The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Emma Bell Talk Zombies, Sweaty Actors and More!

Laurie Holden and Emma Bell are starring in AMC’s The Walking Dead, so all you zombies out there had better step up your game; they’re ready to kick your butt.

Emma’s most recently been seen in the film Frozen while Laurie was a regular on The Sheild and frequently works with series producer Frank Darabont.

I talked to them in a roundtable interview at Comic-Con where they talked about the cast, their characters and sweaty working conditions!

For the full interview, click onto the audio link above or download from iTunes.

Tell us about your characters.

Emma Bell: Well, Amy is–she’s a college-age girl and she was going back to college on a road trip with her sister when this apolscypse happened. And they somehow get out of it and this very nice man, named Dale, picks them up and takes them to this camp where they start surviving.

Amy isn’t in the comic…

Emma: No, I should be dead right now.

Laurie Holden: Well, I think in the comic book she has like one line. [LAUGHTER]

Emma: One line and it’s, “I gotta pee.” [LAUGHTER] It was funny. Thankfully, they’ve really been–Frank and all the crew–have been really great about giving Amy a significant part in this. But you know, every time I get that script, I’m like, “I don’t know, I might die in this one.”

Laurie Holden and Emma Bell

Were you familiar with the comic books before you started work on this, or was it altogether completely new to you got the call from your agents?

Emma: Yeah, I didn’t know.

Laurie: It was new to me. I’ve worked on two other films with Frank. So, I’m lucky the girl. He likes to work with the same people. So, when this got green-lit he called me up and he said, “There’s this perfect part for you,” and, I was like, “Oh, fantastic!” You know, it’s always really nice when that happens. So, I read the compendium one and then got really excited. Really excited.

Emma: I was excited about it because I read the script to audition, and I loved it. I thought it was great. But I didn’t know the comic book existed and then I went to New York City to hang out with a friend and we were eating lunch and I told her, “I’m working on this little show. It’s Walking Dead…” And, she, like, spit out her food. [LAUGHTER] And slapped the table and was like, “What? Shut up!” and I was like, “Wait…do you know of it?” and she’s like, “That is like the biggest comic!”and then, all of a sudden, I was like, “Oh, wow. Oh. Wow.”

So, then I read all of the comics up until the last one. I’m on par with all of the fans now.

It’s pretty unusual to see a straight horror T.V. show. There aren’t a lot of those around. Were you familiar with horror as a genre?

Emma: I did one. But I wouldn’t call this show so much a horror show. I really wouldn’t, even though it’s called ‘The Walking Dead.’ It’s like a character drama.

Laurie: It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies.’

The Walking Dead - Laurie Holden, Emma BellEmma: It’s like the zombies are ever present but it’s about the characters. It’s about the characters surviving and trying to hold on to some shred of humanity and interacting. And then every once in awhile you bring the zombies back in and you’re like, “Oh, right! Right.” The zombies… [LAUGHTER]

Laurie: That actually happened the other day. [LAUGHTER] There was a zombie attack and I was like, “Whoa! I forgot there was zombies in this!” [LAUGHTER] And they were like, “You’re kidding me, right, Laurie?”

Emma: I mean, the presence of zombies were always there because our every move is revolving around not attracting the zombies toward camp or going into the city and trying not to get eaten by the zombies over in the city. But, it’s mostly about the characters so it is horrific but it’s not strictly horror.

Laurie: There is nothing glamorous about this show. We are filthy. We are sweating. Our armpits–sweat dripping off us. [LAUGHTER]

But it’s different than a lot of the other shows, films, that you’ve auditioned for in the past. It’s not just your typical run-and-scream…

Emma: No.

Laurie: Not at all…not at all.

How nice is that for you, as an actor?

Laurie: It’s really great and, you know what’s wonderful is that we all knew it, and Frank gave us the talk at the beginning going, “Ok, guys, I want real. I want real.” This is not like a zombie comes out, “Oh! I’m scared!”

He hired a really good group of actors that really care and are very serious. It’s just such a wonderful reminder and everybody’s like, “Ok, I‘ve got to step-up my game,” because you look around you and everybody’s giving a hundred-and-fifty percent and is really playing this real. Like, real, real, real. So, it’s very authentic.

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