Earlier this week, we took part in another interview call to discuss the latest episode of The Walking Dead Season 3. Since the third episode focused on The Governor, we talked with David Morrissey who, along with Robert Kirkman, told us about adapting the popular comic book villain to television, the physical aspects of the role, and Penny:
Can you talk about the challenges of adapting The Governor for the TV series?
Robert Kirkman: Sure. I think that people that are familiar with the comic book Governor know that he’s the pinnacle of villains in that series and is really a devious, horrible, and terrible human being. He’s a villain that you absolutely love to hate.
When it came time to adapt that character into the television show, we really did everything we can to try and add much more nuance into that character. So we’re accentuating the more politician side of the character. We’re trying to show that he can be a lot more seductive than he ever was in the comic book series. I think that David Morrissey is doing a fantastic job with that.
What does The Governor see in Andrea and Michonne that made him decide to keep them alive?
David Morrissey: I think any leader of a community knows that certain people have to do certain jobs. You know they have certain functions for the community to exist successfully, so you can pinpoint those people. I would say after last night’s episode, he can tell that Andrea is someone that could be very valuable to Woodbury.
He doesn’t want the National Guard, but he wants other people there who can help out and not challenge his authority. Robert wrote a wonderful book and we’re exploring the character where he leaves from “The Rise of the Governor” to the beginning of the comic book. So this is the space in between those two books that we’re exploring.
Did you research cult leaders and political figures when developing your version of The Governor?
David Morrissey: Yes, I looked into many ideas of leadership, not just cults, but also standard leaders that we have ourselves. I think any successful leader has to be able to know the people around him, how he can manipulate them, how he can trust them, and whether he can mold them to his vision.
Will any of the Penny storyline from the comic books appear in the TV series?
Robert Kirkman: [Comic Book Spoiler: Highlight to Read]Well, I can’t really speak definitively as to whether or not Penny is going to be included on the show. All I can really say is make sure that you stay tuned and keep an eye out for that kind of stuff. The Governor's backstory is something that is very interesting and there will be snippets of it revealed as we move forward. [End Spoiler]
In the first episode, we saw quite a few zombie and human kills at the hands of The Governor. What did you do to prepare for the physical aspects of the role? Do you enjoy jumping right into this world and taking part in those action scenes just as much as the character acting?
David Morrissey: The great thing for me about joining the show is I did get to jump straight into this world that was created so brilliantly. Greg Nicotero and his team create those great zombies and also the people who come in and play them. They are totally committed to their work and it just creates the world brilliantly for me.
Physically, the heat took me slightly by surprise down here in Georgia, but we’ve been able to cope with that and I think the conditions that we work in add to the show. You know it’s very hot and buggy. There’s snakes, ticks, chiggers and all sorts of bugs down here. That's the world that my character would be living in and so that’s the world that I inhabit as well. It's a challenging environment, but it adds to the show and I love it.
When it came to shooting weapons and handling knives in the series, did you have any training for that?
David Morrissey: Yes, a little bit, but I’ve shot guns many times. Handguns are a little different, but I’ve done that in the past as well. For weapon training, there’s a great guy on the set that does all of that for us and we often go down to the shooting range for weapons that require different disciplines. Safety is paramount all of the time, of course.
Really, the whole world is one of heightened violence when you're defending yourself against this enemy. That’s all fun for me and I think in the next episode the weapons are different for me, so you should see that.
How did you prepare for The Governor's accent? Who did you listen to for inspiration?
David Morrissey: I listened to many, many politicians and I have a great accent coach, Jessica Drake. I also listened to other characters from the south, but it’s also a great advantage to film here in Atlanta. I can just listen to the guys at coffee shops or restaurants all of the time, so that helps.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of the interview, where Robert Kirkman talks Milton and Marvel Zombies. For more of our recent coverage of The Walking Dead Season 3, visit the following links: