“Fear The Walking Dead” is bringing in the big guns. With the horrifying outbreak in Los Angeles escalating – and more and more infected residents turning into crazed, zombie-like monsters – military forces have finally arrived. “Southland” veteran Shawn Hatosy is one of those men called to arms. However, as genre aficionados know, the military isn’t always there to save the day, but to contain the problem and stop panic from spreading — sometimes by any means necessary.
Hatosy recently spoke to CBR about the introduction of his character, the military’s possible agenda and whether he’d like to be transformed into a zombie. (Note: No images from Hatosy’s appearance on “Fear The Walking Dead” have been released to press, the pictures accompanying this article are from elsewhere in his career.)
CBR News: Your recent dramas “Bosch,” “Reckless” and “Southland” couldn’t be any more different than “Fear The Walking Dead.” What were some of the elements that drew you to the project?
Shawn Hatosy: There’s the talent behind the camera, like the writers and producers. I’ve never portrayed a character in one of these kinds of shows. Certainly in film, I have a small track record with genre. When you combine great showrunners like Dave Erickson with a proven franchise like “The Walking Dead,” it’s so exciting. That’s why the fans of the show are so thrilled. It just feels like you can’t go wrong. For me, as an actor, it was an easy decision to make.
How familiar were you with “The Walking Dead” universe? Did you reach out to your “Southland” co-star, Michael Cudlitz, who plays Abraham, for any insight or advice?
I wasn’t a rabid fan. I hadn’t seen every episode. But, when it came around, I did talk to Michael. Michael said, “Do it,” in a very gruff voice. Here’s a guy that is enjoying the success that he has found there. I talked to him a little bit about it.
It’s hard to give an interview because there’s so much I can’t talk about as far as the script. Michael and I would probably have discussed it even if it wasn’t “The Walking Dead”-related just because we’re close. We still talk. I respect and admire him so much. I generally talk to him about what I’m doing anyway, because I like to talk to actors about decisions. So, we spoke and obviously he gave me the green light.
Not much is known about your character, including his name. Who is he and how does he get sucked into all this zombie chaos?
His name is Andrew Adams. He’s a military man. The way it was described to me before I came on board was, here was a guy who was a reservist in the military, probably somebody who worked at a big box store like Best Buy. He’s called to action. I don’t know if he has all the tools he might need to understand these kinds of military endeavors. He’s a little bit of a fish out of water.
Los Angeles is starting to see signs of an outbreak. How does Andrew perceive what is going on?
I don’t even know. It was so shrouded in secrecy. I only have the back story and little tidbits that they gave me. I can say it was a great experience working with the cast and everybody. Most of my stuff is with Ruben Blades and Mercedes Mason. It was very enjoyable, both in Vancouver and Los Angeles.
Obviously, if the military is brought in, they are not there to play patty-cake. We’re dealing with a major outbreak. Most of the military are interacting with the people and the government is either going to help or not. As we know from “The Walking Dead,” things go to hell really quickly. I present one of many figures in the military that will help them make it or not.
For you, how physical, intense or disturbing did things get?
There was one day where I spent a good amount of time in the special effects makeup chair. That could mean anything, but some of the stuff I was doing was physical and performance-wise, pretty taxing.
Actors want job security. However, when you sign on to something like “Fear the Walking Dead,” how much of you wants to become a zombie and go through the whole makeup process before you die and are written off the show?
That’s a good question. I can speak to it like this. I was on “Dexter” and I got to play a serial killer. I didn’t make it out alive. It would have been great to have job security, but the fact that I got executed by Dexter — taped to a table and murdered — that is a pretty cool feather in my cap.
I don’t know. There’s an argument to be made for both. The idea of experiencing the success and longevity of a well-written character is also something that is incredibly enticing.
You are currently filming “Animal Kingdom,” which is based on the movie of the same name. What put that on your radar?
We’re in a situation where it’s still not gone to series. It’s just a pilot. “Animal Kingdom” was a fantastic film and I knew the people involved with the pilot, John Wells and Jonathan Lisco, who were both on “Southland.” I was aware of this project for so long, even going all the way back to when I was doing “Southland.” When it was presented to me, I felt it was a role that I could make my own.
Shawn Hatosy debuts on “Not Fade Away,” tonight’s episode of “Fear The Walking Dead,” at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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