Q: Now that it’s approaching winter, do you miss the summer heat on set?
A: The thing that’s great about our new location is that there are more trees and more of a breeze in the summer. It was not as hot and unbearable as it was last year. So we were dying when we shot it but that’s the intent.
Q: Andrea looks pretty comfortable with a gun. Have you acted with guns before?
A: On The Shield, I played an agent so I used guns a little bit, but I’ve never… had the training I’ve had for The Walking Dead. I got hooked up with a shooting expert and we were going into the backwoods of Georgia on weekends for like two hours at a time. He would put bulls-eyes throughout the woods. They were tiny. When I saw that, I was like, “Come on!” He told me just to try it — and I started nailing all of them! He said he’d never seen anything like it. I guess I have a knack for shooting I didn’t realize I had.
Q: Kind of surprising for someone studying human rights at Columbia.
A; None of it makes sense! It’s very bizarre.
Q: Last season Andrea was an emotional wreck. Have you enjoyed the shift in her character this season?
A: I really love what they’ve done with my character. Last year was awful! All I did as Andrea was cry the whole summer. She was such a sobbing, bereft, suicidal person and now she’s a warrior. I am a tomboy and I love being with the boys and shooting guns and stuff. There was more acting required to be, like, scared of zombies — it’s more natural for me on the show now.
Q: Andrea and Shane get ambushed on a cul-de-sac in Episode 6 this season. Was it fun to get out into the suburbs?
A: I love the dynamics of the scene — we go from being upset about not finding Sophia to the zombies coming. Andrea freaks out and the gun misfires and then she really finds her own strength.
Q: Did you have to practice your killer stare?
A: It’s a Zen-like calm that I work on, a state where you don’t think. Athletes, or golfers for example, they get in this state. It’s organic and it’s instantaneous — there’s no nerves or pressure or over-thinking. That’s Andrea with a gun. And that’s me when I’m swimming.
Q: Interesting comparison. Athletes prep in the off-season. Do actors?
A: Yeah! I had a trainer and I swam a bunch and I did some Pilates. This season, I decided on my apartment just because of the pool. That’s how married I am to water. I love being physical. It’s my favorite thing to see how far I can push things — I feel like I’m stronger now than I was as a teenager — I was doing the butterfly the other day and I never could do it before. I like to push and see how far I can go.
Q: As someone who’s interested in human rights, do you believe in the rights of zombies?
A: I do. The episode this season where Andrea is with Daryl and they see the hanging zombie for example. That was a man who got bit who did not want to turn into a monster, so he hung himself. He had the right to take his own life. This is a guy that didn’t want to hurt other people. So yes, certain zombies have rights.