INTERVIEW: Norman Reedus, Greg Nicotero and Christian Serratos talk The Walking Dead s7
The Walking Dead‘s seventh season has been a whirlwind of emotion, none more so for Daryl, who was tortured by the Saviours for the entirety of the first half, and Rosita, who is seeking revenge after the brutal murder of former partner Abraham.
We sat down with series stars Norman Reedus and Christian Serratos as well as executive producer and special effects guru Greg Nicotero to talk about the unstoppable seventh season, diverging from the Walking Dead Comics and the show’s enthusiastic fanbase.
The show has moved further away from the comics this season than ever before. How far do you think the two mediums can continue to diverge and does it excite you?
Greg: I’ve worked with a lot of exciting writers many times. Robert has said there’s a lot of things that Scott Gimple and the writers have brought to the show that he hadn’t thought of, and if he had thought of it, it would’ve been in the show! We had this opportunity to create this sort of hybrid of what the comic book can be and what the writers can add their salt and pepper to. To me, it’s the best of both words, because you have great source material and then you have opportunities – Daryl wasn’t in the comic books.
Norman: There’s an article – I can’t remember where it was – but the title was ‘The Walking Dead has a Daryl Dixon problem’ and I was like, ‘oh god, I don’t want to read this’. And it was a positive spin. The headline made it sound bad, but the whole thing was about Robert and how much he liked that character and he welcomed the opportunity to say ‘how is this person going to affect my comic book?’. I was so relieved. It would be boring for us to just do the comic book, and if we’re bored, you’re bored.
We saw Daryl and Carol have a really emotional reunion, but he did lie about what really happened with Negan. If or when she finds out, how will that impact their friendship?
Norman: I thought about this. I think she’s going to go ‘man, I knew you were lying.’ I think she knows him so well that she’s going to be like ‘I just let you lie’, but I don’t think she would hold it against him. She would know the reasons why he didn’t tell her.
What was it like working with Melissa McBride again? We haven’t seen a scene between Daryl and Carol for a while.
Norman: Right? It’s been forever. It was great. It was one of those days where we were both really excited to do the work. We did a rehearsal and we both burst into tears. I think everyone on set was crying that day. We have such a rapport, she and I. There’s a lot of Norman in those scenes and a lot of Melissa in those scenes. She’s like one of my best friends. Every time an episode comes on, we’re texting throughout the whole thing to each other.
Christian, how did you feel about Rosita’s transition in season seven?
Christian: I was so excited about it, because we’re seeing a different side of her and we’re seeing what trauma will do to her. That’s what I love about the show – the individuals and the people and the stories and what they go through and how it affects them. That’s sometimes in a way that the fans like and sometimes in a way the fans aren’t used to. They’re not used to seeing her really be as outspoken as she’d been and it’s a little sharp. She’s being a little sharp. That’s something that can happen to an individual, even us in real life – we can all be pleasant one moment but we go through something traumatic and that could easily push us over the edge. That’s what we’re seeing and that’s why we’re fascinated by it and why we’re excited to play it.
We saw a bit of tension between her and Sasha too. Will there be a confrontation?
Christian: Yeah, that’s a possibility, seeing this volcano explode. We’re seeing the tension. I think that’s interesting – we’ll see what it builds to. I love working with Sonequa. When we worked together in the first episode this season, you saw us kind of share a common understanding – you couldn’t quite figure out what it was but there was something there and that was really exciting to do with someone like Sonequa because we feel so comfortable with each other that we can let it all hang out and give the best possible performance. And now, getting to battle each other a little bit is even more fun for us because we’re so close.
Obviously you have an amazing fanbase, and I know you love your fans, but have you ever felt overwhelmed by it? Have you ever had anything happen with a fan that’s a bit too wild?
Norman: How long do you have?
Christian: Of course it can get overwhelming at times, but that’s based on love. That’s just because they love what we’re doing and thankfully we’ve made them proud. That’s what we keep striving to do, keep giving them bigger, badder episodes, keeping them on the edge of their seats, keeping them happy because that’s what really drives this show and those comic books.
Norman: It’s insane. I think maybe we have different people following different people, I don’t know. I get the ‘give love back’ part, but sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, I’ll admit. It gets to a point where it’s crazy. Most of the time – 90% of the time it’s great – but it gets creepy at times. Real creepy.
Christian: Especially for the guys, I feel like there’s this superhero aspect to the men on this show.
Norman: [Joking] I get that a lot.
Christian: Seriously! [Laughs] I can imagine that it’s pretty difficult.