The Walking Dead is show that isn’t exactly known for its humour. But with the introduction of The Kingdom, we have been given a much needed break from the grit and gore we have grown to love.
With the theatrics of King Ezekiel earning actor Khary Payton much praise, it is the character’s lovable right-hand man, Jerry, who has quickly earned the affections of fans.
We catch up with last year’s breakout star, Cooper Andrews, to talk about the lovable Jerry and what the new season holds.
[laughs] There will be some more lightheartedness. Trying to think if there will be more puns? There should be!
This season I’ve had a lot of the crew come up to me with various different axe puns. And some well-timed things and I wasn’t sure if they were saying we should do it or just cracking me up.
You’ll get to see more of The Kingdom and why King Ezekiel has Jerry around. The biggest thing is that people will understand that relationship more than they did before.
That will be cool. I am excited about it!
When you first read the script for the new season what were you most excited about?
Well, I am a huge fan of the show. So I was excited about a lot more interaction with the other communities to work with people who I have been a big fan of for the better part of a decade.
It really shows how gracious the original is, there’s no seniority with them. They are open and just friendly people.
As opposed to before where we had to sort of see everyone’s story build, see where they were before the war.
Now we are seeing everybody stand up to what they should be and it’s great.
How surreal did you find it when reading for this character for him to be so happy? Did you find it unnerving at all?
Umm… well I am a happy guy so it worked out. When we discussed Jerry there were a lot of approaches. I sent in three or four different versions of how I was going to approach the character.
So there were options. Is he is this stoic guy, zen like guy, an angry guy or just this tough dude? After I talked with Scott [Gimple] after first day of shooting, he said my smile made him happy and when I didn’t it was kind of scary.
That was the kind of approach he wanted, he wanted this happy guy.
So you’ll get to see more of him rather than just the cool uncle turning up at a party.
What do you think Jerry did before the apocalypse?
You know I feel like he ran like a food truck of some kind, maybe sold pies out of the truck. Or like taught kids little league or football or something like that.
A lot of people talk about having a backstory for Jerry. The big thing for me is I didn’t want to know what he did before. He has probably gone through some rough stuff but came out better for it, he still maintains his goodness and happiness.
Jerry appears to be unchanged by the post-apocalyptic world. How will the impending war against The Saviors change him psychologically?
I think Jerry, and this is me only knowing a bit of the first episode…The thing about Jerry is that last season Benjamin speaks to Morgan about Ezekiel leading these people and only a few surviving and his father not being one of them.
I feel like Jerry was there, I feel like he’s definitely seen some shit. And war could change him but could also make him stick even harder to his beliefs.
What’s it like between scenes watching Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan?
I had the opportunity to and there was a lot of time I would just sneak onto the set for part of a day.
Time to watch real actors do some real acting, maybe it’ll help me be better today [laughs]. The times I’ve watched him work he does seem to be able to turn it off and on. It is chilling.
If I am just standing back watching, I just see this charismatic guy showing off this incredible talent. But if I am in ‘’Jerry Mode” all I am thinking , so this guy talks a lot so why don’t we just shoot him?! [laughs]
Do you share any scenes with him in the new season that you can tell us a bit about?
Not that I know of…[laughs]
It would be two smiling dudes with wooden sticks, one with an axe on the end of it of course.
Are Jerry and Negan similar in ways because both are showman and have natural charisma?
I came to think of when we were first doing The Kingdom stuff. You have Simon and Negan in season six who are these just two smiling charming guys then season seven comes and they are both there.
Then you have King Ezekiel and Jerry both smiling. The point is though you have these four happy guys but all live in a different society, they had to change and they had to shift.
These are two groups who have embraced this lifestyle. I’d rather live in The Kingdom than with The Saviors.
Your co-star, Pollyanna McIntosh, revealed to us she knows the story for the The Walking Dead/Fear The Walking Dead crossover. Is there anything you can tell us about it?
I don’t know anything about it. I actually found out about it when everyone else did.
But I will say this from my experience from watching both shows, I believe it won’t be more of the same. You have your two different shows with two different styles and I think we are going to have a third style.
I know they are doing it because they have a great story to tell, so I am excited for it.
The Walking Dead returns Monday 23rd October at 9pm on FOX