According to her grandmother, Lauren Cohan should start carrying a gun. “She’s old-school,” explains Cohan, who plays Maggie, a weapon-slinging survivor of the zombie apocalypse on The Walking Dead. In her grandmother’s view, it’s a simple way to add a layer of security. Adopting her elder’s throaty voice, Cohan mimics the suggestion to bear arms. “‘Just put it in your glove box. You’re driving. I mean, sometimes you’re in the middle of nowhere. Put it in your glove box.’” Cohan laughs. She has no plans to pack heat outside of her fictional fight against the undead. The only weapon in the British actress' arsenal today is a bunch of Carved Turkey sandwiches from Subway. In partnership with the franchise and the GOOD + Foundation, Cohan’s spending this April day delivering food to families in need in New York City. In person, Cohan is breezy. She talks about her grandfather, a quirky artist, and notes that she is considering creating a one-woman show inspired by him. When she can’t think of a word that’s on the tip of her tongue, she bends over the table, arms outstretched. “Surplus!” she cries when she finally remembers the word for having extras of something. “Thank you!” And she laughs — a lot. Since she'll be popping up all over New York today, Cohan's expecting to encounter at least a few excited fans. And she knows she can’t log face time with them without stepping into a direct line of questioning about The Walking Dead and the fate of its characters after the April 3 season 6 finale. “They’re definitely gonna ask who Negan killed. I’m expecting that,” Cohan says, sitting poised at a table in a Manhattan office conference room, where she’s giving interviews before heading out to help local families. And what will she tell these fans? “It’s both ‘I can’t say’ and ‘I don’t know,’” she says. “A lot of the sound effects you hear in the show that everybody’s sort of trying to deconstruct — we didn’t even know who else was making screaming cries or who was saying what because it was all recorded afterwards in sound booths, individually.” All she’ll concede is that come October, there will be a “resolution.” Cohan is also expecting questions about the fate of Maggie and her unborn baby. She’s familiar with the fan theory that Maggie’s fetus has actually already died in utero and become a zombie that’s slowly eating her from the inside out. But the actress debunks that hypothesis. “She’s too little,” she says of the baby before checking herself and adding, " — she or he. I don’t know what sex the child is yet." In terms of the kid’s greater fate, she pleads ignorance. “I think it’s the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers, as far as the show goes and TV.” Though she says that people on the street do sometimes call her Maggie when they recognize her — “If somebody’s coming over, they’ll say, ‘Are you Lauren Cohan?’ But they probably just looked it up on their phone” — Cohan has little in common with Maggie in real life. The only trait the actress shares with her character is her pixie cut — the product of a season 6 plot twist when Maggie has Enid cut her hair. And Cohan’s certainly not married to strictly taking on dramatic roles in the vein of Maggie. Cohan says she “definitely set out this year with a mission to have an antidote to death.” That includes exploring her comedic chops with a guest role on this season of The Mindy Project. Mindy Kaling, it turns out, is a fan of Cohan’s work — as is Cohan of Kaling's. “I’m obsessed with how clever and funny and topical and real and self-deprecating the show and her writing are,” Cohan says, adding that the multi-hyphenate is also “the best badass ever.” Cohan’s Mindy character — whom we’ll meet on May 10 — gets involved in “a bit of a love triangle between Garret Dillahunt and Ike Barinholtz,” she says. “I don’t think Mindy wants me to say what her role really is yet, but it's so much fun. So much fun.”
And after playing six seasons of a character who's lost her mother, father, sister, and possibly her unborn baby, it's about time Cohan had some fun.