Lennie's been doing this character for eight years now, and you've been watching the show. Does that affect your approach in scenes with him?
Not really. I'm an actor. This isn't a new situation, in a way -- you show up, this is my character, I'm going to play it. He's going to play his. I love the scene where we meet. He's just such a good dude. He's so savvy. That guy's done all kinds of things, in all kinds of places. From Shakespeare to zombie-killing. I know I can rely on him.
I think the tricker thing for new people coming on any show, and I've done this before, is when you're joining a group that's already established. That's a tricky vibe. We're not doing The Walking Dead, it's Fear The Walking Dead. But it's new showrunners, new writers, a bunch of new cast members. Thank god I knew Kim [Dickens] before -- I talked with her a lot before I took the job. "This is the most fun I've ever had on a show. It's the hardest work, so be warned, but I think you should do it." We hadn't worked together since Deadwood, so I wanted to work with her again.
It's not that it's easy, but it's what we do. Thank Christ on this particular job, everybody's so sweet.
What can you say about the meeting between your character and Morgan?
I like the way it's written. I like the surprise of it. I like how it was shot -- it's gorgeous. It's not what I was imaging, but it was better. It's a real surprise kind of meeting. I just like what it did to me as an actor and as a character.
He's a guileless person. Those guys are fun to play. I'm not. He's open to responding in the moment to real people. You wouldn't necessarily feel threatened by him -- he looks you in the eye, and wants to know you, and you're like, "I don't know if he's good or bad, but I know who he is right away."
You alluded to having played similar characters in the past -- what is it about John specifically that you really got excited about?
Well, it's modern day. What kind of dude does this in modern day? I liked how capable he was. For me, a lot of times I watch shows like this show, and as a viewer, you're in it, and then you're like, "What? He wouldn't do that!" And then you're out for like the next 15 minutes. I feel like, here's my chance to put my money where my mouth is, and try to make this make sense in this world, because that's why I like watching these shows. "What would I do? How would I get out of that? That's a good idea. I'd do that."
He's very capable. He's very good on his own, but he's a social person.
Have you shot any big ensemble days? What it's been like working on the bigger days when more of the cast is together?
I kind of like it, because there's less on my shoulders. The episodes where it's all about you, it's like, "How many days have we been shooting? Two? It feels like 27!"
You mentioned your character is a social person, and we know he has scenes with Morgan -- what are some other relationships that are important to him on this show?
I'm sure I can't tell you that. [Laughs]
Who would win a duel, you or Rick?
Oh, me. He's just a cop. He's a good cop and a tough guy, but this is all I do.
What kind of dude would you describe John as before the apocalypse?
I think he was very similar. I think he might be the best suited kind of personality to this kind of crisis. He's a real adapter, but he tries to keep his chin up, you know what I mean?
Fear The Walking Dead returns to AMC for Season 4 on Sunday, April 15.