INTERVIEW: The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green and Kenric Green talk season 6
After a winter break spent wondering what would happen after Alexandria’s walls fell in the midseason finale, The Walking Dead has finally returned to FOX.
First introduced in season three, Sasha – portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green – has been to hell and back since joining Rick Grimes’ ragtag band of survivors. After losing her boyfriend and brother, Sasha reached her lowest point last season but has clawed herself back from the brink. Meanwhile, Martin-Green’s real life husband Kenric Green has joined her on the show as Alexandrian scout Scott, last seen with a grievous injury to his leg.
We spoke to the zombie fighting husband and wife team about what’s coming up in season six, what it was like to join such a big show, and whether romance is in the air on-screen.
What’s it been like for you reading the scripts for the second half of this season?
Sonequa: My mind was blown. I found myself reading them as an audience member, I try to maintain that as much as I can because we were both huge fans of the show before we were on it. I’m at the edge of my seat reading my script and I get to the end and go shoot, I’ve got to wait two weeks for the next one to come out!
Kenric: It’s like our own version of watching the show. Then what’s cool, at least for me, by the time it actually airs you kind of forget each thing. You remember the big stuff, but reading it and seeing it on the screen is two totally different things. Also with Greg [Nicotero, director of 6.09], the order of how we read things happening on the script is not how it happened once it aired, so it is like being an audience member in that respect.
Sonequa, you joined the show when Walking Dead was just becoming a phenomenon. Kenric, by the time you joined it was already there. What’s that like?
Sonequa: I came in mid-season three and it was already successful. It wasn’t the goliath it is now, because it’s just continued to increase in popularity, which is a huge blessing. It was great for me coming in because the cast and crew are extremely welcoming, it’s a very familial environment. They welcome you with open arms and you hit the ground running.
Kenric: Like you said, by the time I got on there this was a fully constructed train at high speed. I tell people when you go on the show it’s only half acting. The woods are real, the sun and the heat are real, the tics are real, the dirt is real. The only thing that’s not real is the zombies, but as well as they do with the makeup and the special effects, when they’re right in your face, you don’t really have to act scared. It’s frightening. It’s startling. Coming on as the spouse, I didn’t join the cast with her but I got to meet everyone and get introduced to the world with her, so by the time I joined it already felt like home.
Sasha’s lost her brother and Bob and that put her in a bad place. Is that also difficult for you off the show losing a colleague?
Sonequa: It’s the absolute worst part of the job. We get close quickly and we say all the time we’re a family and we mean that. It’s not just a joke, it’s not just something we say in interviews. It’s because it’s so hard and we all band together in the woods in some town in Georgia. It’s hard because these people are your actual friends and when they leave the show, they do leave your life as well in a sense. We’re all actors, we’re all busy, we all travel, so it’s hard to link up schedules when you’re not forced to see each other at work. So when somebody goes, you don’t know when you might actually see them again. It’s really sad.
Sasha’s had screen time with almost everyone, but what is your favourite pairing?
Sonequa: I really did love everything I did with Chad [Coleman, who played Tyreese]. I really loved our dynamic. We were immediately brother and sister when we first met. It was very easy. We didn’t have to work on it. I enjoyed working with him a lot. I’d [also] love to have a conversation or two with Scott.
There’s something blossoming between Sasha and Abraham. What do you think their connection is?
Sonequa: I do love that they began telling this story, because anything can happen. It can go a billion different ways and I’m excited for people to see where exactly it goes. But I think right now they have parallel experiences, they both suffer from PTSD, they have that link. They both are survivors. They are both – I like to call them soldiers. He really is, and I believe she has a soldier’s mindset. I think they have a lot more in common than they initially realised.
After what she’s been through, how easily would she be able to open her heart?
Sonequa: I, as Sasha, I’m ready to live again. I’m ready to engage. For the longest time, I’m very hard, very distant, very pragmatic. Losing Bob and then losing my brother, who was all that I had, he was my connection to my past and Bob was my connection to my future, losing it all and spiralling all the way down, as low as I have ever been in my life. Now I’ve come out of it, what I realised is that from the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, I had put up this defence – this wall to protect myself because I didn’t think I could handle being connected to people. I am now finally ready to live. For the first time in a long time, I don’t want to die. I’m ready to live and engage.