AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead was well represented at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. So many cast members made the trek to the sold-out Con that AMC hosted two cast press conferences, one of which included Kim Dickens, Colman Domingo, Mercedes Mason, and Michael Greyeyes along with executive producer Dave Erickson. With the second half of season three set to premiere on September 10, 2017, the cast provided a tease into what’s in store – without giving away any spoilers.
The first season you were in L.A., the second on the boat. What do you think about the setting for season three?
Dave Erickson: “It was sort of a build starting last season. We wanted to do a border season. Part of the reason to go to Mexico in season two was really about a lot of pieces that were being put into place. Over the course of season two it sets up for it. Thematically, one of the things season three is about is about resources and appropriation of resources and land. Specifically, re-appropriation, talking about the apocalypse has kind of wiped away existing borders which were put in place through violence and another theme of the season which is the building or rebuilding of civilization. In terms of the backdrop, that was the intention.”
Mercedes Mason: “It was also, just to add a little, there’s such a rich sense of culture because we’re actually immersed in Mexico so you get all the foods and the scents and the smells and all the locals. We have so many locals on our crew. I can’t remember the percentage exactly but it’s a large percentage. So, it’s so nice to indoctrinate us as actors into that because you feel like you’re really a part of it.”
Kim, how has your character evolved and where do we pick up with her?
Kim Dickens: “I think for Madison, she’s definitely become more of a merciless character. In the beginning, she was obviously probably a merciless high school counselor, but she was really beholden to her morality and her compassion and her heart. By season three, I think she realizes the currency is more brutality when required. Her main goal throughout has been to survive and protect her family. Now it’s at a higher cost and I think Madison has been quick to realize that.”
The Walking Dead can never find a permanent home. Is there hope that this group can make a home somewhere?
Colman Domingo: “I think that’s always the hope. I think that’s exactly the nature of all these characters. You’re constantly going to this new place and you’re like, ‘We’re going to build and rebuild here.’ As you see, it will fall apart. Great civilizations always come tumbling down in some way. I figure that’s just the nature of humanity and I think that’s what we’re exploring in the shows is we’re always hopeful and seeking this place we can build on. I think Madison said it so clearly. This season, she’s like, ‘We can thrive here. We can make something of this.’ Just like we tried to do with the hotel and we see how well that went. We tried to do that on the boat. We see how well that went. So, we’re constantly going to be searching because I think that’s just the nature of who we are as humans.”
Kim Dickens: “It’s the nature of the human spirit, is resilience. That’s why at times you see humor in the show as well because that’s a human instinct to survive.”
Mercedes Mason: “I think it’s more exciting, too, for fans. I remember in The Walking Dead, at some point when they’re stuck in a location for too long you go, ‘Come on! Come on! Let’s move on.’ I love getting to see all places.”
Michael Greyeyes: “Also, the narrative plays with the tension that’s created when people are homeless. We’re avatars for everyone’s anxieties. What do you do when you don’t have a home? It creates tension within the narrative. It creates tension in the storylines and I think it presses on nerves of the audience. I think that immerses all of us in that kind of tension.”
Victor Strand seemed most equipped for this but he’s fared worst. How has it affected his character and where he has to go now to survive?
Colman Domingo: “You know, when I first was engaging with Victor Strand in season one, I love the fact that he was this mysterious man of means, self-made man with things they wouldn’t tell me about him. Then season two was all about his deconstruction. I felt it was also a deconstruction of Western civilization in many ways, what he represented, the things that he was all about. So, I think he had to take stock and maybe after the world has taken stock in who they are and getting back to basics.
I think season three has been a journey for him to go off on his own and to figure that out and probably hopefully merge the two in some way, to take the skills that he knew he could build and rebuild on. He just didn’t know how. There were times, every so often, I was confused with what I was doing and I would call Dave up and how I’m playing this character as someone I thought was this. But I thought that’s the great journey for this man, to become a different human and in touch with his feelings in many ways and to see how he can rebuild – he was a little bit more of a conman – to survive because he is a survivalist in many ways. He just has to figure it out and that’s been an exciting journey. I think he’s on the way up.”
What comes next for Ofelia?
Mercedes Mason: “Ofelia, when we met her, was daddy’s little girl. She sort of was soft-spoken and she’s changed a lot. I think the moment she was orphaned and she realized she had nobody else in the world, it made her realize that she has to be strong to survive. The beauty of it is how much more like her father she’s becoming. And now that we know Daniel’s alive, I love the concept of them maybe getting close to each other and how they’re going to fare and how they’re going to recognize each other when they finally meet each other when Ofelia at this point has no idea he’s alive. So, I love that concept of her just getting stronger, becoming more like him and him having this constant urge to find her again and then hopefully recognizing her when he does.”
Michael, how did you prepare to do scenes like scalping or sending Ofelia to poison people?
Michael Greyeyes: “The storyline that Dave and the writers created is really exciting because it’s riddled with a tension between what audiences expect. They play into stereotypes, stereotypes of violence and brutality within our community but, I applaud the approach I think, the depiction of our culture. I’m very interested in that as an actor, as a scholar. So, this is a world in which all the old rules are broken. This is the end of the world. What emerges is our sort of most base instincts, like how we survive, what do we need to do in order to ensure our own safety? So, when I looked at the violence and just how brutal he is, I often play characters that shy away from that but in this role, I was able to embrace it because in the end what we’re seeing actually is the depiction of a community that’s vibrant, that’s unafraid, that’s unbroken. He’s a true leader. I describe this world as the re-emergence of humanism. Communities have to find real leaders, whether they’re brutal or clever or resource rich. We’re starting to see feudal camps so in that sense, the show’s given us a power that’s not seen often in television. Even the depiction of our communities we are not seen often. Fear has always been a show that’s pushed those boundaries and I’m delighted to see our stories told this year.”
How did it feel to finally see Nick and Alicia understand Madison and what she was doing was for the greater good?
Kim Dickens: “I think Madison was challenged by her children this season and I think she finally realized that she owed them her story and the story of what made her who she is. By sharing that with her kids, she became more human. Following that, Nick saves her from having to relive and recreate the same violence she did as a kid. I think as much as Madison would never want her son to do that, she realizes this is the fate that’s befallen them. They’re now a family of warriors but they’re still a family.”