Syfy’s Z Nation returns for a second season of battling zombies on September 11, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT, kicking off 15 new episodes that will find the survivors splitting up because of the nuclear weapons launch. Meanwhile, Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) will truly be on his own and battling “thawed” zombies. Plus, the new season will introduce two new varieties of zombies: Blasters and Phytos. It’ll be a busy second season for the zombie apocalypse survivors and at this year’s Comic Con, Qualls and Nat Zang teamed up for roundtable interviews to provide a sneak peek into what fans of Z Nation can expect.
Nat Zang and DJ Qualls Roundtable Interview
How would you describe your characters on the show?
DJ Qualls: “I play Citizen Z. I play a former NSA operative who’s in an outpost in the North Pole. Basically at the beginning of the show you find we’re all being evacuated. I’m trying to direct the Delta team to find Murphy who’s just been injected with the vaccine. That goes awry. I’m abandoned and I wind up being, through the course of the show, basically the show’s kind of narrator. The guy who’s trying to direct this ragtag team of people on this mission to get Murphy to the only operating CDC lab in California.”
Nat Zang: “I play 10K. He is a survivalist sniper sharpshooter. So he, before the apocalypse, was living with his dad in the mountains and totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse before it even happened. So when it happened, he was like, ‘Aww, of course.’ So I meet the group in the first episode and just kind of go from there.”
DJ Qualls: Have you ever seen that show, Doomsday Preppers? It’s a whole culture of people who think like that, so it’s not something our creator made up. There are people that are out there prepping for Armageddon.”
Is Citizen Z still the narrator in season two? Will he take a more active role?
DJ Qualls: “Yeah, this year my enclosure’s been destroyed so I’m out in the wilderness by myself. So yeah, I’m pretty proud of my zombie kill count although the cast rolls their eyes at me when I tell them. I’ve killed nine zombies this season so far.”
So you’ll be more hands on?
DJ Qualls: “Yeah, dude, it’s hard. It’s so hard what they do. I watch it and I’m entertained by it, but usually I’m in a soundstage by myself talking to a monitor. So this year I’m running and jumping and picking up things and putting things down. It’s hard. Exercise is hard, dude.”
They’re really putting you to work this season.
DJ Qualls: “Yeah. It was tough though because I was doing like 50 pages of dialogue by myself, so that had its own challenges. I lost my mind one day because there was one episode that had a bunch of stunts in it. I’m dressed like it’s the Arctic. It’s 90 degrees outside in Spokane. And at the end of it, I think I had 26 pages of dialogue by myself that day and I’m wearing a snowsuit with a parka over it and a hat and gloves. And I’m charring steaks over an open fire and it’s like 3:30 in the morning, and I started crying. On camera, I went like this, ‘This is abusive. This is bullsh*t.’ And then the producer said, ‘We were wondering when you were going to break down.’ And I was like, ‘Right now!'”
Were they doing it on purpose for the sake of the character?
DJ Qualls: “No, they were doing it because I’m just so limited, how much time they have with me, because I’m working on something else. And that show has to let me off to come and shoot this show, because they shoot the exact same time. I mean, that’s how your life works. There’s tumbleweeds blowing through my living room for six months of the year. Then the moment I get one job, I get three. But I’m happy to have both of them and I love being on the show much more than I actually thought I would. I didn’t know what to expect.”
What’s changed for 10K in season two?
Nat Zang: “It’s really changed for the whole group. We’re left kind of demolished at the end of season one. Definitely some different developments of relationships between characters. He develops the relationship with Cassandra that he has and he develops the relationship that we have with Doc…in very, very, very different ways.”
DJ Qualls: “I was going to say. I would watch the show even more now.”
Nat Zang: “There’s really a lot more conflict in the group this year, a lot of people that maybe were friends last year that maybe are not so friendly to each other this year. So that’s exciting to watch. It’s a lot more character development this year, I’m sure.”
Will we get to hear your character’s backstory?
Nat Zang: “We will. We have some flashbacks coming up for sure. Everybody gets a little bit of a backstory this year.”
Have you felt the love for 10K on social media?
Nat Zang: “Yeah, I’ve gotten a bit of a social media response, for sure, yeah. They have these pictures that they’ll post and, ‘If 10K dies, we riot.’ Those things, yeah. It’s been a lot of fun for me to see that kind of response that they have to this character.”
You can die at any time. Do you freak out when you get each script?
Nat Zang: “They’ve warned people.”
DJ Qualls: “They’ll tell you in advance. First of all, that would be the height of dicky behavior if somebody were to kill you on a show that you’re on without telling you in advance.”
Nat Zang: “If it was done the right way, of course I’ll take it. I’m okay with.”
DJ Qualls: “When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. I mean, the show is not about us. It’s about the show. That’s every job that you’ll ever have in TV. You can be killed at any time, anything can happen. My contract language is pretty specific so I think I would know.”
Recap of season one:
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