“No one is really safe,” Debnam-Carey tells CBR News. This, despite the apparent refuge her character and the rest of the survivors appeared to have found in the closing moments of “The Walking Dead” spinoff’s Season 1 finale.
Now, with Alicia’s family, friends and new acquaintances sea bound, they’re about show viewers that when the dead rise from their graves, there’s no such thing as a safe haven. “The world these characters are thrust in is unpredictable and unexpected, so anything can happen,” the actor emphasizes of her character’s still-evolving reality. “I’m hoping they won’t kill me off too soon!”
CBR News: Alicia suffered plenty of loss in Season 1, including her boyfriend, Matt. How is Alicia coping with everything falling apart around her?
Alycia Debnam-Carey: I’d say, not great. I’m glad you noticed that, actually; she has suffered a great loss in many different ways. She’s seen the suicide of her neighbor/one of her closest family friends, had to leave her boyfriend with the assumption of the worst, and her dad is not in her life. She’s had a lot of loss in a very short amount of time. For someone who has always tried to be the golden child and to really adapt to being the best-suited for the world that she knows — and striving for success and to get out of L.A. and be her own person — this is a really unexpected turn of events.
One of the themes we start to realize in the first episode is her calling out for a connection and some sort of normalcy. She’s not really finding it on this boat. It’s also been slow for her to find out all the information. She hasn’t been on the ground for some of the attacks. Alicia’s been kept in the dark for some of the information, so she’s trying to grasp at straws. Someone like Nick, he’s dealing with it so much better than she is.
Do you feel her loss and grief makes Alicia more sympathetic to others that need help?
Yes, that’s a natural human response. She’s a sympathetic, empathetic person. She does want to connect. She doesn’t totally recognize that this may be the world as we know it. For her, it could still be a temporary thing. For them, getting to see San Diego is the main objective and there is still hope left and that this will just pass. Or, maybe not.
There are a range of age groups on this boat. How does being younger than Madison [Kim Dickens], Travis [Cliff Curtis] and Strand give Alicia a different perspective on events and what needs to be done?
An interesting theme for Alicia is her transition from a teenager to a young woman. That’s going to be an interesting arc that we get to explore. There is obviously an understanding that these are the adults, “They know what’s best. Let’s follow them.” It starts to become clear that they don’t even really know what they are doing. Everyone has that moment in their life where they realize a parent is just another human being. Suddenly, your adult parent has as little idea of what’s going on as you do. They just have so much more experience.
The boat — that confined space and the nature of the boat — starts to show everyone’s true colors. Initially, she’s looking for support between Travis, Madison and Strand, but it starts to become confusing as to who is really adapting to the apocalypse, what that means, what you have to change or what’s important to save. And, whether that is a moral compass or what it is to be pragmatic and rational. It’s a hard dynamic.
Season 1 concluded with the idea that The Abigail would provide a temporary safe haven for everyone. How’s that working out for them?
I was surprised to see how much danger and threat there was on sea — it’s as much as there was on land. I think they are surprised by that, too. The boat has given them a sanctuary — it’s got water, they have food. It’s got potential, but the threat is still very real. They start to discover that as the episodes go on.
Being on the open water, should Season 2 be renamed “Fear the Swimming Dead?” What kind of threats do they face away from land?
Oh, my God. You are so right. I had no idea about the title. Yeah, “Fear the Wading Dead.” The thing about being on the ocean is there are still threats from other boats around them. There are people who want to covet equipment or goods or supplies. That’s still a real concern. Also, they have to get back on land to get more supplies or navigate where they are going. We are able to bridge those two worlds, which is fun.
Season 1’s finale featured hordes of zombies. Have you filmed anything lately that’s been that intense?
Alicia hasn’t really dealt with a lot of that stuff yet. Her first experience with a horde of zombies comes in the second season, and that’s the first time she has to fight back. It’s a very intense sequence to do. There are a lot of people, and they do look intimidating. You can get immersed in it very quickly. It’s really fun. You feel like you’re at a Halloween Horror Night.
What’s it like, being up close and personal with these zombie actors?
They really go for it. They don’t hold back. I’m a person who can get a little jumpy, too, so when they start getting closer, my adrenaline really starts to go. There was one episode last season where Alicia is running through a back garden. There’s this zombie following her. The woman was so sweet, but she was so tiny. I totally didn’t expect her to have such physical strength. That was a surprising moment.
Should viewers be concerned for Alicia? Is no one truly safe?
No one is really safe on this show. That’s the virtue of this world, is that there is no rhyme or reason for who dies and who stays. The world these characters are thrust in is unpredictable and unexpected, so anything can happen. I’m hoping they won’t kill me off too soon, because I like this job.
“Fear the Walking Dead” Season Two premieres April 10 on AMC.
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