AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead cast members were divided into two press conferences during the 2017 San Diego Comic, with Alycia Debnam-Carey, Sam Underwood, Frank Dillane, Daniel Sharman, and Dayton Callie teaming up to discuss the second half of season three. The series returns with two back-to-back episodes on September 10, 2017, with season three part two finding enemies making alliances in order to survive as key resources dwindle.
How does it feel to see Fear the Walking Dead grow since season one?
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “What’s so wonderful is that our cast is very, very tight and we all do really, really get along well. And I guess for us coming from season one and then being able to add people and still kind of keep them, we haven’t lost that many of us. So, it’s nice that we’ve really been able to develop a great bond, especially our location this year have been quite isolated, so we’ve really been forced to entertain one another and get along. That’s been really rewarding.”
Sam Underwood: “As well the social zeitgeist that we have at the moment in the world is kind of a lovely parallel to living through a zombie apocalypse in some way. So, banding together as a little family to do something that we love to do, to act, is something really lovely to be able to do at this period of time where everything’s very stressful and chaotic. It’s a nice little reprieve from that.”
Dayton Callie: “Well, obviously they were floundering until I got there. They were welcomed onto the ranch and guided through the rest of their lives as the example. (Laughing) That felt good.”
Alycia, how did you train for handling guns?
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “I’d never picked up a gun before this show. I remember when we did, I was actually taken aback by how heavy it was. I think there was a photographer on set actually who caught me in the act doing it. He just could not stop laughing because I could not actually figure out how to hold it, which was good because it matched probably what my character would be like. But, yeah, it’s a strange thing.
Guns are a little funny for me. It’s a part of this show and obviously we have some sort of training for it but we’re also not supposed to be great with guns. We’re not assassins or anything. It’s kind of good that we’re not experts at it.”
What’s been the craziest, most challenging scene to shoot?
Daniel Sharman: “It’s been quite a fascinating little ride and roller coaster. The challenging thing, I think, with it is always trying to make something that’s real or believable about the situation. What I think is so good about the show is the outside perimeters of what they are saying is this is a zombie apocalypse but it doesn’t feel like it’s that thing. It’s a very specific and very well-made investigation into human beings. I think that’s what’s very interesting about it and that’s what I loved about the character. I don’t think there was a character on the show that’s black and white or that hasn’t got a very specific and interesting storyline or things that they’re exploring.
I think, for me, this whole season gets really a lot more interesting for Troy as it gets towards the end of this season. You’ll see the journeys of all our characters face the things that we either don’t want or have been pushing away. All the fears of our own characters and I think that’s what’s so fascinating about the show and I love about my character’s journey.”
If you crossed over with The Walking Dead, which character would you tag along with?
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “I want to know this rumor. I want to know what he said. I haven’t heard it. Who would our characters tag along with? I’ve always said probably Maggie. That would be, for me I think, a good gal pal.”
Frank Dillane: “I don’t watch it. I don’t know.”
Sam Underwood: “I’m with Frank. I’m an awful person. I haven’t watched Walking. I’m very sorry. AMC is not going to have me back ever.”
Daniel Sharman: “I’ve only seen the first season. If I was to pick from the first season, I don’t know because who’s the brother?”
Daniel Sharman: “Yes. I feel like those two would get along. When Troy looks like the voice of reason, you’re in real trouble. I think he’d be the more normal version. That would be quite interesting.”
Dayton Callie: “Negan. That’s who I’d (team) up with.”
How would you want to die if the time comes?
Dayton Callie: “Well, I don’t have the choice, do I?”
How would you have wanted to die, Dayton?
Dayton Callie: “Heart attack with Alicia.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “Wow. Only 9:30 (am). We’re off to a roaring start.”
Sam Underwood: “I was about to say, I love that this show is such a female-driven, female-empowering show.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “It’s all right. I’m the thorn between the roses. You guys can be the roses. I feel like being a zombie would be too much hard work, to be honest. That’s all I’ve decided is that doing the whole makeup, the eyes, everything, I don’t want to have to do that. Seems really hard. So, I’d take Madison having to shoot me in the head or something. That’d be crazy.”
Sam Underwood: “There was a lake that I took Alicia too in I think it was episode 5. One of the things that wasn’t left in the episode was that was the lake where I was taught to swim. I had this moment with Alicia about you start learning to swim when you drown a couple of times but you keep going. I think poetically, if Jake was to die, it would be cool to walk into the lake, just walk into the lake, walk in. In the lake. That’d be cool.”
Being newcomers to Fear the Walking Dead, what have you taken from it on a personal level?
Daniel Sharman: “It’s interesting because we obviously join this cast on a well-established show, people, actors as well who have gotten into a groove and a way of working. It’s quite interesting joining a cast when you’re also playing a racist white s– very odd family. That’s quite an odd way to introduce yourself. We shoot in a very remote location in Mexico so you feel like you’ve got to become a bond. I think it was really interesting that you form these really amazing attachments to people very quickly and that happens in the show so I’m really glad the writers put it in there. It doesn’t matter, human beings, it doesn’t matter how crazily different they are. You will always form these tendrils of attachment to people. That’s what’s so beautiful about some of the writing. It’s got that, even though we are so different.”
