Last week I had the chance to interview Gale Anne Hurd and Andrew Lincoln which revealed some great insights into Rick's evolving character. This morning I got to chat with both Robert Kirkman and David Morrissey (aka The Governor) about last night's action-packed episode "Walk With Me." Here's the transcript from the full interview. Make sure to chime in with your thoughts in the comments!
QUESTION: Can you talk about the merging of the character The Governor from the book and the show?
R.K.: Sure, I think that people who are familiar with the comic book Governor know he’s the pinnacle of a villain; he’s devious and horrible and a villain we love to hate. When it came time to adapt that character for the show, we wanted to add more nuance, and emphasize the politician in him; try to show he can be more seductive and I think David Morrissey is doing a great job at that.
QUESTION: The Governor trusts some and not others. He’s definitely intrigued by Andrea. Can you talk about his criteria for judging people?
D.M.: Yeah, I think any leader for a community knows that people have to do certain jobs; I think he recognizes that Andrea and Michonne could be very helpful to him, while those soldiers- he doesn’t want the national guard there of course! But he wants others who can help out and not challenge him and his authority and work in this sort of structure that he’s laid down. Robert wrote a wonderful book The Rise of the Governor. The Governor appears in the comic books and it’s the time between those that we’re really exploring...
QUESTION: After watching the show it seemed that you’re taking The Governor to an almost cult leader position. Did you look into figures like Jim Jones for building the character?
D.M.: I looked into many ideas of leadership, not just cults, but standard leaders. Any leader needs to know his people- how he can manipulate them, whether he can trust them, any good leader shouldn’t be frightened of strong people too. I wouldn’t want you to feel too safe with the idea of a cult leader because we all like to believe we don’t live in that type of domain, whereas all of us are subjected to certain types of mind-control all the time.
QUESTION: Robert, obviously the Governor is coming off as very secretive; are you going to be getting into he who he was prior to this and maybe bringing up Penny?
R.K.: I can’t really speak to whether Penny will be in the show - stay tuned! I will say his backstory is very interesting and there will be snippets of it revealed as we move forward. His story will unfold as we are telling things in the current time.
QUESTION: Michonne is a tricky character to portray- we want her to be closed and reticent, that's who she is, but will there be a moment where she lets her walls down a little bit?
R.K.: Yeah, we’re kinda taking the tactic that she’s this mysterious character we don’t know much about. Her time will come- more about her will get revealed at opportune moments.
QUESTION: David, we got to see quite a few zombie and human kills from you in this episode- I was wondering what you did to prepare for these physical scenes as an actor?
D.M.: Yeah, I mean that’s the great thing about joining the show you get to jump in and create the world so brilliantly- the actors do that but the behind-the-scenes people do too, and the people playing the zombies. Physically, the heat took me slightly by surprise down here in Georgia, so there was coping with that, I think that the conditions we work in add to the show- it’s hot and buggy and snakey. But that’s the world my character would be living in, so it’s the world that I inhabit as well. It’s a challenging environment but it adds to the show, so I love it.
QUESTION: David, I wonder if you could talk about your accent. Did you model it on anybody, American politicians perhaps?
D.M.: (Laugh)....Um, I listened to many, many politicians yeah, I have a great accent coach too. I have listened to politicians in the southern region, yes. I listened to not only political leaders, but other characters as well. It also helps to just listen to the local people around me, in the coffee shops, on the set.... I did listen to Bill Clinton’s audio books, but I wouldn’t be equating Bill Clinton with the Governor in any way! There may be a few vowels and consonants that are similar, but that’s as far as it goes!
QUESTION: Is there anything about the final scene from last night that tells us something about The Governor’s character?
D.M.: Well, yeah, there’s a sense that if you’re going to survive in this world you better have a thick skin and be able to desensitize yourself from the things you are going to see around you. That room is his man cave, where he goes and looks to the deepest place inside him.
QUESTION: This episode introduced Milton, a Dr./scientist type who’s doing experiments with the zombies. This felt like ah-ha, of course somebody would be trying to do this, especially since they all know they’re infected-- is this a plot line that we’ll see more of?
R.K.: Oh absolutely. I mean, Milton is a really interesting character for us. He’s not necessarily a scientist per se, but he is a very intelligent individual who more than anyone else is looking around him in this world and saying- wait a minute this is a problem that’s not going away, let’s do our due diligence to try and figure out a little bit more about these things and possibly better ways of handling them. He comes up with a lot of theories and as the season progresses we’re going to get to see a lot more of him and some of the things he’s come up with to try and help them survive and cope in this world. I’m really looking forward to everybody seeing this.
D.M.: I think that one of the real differences between The Governor and Rick is that The Governor has built Woodbury which has given people time to think about the future in a different way than Rick’s group who are just trying to get through the day. There’s more time to reflect here.
QUESTION: The Governor in the show is not quite the despicable villain he is in the comic book. Was the change in his looks and dress to help that play out?
R.K.: I was wholeheartedly backing the decision to get David Morrissey to have plastic surgery so he looked more like the comic book character- but David didn’t go for it! I will say that the we didn’t want to force the actor to match the comic book character’s looks. We do have actors that look remarkably like they do in the comic, but it was more of an accident really- we just happened to stumble upon the best actors for many roles that happened to have similar physical features to the comics. We cast David because of his talent, not for specific looks- he’s a handsome guy though, don’t get me wrong.
D.M.: ...not because of my mustache?? I think the important thing for me is that when people meet him for the first time, they’re not being tipped off in any way- so they feel they are in a safe place. That’s the presentation he has to them right off the bat- that you are safe here, this is a good place, so that’s where the start of the look came from. He looks strong, dependable, a man with his communities’ safety at heart... and also it’s important that the audience have one relationship with the Governor and the characters in the show have another. The audience knows him better than anybody else because they see him in his private moments. Not just looking at the heads at the end but there are other moments too that you will have with him...