“Fear the Walking Dead” star Cliff Curtis offered more details about his character Travis, how the zombie apocalypse is a stand in for any kind of disaster and more during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“I just see him as an everyday guy, a high school teacher, an English teacher, passionate about his community and about his family,” Curtis said of his character. “He’s between families right now, he’s divorced, and met someone else that he loves and is becoming a part of that family. So he’s got a new family and an old family. He’s trying to create this whole blended family thing. So his world really is the woman he loves, the children that he loves and his job that he loves, and then his whole world just sort of turned upside down.”
“I like the idea of him being a bit of an anti-hero in the sense that he’s really not prepared for it and he’s not geared up in that way. You know, he’s not like a walking action hero type sort of guy, and so there’s room for him to evolve and him to discover who he’s going to be in this new world,” he added.
“He’s spent his career trying to get kids to behave and to believe in the goodness of humanity and the goodness of man and being socially minded and taking care of each other and building community,” he continued. “In an apocalypse, all of that falls apart, the chain of command breaks down, everything, it’s a free-for-all. It’s like all the rules have changed. The creators have gifted me this phenomenal role in the sense that he’s a good man in an impossible situation. So how do you maintain the goodness of who you are and have faith in the goodness of humanity when it’s all falling apart? That’s a tough challenge, and so there are complexities in that, which I think for me is great because it’s grounded in goodness and I’m really enjoying that.”
“What’s great about our show is in our world we don’t even know about that other show. We don’t know about what’s coming or what this whole phenomenon is. So the audience knows so much more than we do and it’s kind of like we’re just sort of carrying on, trying to carry on with our normal lives — like go pick up the kids from school. Oh, the school’s not really a school anymore. Oh, we’ve got to go and get that stuff to go to the library, and the library’s overrun, and oh, we’ve got to go to the emergency ward. So this discovering, it’s more like a natural disaster-type setup where there’s a natural disaster, whatever this virus is or this disease that sort of overrun our nation,” he explained.
“It could be anything. It could be influenza. It could be chicken pox. It just happens to be this mysterious disease that we don’t have any knowledge of, but how quickly our civilization and all the things that we take for granted can collapse,” Curtis said. “How does an ordinary family deal with not being able to phone one another or get in an urgent situation if the motorway is blocked off for these riots? And these are all real things that actually happen now. So, it’s not so far-fetched. It’s not so out there to imagine. And then the deal is, what happens if the grid shuts down or it gets locked down and we don’t know what’s going on? We don’t know what’s happening in the rest in the country. We don’t know what’s happening outside of our block and we have no means of getting to know.”
“It’s like the world quickly becomes quite a scary place, and then you’re not dealing with necessarily the infected or the disease. You’re dealing with your own fear and paranoia about what’s out there and what’s going to happen and then how to deal with the situation. And that’s kind of where the drama is driven by very natural and real human impulses and emotions, and that’s where the show is really grounded and it makes it interesting to play,” he added.
When asked whether or not he checked out “The Walking Dead” comics, he responded, “I asked the makers of the show whether that was important, and they said it wasn’t important at all. I know it’s a phenomenon, it’s a huge franchise, and I checked it out and I thought I would rather sort of just keep a distance from it because I am not supposed to know that world. Also, I think we need to have a bit of space to recreate what this is and define it however we want to. We could create a whole new and different audience for this show as opposed to the other.”
Premiering August 23, “Fear the Walking Dead” was co-created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson. The series stars Curtis, Kim Dickens, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason, Ruben Blades and more.
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