During this season of The Walking Dead, we’ve been highlighting many of the show’s young actors and actresses, and our exclusive Q&A series continues with Brighton Sharbino, who plays Lizzie Samuels. Continue reading to learn what she had to say about joining The Walking Dead, working with Melissa McBride, playing a character with a dark side, and her time on True Detective:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Brighton. Can you tell us how you became involved with The Walking Dead? Was there an audition? Can you tell us about your experience?
Brighton Sharbino: Thank you for interviewing me. My Louisiana agent, Dawn Landrum, sent me a tape request when the role first came out. So my first audition for The Walking Dead was an emailed tape and after they watched it, I was invited to Atlanta to meet the producers. I was so excited! There were many girls and boys there that day and the roles we were reading for were not from the real script. They were all so nice - right from the start with Karen at their security gate, I just felt so welcome and knew these were good people.
What was your familiarity with The Walking Dead before you were cast? Were you a big fan? What were your first thoughts of coming to set?
Brighton Sharbino: I hadn’t seen the show before, but a friend showed me all of this fake scientific zombie stuff that made me get all psyched up about it! I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the zombies, but once you see all of the “walkers” eating yogurt and potato chips, you know they’re normal people under all that makeup. It’s really funny when they forget they’re all dressed up! Like one time I wanted to get a picture with these cool walkers and they all posed with their hands on their hips - it’s one of my favorite pictures ever.
You share a number of scenes with Melissa McBride. What did you enjoy most about working with her?
Brighton Sharbino: Melissa is brilliant and so talented and it’s been such a joy to work with her. If we had an intense scene, Melissa would talk about what our characters are feeling and help me get in the moment. She always helps me with other stuff too, like cutting my steak. She just kind of helps me out with whatever I need, she’s just cool like that!
You're surrounded by many experienced and talented actors on The Walking Dead. Has this experience helped you become a better actress? What have you learned from them?
Brighton Sharbino: I’ve definitely learned a lot from everyone. They’re all so nice, supportive and amazingly talented and working with them has definitely helped me to become a better actress. They all care about the show and each other. I just love everyone! It’s like a big family and it’s fun to be a part of it!
In the first half of Season 4, you play quite a polarizing character. Was it fun for you to play a character that has a bit of a dark side?
Brighton Sharbino: Oh yeah! I’m blessed to get to play the role of Lizzie, she’s so complex. It’s fun to play a character that is very different from your natural self - it has helped me grow as an actor. Scott Gimple & Greg Nicotero talked with me about where Lizzie has come from and how she developed due to living in the apocalypse verses how someone today would have developed given the same circumstances. It’s fun bringing a character to life.
Can you share with us one of your favorite on-set experiences? Is there a funny story or favorite moment that comes to mind?
Brighton Sharbino: When I first met the actor that was playing the walker named Henry that I was calling towards me in Episode 5, Internment. I was like “Hi, I’m Brighton” and he said “Hi, I’m going to try to eat you” and I was like “That’s cool”. It was really funny.
Also Chad Coleman that plays Tyreese is really fun, he would take selfies with me and he’s always joking- he just cracks me up. Another favorite moment was when Norman gave us some toys and t-shirts from his trailer. He’s really cool, it’s just fun hanging with him.
Your character pulling out a gun and taking action during the mid-season finale shocked many viewers. Was it something that shocked you when you found out? Can you tell us a bit about your experience filming that episode?
Brighton Sharbino: Oh that was so much fun I was really excited about that scene. The fake gun was actually hard to click back so I was using 3 fingers just to pull the trigger. I was really excited though! When I first read that in the script, I was so excited I couldn't fall asleep that night!!”
Many of The Walking Dead's current and former cast members appear at conventions to interact with fans. Is that something you'll be doing a lot of in 2014?
Brighton Sharbino: They just got my contract for Walker Stalker in Chicago worked out last week! I’m super excited about getting to meet some fans in person!
For our readers interested in keeping up with you online, what's the best way to follow you?
Brighton Sharbino: My instagram is BrightonSharbino. My Facebook is:
And my Twitter is @BriSharbino
How was working on True Detective after being on The Walking Dead?
Brighton Sharbino: True Detective was a lot of fun! When I was first going on set, my mom wanted me to know how funny Woody Harrelson was, so she had shown me a video of him being interviewed by David Letterman recently. Because our scene is a flashback, they had extra hair on his head and I actually didn’t recognize him at first. When we rehearsed, I thought it was his stand-in, but then they were about to shoot, so I was like “Oh wait, are you Woody?” When he said "yes", I was eager to tell him how much my grandma loved him on Cheers, so I said “Oh my grandma is a huge fan of yours!” and everyone started laughing and I didn’t understand why that was so funny but he said “I always knew it would come to this one day!” and he turned my comment into a hilarious joke. He’s just so funny like that with everything.
Missed out on our recent coverage? Here’s a list of our highlights: