Sarah Wayne Callies will be returning to the role of Lori Grimes when The Walking Dead comes to Channel 5 later this week.
We caught up with here to chat about season three, how we are going to her character develop and what lies ahead.
- The Walking Dead season 3 about to be screened here in the UK so what can we expect from this show this time around?
Season 3 is the most vicious season that we have had so far as the threat starts to shift away from the undead to the human; it is more definitive in this season.
In season two we had a sense of how dangerous Shane could be but in season three we get to meet a Shane with an army behind him. It is whole new level of something to contend with.
What you really see is the cost of the decisions of Rick’s leadership and the cost of our insistence that we retain a certain amount of our humanity.
From a character perspective Lori is very keen to heal the rift in her marriage as this pregnancy progresses and try to create a family in to which they can bring a baby.
- You have slightly touched on my next question as I was wondering what is in store for Lori and how are we going to see her develop throughout the series?
Lori’s journey in season three is very much a journey of redemption. I think the first two seasons she did all the right things for all the wrong reasons and all the wrong things for all the right reasons; she saves her husband’s life by warning him that Shane is going to try and kill him and somehow that all blows up and comes a catastrophe in her marriage.
So I think that she has lost a lot of faith in herself. She has always been an instinctive and intuitive woman instead of an intellectual but she is very much second guessing herself at this point. I think she feels like she is losing, if not lost, her husband and she is trying to find a way to reach him.
- You have taken on the role of Lori since the first season so what was it about this character and the script that initially drew you to this project?
The script itself was unlike anything that I have ever read. I have probably read over three pilots and it was by far the bravest in the level of its silence and its scope.
To me it was trying to tell a really honest and profound story about people, set against a backdrop of what so easily could have been cheap and campy nonsense. It decided to ask a question very honestly ‘what would you do if you woke up and the world ended? And would you become?’
In terms of the character I had just come off of Prison Break where I had played a woman who was very good and very selfless and beloved and falling in love for the first time and I wanted to find something really different from that.
I wanted to explore a woman who had been in a marriage for eight years and had a child and was a much more complicated character with a different kind of fire and ferocity. I didn’t worry about people would like her I just wanted to be really honest about ‘who do we become in those circumstances?’
- The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series so have you used the comics in any way as you have developed this character or have you just stuck to the scripts?
I stuck mostly to the scripts. Before we started shooting the first season I read probably the first eight books. My job was not to tell the story of the comics my job was to tell Frank Darabont’s story; there were enough diversions that I just thought ‘let me stick to Frank’s words’.
I think that there can be a trap in feeling too bound by what is in the comics because moment to moment this character doesn’t know what is coming next. So I saturated myself with it for a week and then just let it do whatever it was going to do subconsciously.
- There is a very emotional end to this season for this character and I was reading that you were always quite interested in seeing Lori die because she does in the comics?
From the beginning I took the job presuming that at some point she would go; quite frankly I think if anyone who takes a job on The Walking Dead and doesn’t presume that they are going to die is a little naïve.
I said to Frank at the very beginning, and later Glen Mazzara, that I would never fight for the job and I will never say ‘please don’t kill me. This is a good job and a popular show and I want to be famous’; that is just not who I am and it is not the way we have to tell the story.
I said at the beginning at the point at which my ability to tell the story best is to kill Lori, do it. I think with a show like this it is important for an audience to believe that anyone is in danger at any time.
There were three leads of the show at the beginning of season one and we killed one of them in season two. And between me and Andy one of us is going to have to go; that is just the story.
If you start to keep people alive because you are afraid of offending an audience or, even worse, an actor’s ego then you have no show at all.
- Away from the show we are going to be seeing you back on the big screen in thriller Black Sky so can you tell me a little bit about that?
I actually taped an audition for that. The audition actually came through on my birthday and Melissa McBride, who works on The Walking Dead, had a camera and I just said to her ’can we throw this down real quick?’ And whatever she did was so great that I got the part.
So it got me my fourth consecutive English leading man and put me on the screen with Richard Armitage. Andy (Lincoln) and Richard had worked together on some project and so they were writing to each other about me long before I got on set.
It was a lot of fun. It is a big budget, high special effect project and it is a movie on the scale that I have never had chance to work on before.
And yet I found the same thing that I found on The Walking Dead, that it is driven by simple moments of honesty between people. And so the special effects only matter in so far as they support the human story. But it was a ton of fun and Richard and I had a ball together.
- Finally what is next for you?
I am doing a play right now - I am actually heading to the theatre in an hour for a tech rehearsal - and I haven’t done a play in ten years as I just haven’t had time. I finally put my foot down and said ‘I am not turning up on another film set until I have got back on the stage’.
So it takes place in Budapest in 1910 and so I am walking around in a corset and dresses and wigs and make-up and I am feeling altogether more feminine that I have felt in quite some time. It is great fun.
They didn’t manage to find me an English leading man but I am stumbling through with an America and having a good deal of fun.
The Walking Dead season 3 starts on Saturday 29th June on Channel 5
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