Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead, on Playing Rick Grimes

Eric: Next question, over here.

Q: Hi, Andy.

Lincoln: Hey.

Q: What was it that interested you most about playing the character of Rick Grimes?

Lincoln: Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhmmmmmm, well, obviously, (deepens voice comically) working with Norman Reedus. (cheers and applause) No, I mean there were so many things that intrigued me about it. Frank Darabont was the first guy that just got me hooked in. And then I read the script and I just thought it was the – I’d never read anything quite like it. And then I started looking at the comic book. And I just thought well this was going to be the most punishing role I’ve ever attempted. And, and I don’t know, it’s just grown from there. It began as one thing, and I keep saying this, is that it’s sort of turned into, it’s not our show anymore. It’s just got nothing to do with us. It’s your show, and we kind of – I just want to tell the greatest story that we possibly can, for you guys. Because it’s kind of – it’s become this beast. And I don’t know, I don’t think I would have been cast in Europe as Rick Grimes. I just don’t. I had done comedy, as someone just said. I’d done comedy, I’d done a lot of romantic roles, things like that. And the opportunity to play a badass sheriff, I was just like, “are you kidding me? (laughter) Would I get to wear some boots and ride a horse and shoot people for a living?” I’m like, “count me in.” I’ve still got so many buddies back home who just keep going, what the fuck. How did you – (lots of laughter, applause) really? you? But in all seriousness, it was Frank [Darabont], it was Gale Anne Hurd, it was Greg Nicotero, it was AMC. You know, I’d be watching Breaking Bad, (cheers,) yeah, you know, one of the greatest shows since The Wire, I think, in my opinion. And Mad Men, and you know, I just thought this, this feels like there’s a golden age of storytelling going on in TV at the moment. And when I got the gig, I just, I said this in an interview a couple of days, ago, I said there are certain roles that you jump up and down when you get the gig. There was a play that I did called Blue Orange, which was that. There was This Life, which was the first thing I ever bagged out of drama school, and this was the next one. I was jumping up and down going, “I’m fuckin’ Rick Grimes!” and I was in the middle of Wilshire (Boulevard, in L.A.) with my family and they were like, “what are you talking about?” But it was my brother, my beloved brother, who is a real sci-fi fan. He’s a smart cookie. And he was the guy who got it first. He said, “This — you better not fuck this up. (laughter) This is a big thing.” I was going really? He was going (deepens voice dramatically) “Oh, yeah.” So yeah, hopefully, you know, we keep not fucking it up. (laughter) Excuse me if there are children in here. (Laughter) Apologies to those parents.

Q: We both know most of the weapons you use are either hand weapons or guns. If you run out of bullets, what would be the three hand weaspons you would carry?
Lincoln: Oh, you’re a serious survivalist. (laughter) You even have this survivalist voice. (more laughter) You should be on our show, dude. (begins answer in similar, deep voice.) Well, I believe that the most important hand weapon – (changes back to normal voice) Ah, well, I’m gonna not spoil anything, but Rick develops a new technique this season for dispatching people and it isn’t a gun, it isn’t a knife, it’s something quite different. And I look forward to hearing your reactions. Because I was shocked. I would say, I don’t know, a stone is pretty good, that’s worked for me pretty well in the past (laughter), an eye gouge, just thinking on my feet here – and any sharp stick. Does that answer your question, sir?

Q: Yes it does.

Lincoln: Thank you. I’ll see you next week at work.

Q: Where do I sign up?

Lincoln: I’ll speak to your agent.

Q: Hello Andrew, how are you?

Lincoln: I’m very well. What’s your name, sir?

Q: Josh.

Lincoln: Josh. How are you?

Q: Good. Uh,

Lincoln: (talking over him) Let’s keep saying ‘how are you.’ (laughter)

Q: I was wondering if the show takes a toll on you in real life, like do you go shopping at Walmart or whatever, and just like keep eyes in the back of your head, just in case?

Lincoln: I did actually run into somebody in the grocery store the other day and I was just picking up some aubergines, or what, you don’t say aubergines – eggplants. (playing off audience laughter) KRYPTONITE. But yeah, and I was just sort of minding my own business, as much as you can at the moment, and this guy went “hey Mr. Lincoln,” and I went “hey,” and he said, “you don’t remember me?” and I went, “no,” and he said, “My name’s John. You stabbed me in the head last week.” (big laughter, applause) Josh, this is my life. (laughter) so yeah, it is kind of weird. Um, it’s, this time of the year, especially when the show’s out, it becomes a little intense. You know.

James: so you’ve got a few more weeks left and then you go, you’re on break. You live in London –

Lincoln: Yeah, just outside of London. My family flew back yesterday, and so I think the final push is three weeks if indeed I’m still alive (laughter), and then we finish, we wrap just around the 22nd. So yeah, we’re getting close.

Eric: Over here. We’ve got about 10 minutes.

Q: Hello, I just want to know, I just want to know, even though you probably get this one a lot: How did you prepare for Lori’s death?

Lincoln: Aaaah. (laughter) Um, yeah. I mean, the thing about this show, and I think the great thing about this show is because we’ve been doing it so long, and we’ve spent so much time, so many hours with these characters, and also with these people as friends, and you’ve gone through so much already, some scenes just look after themselves. This one I kind of just took myself away, listened to some music, got into the zone, which wasn’t very happy as you can imagine, and then just – I was helped by Chandler Riggs, who I think – you just wait, just wait for what this kid is going to do this season. He I think has done one of the best episodes certainly this season and he kind of carries it. It’s beautiful, what he’s done. I just, I was on set with him the other day and just watched him. And just — and now it’s time for me to learn from him. He’s a serious actor, this kid. But yeah, when he came out, and LC as well, holding the baby, it sort of plays itself. I don’t really sort of talk about preparations and things because the older I get, the more I’ve worked, the more you realize that every actor has their own way of working which is unique to them. And we’re lucky in this show is that we’ve got so many cool actors. So I just asked Sarah not to be on set. That was my only request in the scene, just because I didn’t want her to see it. And you know, I kind of like, Lennie James said a great thing when we did [the season 3 episode] Clear, and we’d just done that incredible scene, the six-page scene, and we came off, and he was wracked. He was just so sad. And he just said “I didn’t want to leave anything on the field.” And I went, “You did not, sir. That is official.” (laughter) And that’s – you know, I like to think that everybody comes with that work ethic, you know? We’ve set a standard on this show for you guys that we try to live up to. Sometimes we hit it, sometimes we get lucky. And sometimes we get close to it. But I think you get that we’re, even if you don’t miss it, if we don’t hit it quite right, we’re still trying for that. And I just got lucky that day and it just came out . . . real.

Q: Thank you.

Lincoln: Thank YOU. (applause)

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