Sam Underwood: “And I think from a thematic standpoint, the basic idea that Troy represents – this is what I take away from it – Troy represents the arm of society that again, particularly right now, is angry and is there for survival. There’s fear of the other and there’s this need and this real animal need to protect ourselves. Our dad has set up this beautiful community for people which is the majority a really, really peaceful community, but they have to have this border militia prepper mindset to keep us safe. That’s where the racism and that kind of culture comes into it.
So, Troy represents in my mind that need for intense survival and aggression towards protecting himself. Whereas Jake, being a constitutional lawyer, he is the exact opposite in a way of hoping to rebuild a crumbling or crumbled democracy, because now the lines are blurred between what’s right morally and ethically and what is accepted and what do we need to do to survive. Jake thinks that civilization needs some form of democracy or some form of constitution in a way to keep everyone maintaining a sense of morals and ethics. I think that’s the question that comes up a lot between us and this beautiful clash of ideals which continues throughout the season. It’s really, really cool.”
Is there a Cain and Abel relationship between Troy and Jake?
Dayton Callie: “Very draining. Pain in the ass. Can’t do anything they’re told. It’s just wearing the sh*t out of me.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “You love it.”
Sam Underwood: “There’s also this struggle for power, a power dynamic between us. I think the idea of Nick connecting to Troy and Alicia connecting to Jake is also a really interesting exploration for the two sets of siblings as well. So yeah, Cain and Abel has definitely come up a couple of times for us. Of Mice and Men was also something that came up initially when Dave Erickson and I chatted. There’s all these really wonderful parallels of characters, of couples that have these differences but like you said, we do form bonds, even when we don’t agree on things or approach things the same way. Yeah, I agree that’s something beautiful that’s in the character writing in the show.”
Daniel Sharman: “I have a younger brother. There is something about that sibling relationship that makes it really personal to me, very emotional. It makes me cry all the time so there is something about that brotherly thing. I think it’s a very interesting relationship to explore, especially when you make the dynamics such a human vastly different thing. I just think they do family very well. They’re very smart with I think this sibling relationship, this sibling relationship, I think there’s details in it that are (real). What I like about it is you don’t like each other.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “That’s not true.”
Daniel Sharman: “But in the show, when I watch the first two, it’s quite interesting because usually it’s quite a sappy relationship between brother and sister and I think it’s quite nice that it isn’t that. They don’t get along and why? Because you’re blood doesn’t mean you have to get along. I think that’s quite interesting.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “But they love each other anyway. I love working on sibling things, actually. We rarely get to do them but Frank is one of my favorite people to work with so it’s always a treat when I get to. You’re right, doing sibling scenes, there is something different you can explore with them. It’s a very unique type of relationship but they are rare scenes. We don’t get to do it that often.”
How will Troy reconcile this opportunity to assume the role at the expense of his father?
Daniel Sharman: “Well, I think for the first part of the season, probably the first half of the next half of the season, is figuring out for Troy how, because there’s obviously a lie that Troy knows something is up, how has his father died? If it’s by his own hand, why would he do it by his own hand? So there’s an investigation there that Troy has to make. He knows his father so well and the rhetoric obviously of leading this thing has been such a big part of Troy’s upbringing. So, I think there’s an investigation for Troy which is something’s not right here. Something is wrong. I think this season is him having the responsibility then of figuring that out and what he does with the power that eventually he has the ability to assume, heir to the throne if you will.”
What’s the one key thing we need to know about your character the second half of this season?
Frank Dillane: “I don’t know.”
Alycia Debnam-Carey: “Right now, by the end of this half, the family is involved in what is essentially this murder cover-up. That starts to divide them and I think what’s great for Alicia is that we get to see her stake out her own path. So, I’m really looking forward for my character’s journey. The fact that I find out that you guys covered up the Trimbols’ (murders). There is a whole difference in opinion on what’s right and what’s wrong, and I think Alicia feels very differently.”
Sam Underwood: “I think that Jake is not assuming that he wants to lead or be a leader, to be the person who is in charge of this community and having that responsibility based on where the community is at right now and what the zeitgeist in the show is, specifically. I think assuming that Jake wants to be that person is not necessarily true. We see how that plays out.”
Frank Dillane: “I think just that maybe Nick is a little bit, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I have a knife with knuckle dusters on it. I’ll use it.”
Daniel Sharman: “I think you will get to know that Troy has got a vast different amount of things that he’s working out who he is as a person and working out if power is the thing he really wanted or whether it’s about love or whether it’s about — it’s very interesting, figuring out who he is because a lot of it has been dictated by a system and a family that have told him. What he now really wants out of life, this thing, power.”
Dayton Callie: “I don’t know this but I think the camp’s going to go to hell without me. And I don’t know, but I think so.”