Every fan of The Walking Dead will recall how they felt after the events of last season’s premiere and yes it is still too soon…
With Rick Grimes and the other communities preparing to battle The Saviors, it makes the impending ‘All Out War’ unmissable television. Twists and turns lie ahead no doubt and the anticipation is almost palpable.
We caught up with the great Lennie James once again to talk about the new season and Morgan’s relationship with Carol.
The new season is “All Out War” with many great action scenes so how did working on this season differ to previous ones if at all?
Yeah, it was a little bit different in all honesty. On one level it was the same, we were in the same kind of places but there was a different pace to the storytelling on this one.
We are out on location a lot anyway but there was a lot more moving around, the story is told on the run. A lot of the storytelling, not just last season but other seasons, had the audience with the main protagonist so if Rick’s got a plan then they are in on the plan.
That’s not happening so much this season, the audience this season will have to play a little bit of catch up and won’t be so sure on what’s going on.
They are being a little more immersed in the intrigue and counter-planning that goes into a war and goes into battles.
Can you at least re-assure us that the first episode of the new season won’t be as traumatising as last years…?
I think I am allowed to say yes to that! It definitely won’t be as traumatising as the first episode of last season.
What sort of physiological impact did the death of Benjamin have on Morgan and is it akin to what Rick experienced when Glenn and Abraham were killed?
I don’t know if I can compare it to Rick. The death of Benjamin represented so many different things and as an actor I love that about The Walking Dead which is that our characters carry their history with them.
It’s not like… and I am deliberately picking this example… just because it is a different extreme to us. It is not like Colombo or Cliff and Norm in Cheers where part of the audiences’ attraction to those characters is that they exactly know what they are going to say and do because they are basically the same character all the way through.
Whereas our characters have transition, have massive changes and walk with their histories. So the death of Benjamin for Morgan has echoes of the death of his son and his attempt to recover from that but also his attempt to become a part of a community.
All of those things have been knocked away by the death of that young man especially with the way he died.
With Morgan bringing Carol back from the brink there seems to be a solid friendship there but will it develop into anything more than that?
I am not sure that this relationship between Morgan and Carol – I genuinely don’t know the upshot of the relationship is going to be, we are still shooting so anything could happen so I could prove myself wrong!
But one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working with Melissa on the relationship is that, in a weird way, romance is not necessarily the most interesting culmination of the relationship between the two of them.
In a glib way I describe it much more kind of like a Shawshank love story rather than a Romeo & Juliet type thing. You know the culmination of this relationship isn’t necessarily that they’ll end up as a couple, I think it could be something much deeper than that.
I think it could be something much more lasting and something in a weird way much more interesting.
All too often romance becomes the climax and then it becomes a lot less interesting. The way the writers have taken on this relationship has been really interesting and refreshing.
Last time we spoke it was announced you were cast in Blade Runner 2049. Now that it is out and received nothing but great reviews – what was it like to work on this film?
It was lovely. It was crazy because last year we had a week off during the middle of our shoot.
When I was offered Blade Runner 2049 it literally came out of the blue and I thought no way it is going to happen because they are shooting in Budapest and I am in Atlanta.
There was no way I was going to get time off to shoot a massive movie but Tom Luse, who is our executive-producer, spoke to the guys on Blade Runner and made it work. They carved out 13 days for me and I flew from Atlanta to Budapest, had a day to acclimatise and then on the set with Denis and Ryan working out the character.
We did that over the next 10-13 days and got back on the plane, flew back to Atlanta and got back on the Sunday then I was shooting on the Monday. So on one level it was a bit of a blur, like did that really happen?
Working with Ryan was just a breeze, it was very easy.
Have you heard anything about Denis Villeneuve coming back for a third film…?
I think it is possible but I haven’t heard anything. Whatever Denis does next, I think he is the guy at the moment. I would be very pleased to work with him again.
Just his vision is just so huge, he’s got nothing left to prove. He is an auteur but is an incredibly collaborative director who really cares about the performance. You know how visual it is and he could have easily got lost in that and left the actors up to themselves.
He’s got a really fantastic crew who have done four or five films with him, it is a tight machine.
What I was most impressed with is how much care and time he gave to the actors.
Where do you stand on the question of whether or not Deckard is a Replicant?
I am very much a final cut guy. I think that was one the Ridley Scott was most satisfied with so that conclusion is the one I go with…
The Walking Dead returns Monday 23rd October at 9pm on FOX