Was The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 22 the most emotional episode, or what?
It was a beautifully written and acted hour that closed off The Walking Dead Season 10 while paying homage to the comics.
We had the chance to chat with Hilarie Burton Morgan about what it was like playing such a pivotal character, working with her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and more.
TV Fanatic: Lucille's story was heartbreaking. How did you feel about playing such a pivotal character to readers of the comic series?
Hilarie Burton Morgan: it definitely was a lot of pressure. It still is a lot of pressure, you know? Um, because as people are finding it, I think it's going to hit everybody differently.
For me, I have always been a big Negan fan. I liked the way he conducted himself as a leader. I think maybe he's the kind of leader we needed in COVID times, you know, telling everybody to wear masks and follow the rules and listen up.
I get Negan and, and so to play a character that sets up why he may be so abrasive and why he has nothing left to lose.
That was a lot of pressure, but my husband was so sweet on set about just making it comfortable, and being a really great scene partner, and just trying out stuff and go with whatever I threw at them and surprising me consistently that it just made the work really fun.
Lucille took matters into our own hands and killed herself. Do you think she saw herself as a burden to Negan or was it more so that she was close to the end of her life?
I don't know that she saw herself as a burden to him, but I think she saw that he would never be able to make the decision to end things himself.
As a loving gesture, she took that decision off the table for him and did the really, really hard thing so he wouldn't have to play a part in that.
I think it was a hard decision for her, but one she'd been mulling over for a long time. And I think, if anything, this is a story about imperfect people loving other imperfect people and how noble that is.
And are you able to clear up whether Lucy killed herself on the day Negan left, or was it later into the time he was away?
I think it was not long after he left. She tells him over and over again, don't leave, don't leave, don't leave.
And she says, you know, 'you're having to be away for longer and longer.' And so I think she made her mind up as soon as he walked out that door.
So whether it was the hour after he left or a day later, I do think it was pretty quick.
Lucille told Negan she knew that he was cheating on her. Why do you think she chose that time to tell him?
I think it was to absolve any guilt he was feeling.
She tells him that he doesn't have to try so hard anymore that he'd already made up for it.
And she wasn't mad. She was absolving him of his transgressions, so he then moved forward, knowing that he'd made her happy.
What was it like to play a walker?
The best. I loved it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I really loved it. I was so excited to do it, you know?
It's something that's so out of my wheelhouse, and the special effects team was really, really wonderful and made fun of me cause I just videotaped the whole thing.
And they're like 'most of the time when people come into this chair, they're kind of upset that their characters dead,' but I was pumped.
We listened to Sam cook the whole time. We had a great time.
It's very rare for actors to get a story with a clear beginning, middle, and ending over the course of just one hour. How was that for you?
That was a testament to the writing, honestly. Being able to craft a character that is born for the audience and lives and dies and have them actually care is such a hard thing to do.
The creative team behind this episode, I was astounded, you know, Jeffrey had gotten the script first, and he was away filming this movie, The Unholy, which is out this weekend. And he sent me a text message.
He's like, 'I'm going to forward you this script. I can't even get through it. Oh my God.' So I had to stop everything I was doing and neglect our children for an hour while I sifted through it.
And it certainly was so much more than we expected, you know, we've been looking at the comic book. And so this was so developed and lush and a really, really wonderful piece of writing.
There was a particular scene where Lucille shot a Walker with the couple's last bullet. What was that like for you when you read that scene to see Negan in such a vulnerable state?
I love that. They're, they're giving Negan a full arc. They teach you in acting school that the bad guy never knows he's the bad guy because they can always justify their actions.
And my husband plays really good bad guys because he can validate every decision and every arc.
Seeing Negan be vulnerable makes him so much more powerful leader because, you know, he's made the decision to become powerful.
It isn't something he stumbled into, so I love seeing Negan fumbling with his kitchen gloves on, and I think it also was really telling that we shot this during COVID because we're all living in a state of fear.
We didn't know how it's spread. And I have to imagine that Negan and Lucille had those similar fears about the zombie virus.
There were no news reports or radio reports or anything to teach them precaution, so a lot of that fear that we were dealing with in real life, back in October, when we filmed this, translated into the storyline.
What was your favorite scene as Lucille?
Oh boy. My favorite scene. Well, I really love when Negan came home, and Lucille tells them I have cancer because of the way I said it.
Because Jeff was like, 'Is that how you're going to do it? You felt so mad.'
And we had a pretty good giggle about it. Like, we really liked laughing in between scenes. We had a good time because the subject matter is so heavy that you have to.
But yeah, I just remember looking up at him, and he's like, 'Oh, you're going to do it.' And I was like, 'You're damn straight.'
We still got a little bit of edge, and I liked playing with that.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.