You didn’t actually think things would get better on The Walking Dead Season 6, did you?
As we kick off a new season this Sunday, our team is still trying to figure out its place in Alexandria - but they also have a bigger problem on their hands with a herd of zombies headed their way.
While all the characters are in their own dark place as they try to stay alive, you’ll see in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 1 that Abraham, played by Michael Cudlitz, is starting to act more and more like he’s off his rocker.
Is he losing his mind? Does he have anything to live for? And how challenging was it to film scenes of the series with a herd of zombies?
I talked with Cudlitz about all those topics, as well as whether his character is going to lean on anyone any time soon...
TV Fanatic: I was reading somewhere where Andrew Lincoln talked about playing a character that has to be beat up all the time. What are the challenges in playing that for every single scene you play?
Michael Cudlitz: I think it's a great place to start from. It's very similar in “Band of Brothers” where the elements play a huge part in the work and they form all the work and everything is coming from that place. So it is a great jumping off point to be because there is no real place of comfort.
I think that makes for great scenes and for great story telling because everyone literally is sitting back, like a coiled snake, at all times and that is our resting point where in a lot of stories that is not the case. The resting point is actually a place of comfort and happiness and I don't know if we ever get to true happiness. We get to a feeling of comfort and happiness in the moment. I think for storytelling purposes, it is f***ing lightening in a bottle.
TVF: Talk to me about Abraham's mental state starting this season. He seems a tad unhinged from where I sit.
MC: He is having to process a lot of s**t. Like I said to you awhile back, we are going to see what Alexandria means [and] does to us, to all these people. But in my case, I think one of the things that has kept Abraham going this whole time is the fact that he has not had time to think about things. There has been a mission that has to be executed and he has always been on that and so it has been move, move, move, move.
Now we're in a place where there's down time and I think that can be one of the worst things for a soldier to go through is down time and how do you come back? Basically, it is the equivalent of just coming back from war, coming back home, except home has been destroyed and he has to start over and he has to think about it. None of these are good things for Abraham.
TVF: What is Abraham's hope at this point?
MC: He doesn't have much hope left except the couple of things in his life that provide a base but for him it's a complete reassessment and how is he going to function in this world? I wouldn't give up hope for him right now but I think he hopes for silence doesn't last too long.
TVF: You mentioned Alexandria a little bit. Is it going to end up being a good place for some people and not so good for others?
MC: I think Alexandria can be used as a metaphor for home. It can be used as a metaphor for base camp. It can be used as a metaphor for a new beginning and all those things mean different things to different people. When you start to remove the immediate threat of the walkers, you're immediately reminded that these are human beings and guess what? We f**k it up pretty good without having people come back from the dead.
TVF: Whether there’s CGI involved or not, was it more complicated to shoot this season just because there is this zombie herd that is a big part of the story?
MC: Yeah. I would think organizing that many people and getting them to move as one unit and to move appropriately is always difficult. There is a bunch of CGI. There were a lot of actual zombies.
TVF: Is Abraham leaning on anybody in these first episodes?
MC: Nah, I think he feels pretty isolated right now. I think he's trying to figure that out. There’s nobody that he can really lean on because there is nobody who really, really understands his whole back-story. Everybody has had tremendous loss but coming up and being a soldier and coming into this, there is a lot of history aside from the immediate loss of the family and the immediate loss everybody feels.
There is a tremendous amount of loss prior and I think of survivor guilt. You failed the duty [and] t's just stirring around so much s**t. He's not really sure how to process it but I believe he thinks he does and that's his biggest danger right now.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.