to be on the front lines and slashing walkers right with everyone else. It’s fun to do that from a place of confidence within this character. This is a really cool place for Eugene to be in and it’s all new territory for me. It’s funny because I’m always asking Ross [Marquand] and Christian [Serratos] for tips on killing the walkers because it’s brand new to me!
A: It certainly takes a village to raise a child, but this one is very personal to him. He really wants to be in the forefront. He’s trying to insert himself – not just to prove that he’s a worthy companion to Rosita if it were to come to that – but mostly because he cares about her and Coco. He cares for Siddiq and Gabriel as well. It’s been fun to play with that and the softness and paternal nature that is inside of him. Working with Seth [Gilliam] and Avi [Nash] and Christian has been great. Avi’s like a little brother to Seth and I in particular. We like to get him riled up. He’s a fun guy to mess with. [Laughs] We’ve had a good time with this storyline.
Q: It was very important for Eugene to transport that satellite they found in the Season 10 Premiere. What’s his ultimate goal?
A: He wants to bring our worlds and communities closer together – and not just Alexandria or Hilltop. He’s thinking about further distances with other locales and beyond and whatever is out there. He’s forward-thinking, in that way. He’s trying to rebuild this society as humanly possible. What kind of world is Coco going to grow up in? And RJ and Judith? He’s thinking about the future a lot. The radio can open up so many possibilities. It’s almost like the Medieval Ages right now with carrier pigeons. [Laughs] He wants to get us back to a version of where we were, but that’s not without conflict. I think everybody has a different opinion over how we should move forward. That’s where a lot of tension in this season lies.
With so much drama and danger lurking around the corner, it’s easy to get lost in that darkness. This is a nice break for him from the realities of this world. There’s not much to get excited about in this world. For him to actually find joy in something is a nice break. I used to work in radio for many years, so it’s fun to have a nod to that part of my life.
Q: How excited is he when he finally makes long range contact with someone out there and gets to reminisce on childhood memories?
A: I think he was ready to call it quits right before that voice came on the radio. When we first meet Eugene, he doesn’t trust people because he’s trying to keep a secret, but he’s more open now. I don’t think Eugene has a lot of happy memories, so to settle on the ice cream was a nice thing. This is stuff that we don’t talk about. The characters don’t talk about the past much. He wants to ask so many questions, but he’s taking things slow and building the relationship organically. He’s choosing hope and positivity instead of the doom and gloom.
Read an interview with Avi Nash who plays Siddiq, a fellow co-parent with Eugene.
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