Andrew Lincoln had no idea there were supercuts of him shouting “Carl!” all over YouTube — until yesterday, when I told him about it.
This was just one of the highlights of my interview with the Walking Dead cast at San Diego Comic Con on Friday. After AMC wowed its fans with the season six trailer, Lincoln and the rest of the cast sat down with a group of journalists — and they blew us away.
We had a lot of questions, but Refinery29 shot out the first one as soon as Lincoln grabbed a seat. We had to know: What does he think about the Internet’s obsession with the way he shouts “Carl!”
“I’ve no idea about it,” he told us. “I have a flip phone.”
Even after I explained to him the meme in great detail, he still claimed not to know what I was talking about. To help him out a bit, special effects artist Greg Nicotero and co-star Melissa McBride began imitating the exact exasperation in question. “There’s a spelling to it too, right?” McBride asked. Yes: about 27 Rs, a few Ls, and plenty of exclamation points. Lincoln sat there, hair slicked back, looking perfectly still, absorbing this information for the first time.
He then shared his reaction. “I’m thrilled,” he said. “If that’s the cultural legacy I leave America, I’m thrilled.” Reaching for my non-flip phone, I asked Lincoln if he’d like to see a bit of himself as a viral sensation. “That’s the last thing I wanna do,” he replied.
In response to the potential romance between Rick and Michonne, Lincoln waxed poetic for a bit about how they challenge each other. But, then he got right to the point. “Look, there aren’t that many people in the apocalypse,” he said, “so maybe when everybody’s dead and it’s just me and her left, let’s get it on.”
But, when the question of character relationships came up to Norman Reedus, he sang quite a different tune. Ever proving he’s the chillest person alive, Reedus chimed in, “I’ve kissed everyone on our set,” he joked. (Or was he serious?) He was wearing all black — except for the Chewbacca on his baseball hat — and was warm and endearing. He held hands with a Hollywood Reporter journalist he's become friendly with over the years. And as always, he had his zero-fucks-given posture. So, it wouldn’t have been surprising if he had at one point or another laid a wet one on every person in his 300-foot radius.
“It’s really fascinating how people wanna put people together and couples and 'ships and 'ship wars, and the levels of hostility they throw at each other in that battle,” Reedus said. “If that was a one-night stand, would someone hate us? If there was a ménage à trois, would the world explode?” Indeed, fans of the show are always speculating on Reedus’ character in particular — namely about whether or not he’s gay.
Perhaps the most passionate — and certain — relationship on the show is Steven Yeun (Glenn) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie). Refinery29 asked Yeun what his relationship was like at first with Cohan. You know, was it weird having to make out with someone he didn’t really know?
Yeun said they’ve had natural chemistry from the beginning. “The thing I really love about Lauren is she’s a total free spirit,” he said. “I distinctly remember the first day she was in Atlanta. I took her out to dinner and just chatted.” (It’s the kind of sentence that makes Glenn and Maggie enthusiasts around the world freak out.)
Their dinner together was a “testament to how seriously we all take it,” Yeun said. “We do try to live out that life while we’re in the walls of action cut,” he added. “I truly try to believe that.” He didn’t want to say too much, as not to “kiss and tell.”
Of course, Yeun is one of the only Asian men on a major television show who’s also a romantic lead. “I’m very fortunate that I get to play a three-dimensional Asian person,” Yeun said. His character isn’t rooted in the extreme. “He’s not a crazy masculine-ninja-warrior dude that can kill anybody with anything and he seeks to impregnate everybody,” Yeun added. “He’s a normal guy. He’s a guy that exists. He’s an Asian guy that exists.”
Danai Gurira (Michonne), too, is a rarity in her own right, as far as the portrayal of women is concerned. Refinery29 asked Gurira if she believes her character has opened the doors for more women to join comic-book fandom. “I don’t know. That would be awesome, if so," she said. "I do love talking to women who come up and talk about how they love that she’s strong and how that really does something for them," Gurira added.
For her, the empowering message Michonne sends viewers is a no-brainer. "I love for there to be strong women," she told us. "I’m definitely a feminist at heart, as I imagine everyone should be if we care about the human race.”
Aside from the emotional and relationship developments we'll see in the next installment, producer David Alpert told us the first episode of season six will have “more zombies than in any other episode.” So, even if you don’t invest in the Rick-Michonne-Darryl-Carol ship wars, there’s plenty of zombie battle coming up to satisfy you.
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