Continuing our special features leading up to the premiere of The Walking Dead Season 3, I have my recent interview with Sara Wayne Callies, who plays Lori on the show. We covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from the aftermath of Season 2’s deaths to filming on the prison set, shooting guns, and killing zombies:
What has been the most challenging part of playing Lori this season?
Sarah Wayne Callies: I think the pregnancy has got to be up there. Without getting into too many details, there are some physical logistics that are getting more complicated and it’s a little harder for me to cool down. Atlanta has not been as hot this summer, but that’s like saying hell cooled down three degrees.
One of the biggest challenges, personally, was doing the show without Jeffrey DeMunn and Jon Bernthal. It was really hard without them and I miss them a lot.
Glen Mazzara previously mentioned that this season’s pacing feels like a freight train. With so many new characters and stories being introduced, is Shane’s passing something that still really affects Lori, Carl, and Rick, or have they moved past that?
Sarah Wayne Callies: I don’t know if they’ll ever get past that, but it’s also not necessarily something we’re talking about. Lori and Rick and not talking about a lot these days…
Shane’s death was like a bomb that detonated in their marriage. It wasn’t just because he died and it was more or less inevitable. In some ways it was a success story: Woman sees danger to her husband, woman warns husband, husband takes warning, and husband saves his own life. That’s a good story and at the end of it, you have the husband admit that he wanted to kill Shane. The wife is worried that in the act of defending himself, the husband has turned into the monster she tried to save him from.
That’s a really difficult thing to come back from, partly because Rick and Lori have so much self hatred, guilt, and shame. In one sense, I think Shane haunts them like a ghost, but he’s not a constant subject of conversation.
In Season 2, you spent most of the time in an actual house and now Season 3 is taking place on this massive prison set. What has your experience been like filming in this new location and which do you prefer?
Sarah Wayne Callies: The prison is brilliantly designed. There was a day toward last season, where Andy and I were sitting on rocking chairs on the porch of Hershel’s house when the sun was setting. There were moments on that farm that took your breath away because of its beauty. You’re telling this heartbreaking story of loss and grief, and I remember Andy and I turning to each other and saying “next year, we’re going to jail”.
The farm had really not only a character, but something that sustained us. We took massive losses last season and that land and that beauty helped us nurture ourselves back together. It was a big transition to the prison. On the one hand, there are luxuries, because it’s air conditioned and out of the sun. This season is physically easier on everyone in part due to the prison, but it’s very a different feel and I miss the farm. I really do love that farm.
With losses at the end of Season 2 and new characters being introduced in Season 3, how has this changed Lori’s relationship with those in the group?
Sarah Wayne Callies: I think that you get a sense of who has stepped up for her. When you’re so close together, it’s not particularly easy to keep secrets, so Shane dying isn’t going to be news for long… and probably why he died. Don’t forget that the Greene family are profoundly Christian and we’re talking about a woman that had an extramarital affair and her husband killed the guy.
I think there is a big question in Lori’s mind about how this family will respond to that. Some people move away from her and some move closer. It’s a little surprising the way that the relationships are developing.
It seems like there is a lot more action in this season. With Lori being pregnant, is that action and stunt work still something you’re a part of?
Sarah Wayne Callies: I think it’s ironic that in a season which I’m pregnant, I have also racked up more kills than in the rest of the seasons combined. She is a tough mother.
It’s a balance and the show has always been this way. You’ll go through episodes where you talk with people and really connect with them, and then you go through episodes where you don’t stop running. You go home every night, take your Advil, count your bruises next morning and go back out. I love that balance in this show.
I remember when we shot those episode last year with Carl almost dying, Andy turned to me and said “Give me a gun, give me a pile of walkers, and let me go to work….”
It’s just fun. Put a revolver in my hand and let me shoot something dead in the face… I’m all for it. I started going to the gun range because I wanted to look like what I knew what I was doing. I ended up buying a revolver of my own and it was great.
Clearly there are some fans who are crying for more of one or the other. I think if you really got down to it with either group, you’ll find that they like the balance too. If you don’t care about who people are, you don’t care about if they die.
The Walking Dead Season 3 received a larger episode order than the past seasons. How has this helped with the storytelling and adapting these major stories from the comic book series?
Sarah Wayne Callies: For a lot of Season 3, there are really two stories being told. There’s Rick and his group of the survivors, and then The Governor and his people. They serve as really great counterpoints, and just at the point where you’re really familiar with Rick and his group, you get this other sense from The Governor of how it could have been otherwise. You get a sense of what have been the costs and benefits of the decisions that both of them have made.
I’d say don’t expect The Governor to be like the guy from the comic book. There are a lot of really interesting departures and a lot of horrifying things. I’d read the script and say, “Seriously… you’re doing that… that’s way too much!” I’ve said that so many times and it ends up working brilliantly.
Check back tomorrow and all week long for more exclusive coverage of The Walking Dead Season 3. To catch up on our recent coverage, visit the following links: