It takes a lot to survive in the living dead apocalypse, and it takes even more to find true love. With an un-extinguishable spirit, Luciana Galvez (Danay Garcia) has accomplished both on AMC's Fear The Walking Dead, and with season 3 of the series coming to Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th from Lionsgate, Daily Dead had the great pleasure of speaking with Garcia about her character's heart-wrenching journey in the third season, as well as what she's looking forward to in the fourth season. [Spoiler warning for those who haven't watched season 3.]
Looking back at season 3, your character in particular went on such an emotional journey. While you were working on that season, what was it like to film at the location they used for Broke Jaw Ranch? It looked like you were out in the middle of nowhere and it was so beautiful just to watch the scenery there.
Danay Garcia: First of all, we were really in the middle of nowhere. We really were, that was not magic at all. It was for real. It took forever to get there and then after a certain point, at a huge rock, I remember the phone wouldn't work. It felt like it was a spell—you pass the rock and there is no connection. We were living the reality of the apocalypse at the ranch and it was incredible because that's exactly what you need. You're completely disconnected and you're just focused and you get on with the work.
But season 3 was really fun. It was a very dark season. Luciana started in such a bad place. She's been shot, she's lost everybody, and it's very dark, and I was so uncomfortable playing a character that was so strong and so hurt at the same time—physically hurt, she couldn't even walk. So it was like, "Oh my god, I can't wait to get up." So obviously, when we get to the ranch and she gets better, it's not in her being to stay there. These people took everything from her and she wants to survive, so she has to go, she has to leave and that's part of her journey. It was really difficult, but she's got to do what she's got to do to survive, and sometimes love is compromise.
Yeah, I love watching this relationship that Luciana has with Nick [Frank Dillane], because they are so different from each other, but I think that she's really good for him and grounds him. It must have been so heart-wrenching for your character to leave Nick, because while she's at the prepper ranch, she feels pulled to Mexicali, but at the same time Nick wants to stay there. It must have been really interesting to play that relationship with Frank, because it's such a tough place for your character to be in.
Danay Garcia: You're absolutely right. It was very difficult for us to split up and it was very difficult for me to play that because to some extent it was the first time I'd seen him with his family. With Luciana being from Mexican culture, she gets family and she understands what it means to her. So she has to get upset for him to want to stick up for his own family, because she gets it. That's what she knows. But at the same time, she cannot compromise herself for that, and she loves herself enough to want to make it happen however she can. If that sacrifice has to be done, then she might as well do it, but it was extremely difficult.
Yeah, I'm sure that's one of the reasons why she left in the night and left a note. Nick really didn't want to let her go, but she knew that he had to realize on his own that the ranch was bad.
Danay Garcia: Yeah, I didn't want to put him in that spot, and you just have to remove yourself because otherwise he's going to keep hurting, and he's between me and his family, and I didn't want him to choose between that. That's a lot of love, to be honest. That's when you know you love somebody, when you don't want to make him make that decision that will hurt him so much. It's very unselfish and it shows a lot of who Luciana is as a human, as a person, and I was very proud of her.
You mentioned how this is the first time Luciana sees Nick's family. You have some great scenes with Kim Dickens, who plays Nick's mom, Madison, and it was so interesting to watch because Luciana can tell that there's more to Madison than meets the eye.
Danay Garcia: Yes, first of all she's a mother-in-law, and they're usually intimidating to people, but Kim Dickens is an amazing actress. She's so grounded and strong and everything you want an actor to be. She had so many layers to those little words that she was giving me that I was like, "Who are you? You're not just Nick's mother, I can feel it." And I wanted to see more of her. I really left thinking, "I don't think I will ever be able to know her because she's so covered with so many layers, and she's hurt—you can sense it and you can't help but want to see more of her.
She's a chameleon and it's really fun to watch her in that role, as well as Luciana, because both of them play their cards really close to themselves, where they don't give up anything that could be perceived as a weakness unless they absolutely have to. Luciana comes from Colonia and she was a huge part of that civilization, and now you're finding a new place to bring that leadership to, because Luciana's really a leader, and it was hard for her to be at the ranch where there's bad stuff lurking beneath the surface.
Danay Garcia: Yeah, the superficiality of the ranch, and the racism and the rules that they created to survive are against who Luciana is. They are so against her being, her self. She didn't grow up like that, she believes in openness and humanity and people and families, and these people are the complete opposite. They're more like, "If you are not like us, you have to get out." Plus, Troy's people killed the entire Colonia and that is something that she cannot let go out of principle.
There's a lot going on at the ranch in season 3 that feels really relevant to a lot of stuff that's going on in the world right now, particularly in America. This is a very timely season. As much as it is about the apocalypse and the Infected, it's about characters who have a fear of "the other" and don't get along with others, and I thought it was really interesting how [showrunner] Dave Erickson and the cast and crew tapped into something that's going on right now.
Danay Garcia: Absolutely, we were very much aware of that and it was really special to be part of telling a story that could happen and is so real. It's a metaphor for everything. It's a metaphor for life, it's a metaphor for the history that we've lived 20 years ago, 50 years ago. The stories that we're telling right now are so universal. You can think of the past and relate to this kind of story, you can think of the present and relate to this story, and that's what makes the franchise so special, because at the end of the day we're just living with human needs and human survival and we will always try to survive now, in the future and in the past.
We'll have to get along with each other at some point and we'll survive together and grow, and the show taps into all those layers that we'll have to confront sooner or later. We're dealing with that right now. If we're not dealing with that right now, we're going to have to deal with that at some point.
In the past, we did the same thing. We didn't deal with something then, and we have to deal with it at some point. That's how history is made. How can we get out of this, how can we compromise? That's what these stories are about. They're about people wanting to compromise or find solutions. And some people die on the way, but it's part of the journey. We just really tap into the subconscious of humanity.
At the end of season 3, there is a really interesting dream scene in which Madison sees you holding a baby alongside Nick. Did you come back to film that scene, or did you film that when you were still on set?
Danay Garcia: I shot that while I was still on set, and it was cool because it's the first time I actually see Frank and the character Nick so clean and so properly dressed and so beautiful. I remember going to wardrobe and being like, "Oh my god, I'm wearing clean clothes." It felt like a completely different show. I know it was a dream sequence, but it felt so unusual. I was like, "She must be dreaming, right? This must be a dream, because nobody's this clean and nice, its impossible." It was a really cool experience to see Frank Dillane playing Nick Clark that clean and posh and very English-looking, and me with a baby all cleaned up. It was really lovely.
With season 4 coming up, what are you the most excited for fans to see moving forward?
Danay Garcia: Well, we're now shooting in Texas, so the location is a complete change, and it's like a new start, a new beginning. It's like having completely new people that have evolved out of the worst of the worst that could possibly happen to them—they thought that they died at the end of season 3, and we don't know who made it. So that's the bottom of the barrel right there, and I was so excited to see how we came out of that. When you touch the bottom, what happens after that? You're going to become this amazing person or you can become this evil person—that's something that happens to anybody when they go to the bottom. So I was really looking forward to seeing the best and the worst in everyone.