LISTEN TO THE COMPLETE ANDREW LINCOLN INTERVIEW HERE
Andrew Lincoln aka Rick Grimes Interview Transcript
In this 18th episode of The Walker Stalkers, James and Eric interview Andrew Lincoln who plays ‘Rick Grimes’ on The Walking Dead. We call you live, The Walking Dead fans, and Andrew answers them.
WS: We are joined today by Walking Dead actor, Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes on the Walking Dead.
Andrew, thank you so much for joining us today!
ANDREW LINCOLN: It’s a great pleasure guys! Thanks for having me!
WS: It’s our great pleasure, too! Thanks so much for being with us on the show!
Well, Andrew, Eric and I had the pleasure of going down to Senoia for the last night of filming there(and I won’t disclose what was going on). We had a really neat experience, in the sense that we were waiting in the coffee shop when you busted through the door and 40 screaming girls just went nuts.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Ooooohhhhh,…right. And did you hear it when I went outside again to my crew?
WS: We did. That’s what I was going to ask you. Because, even better, was hearing you get razzed walking out that door by everybody.
ANDREW LINCOLN: It’s unbelievable. I have absolutely no respect from my crew. It’s ridiculous. They loved it. It’s like…It’s almost humiliating. I’m quite…I don’t know if we met that day, but when I’m working I am usually quite focused. So it’s a very bizarre experience. But one of the guys, Mike it was, I think. One of the grips. He said You got to go in there man. People have come from miles and miles away. Now just go in there. That was the only reason I went in. I didn’t go for a coffee. They are so sweet, that crew. They said, These people have come for miles…
…So, I went in. Yeah. There was a little bit of screaming. Not as much as Norman Reedus gets. Not as much as Norman.
WS: I don’t know. I’d say you won the screaming battle that day.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Hardly. I know. But, I did get it when I went outside.
WS: That was just great.
That was us, that you met. We came from Nashville to come see you that day.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Oh man! Of course! Thank you! Thank you! Yes!
WS: Anyway. It was just a great experience and I am glad we could share that with you.
Now, we have a question from Melissa McBride. Now Melissa…
Yes, Melissa…Melissa listens to us and she told us to ask you this question: Could you ask Andrew to describe his boots?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Oh my God…my boots…I love these boots. These boots are everything to me. That’s actually…that was Melissa McBride because that would be exactly the sort of question that she would ask. I love her, by the way. Whoot out to Melissa, if you are listening. I’ll see you in a couple of months…Or not, if you didn’t survive the finale.(Whoots!)
Yeah, these boots. I sorta found them a couple years ago. I sort of make it a policy that I haven’t worked hard enough unless they’ve been resoled twice in a season.
They got resoled right in the final week of season one. And they actually are ruining my feet. My wife said the other day, she looked at m feet the other day and they’ve become these gnarly, claw-like talons. She said What is going on? You need a pedicure. I said I can’t do a pedicure.
It’s just, I can’t change these boots. They are so ingrained in this character.
The costume department, Leilan and the gang, they keep trying to offer me other boots. But I won’t have it. I can’t do the job without them, so…Please, for goodness sake, don’t lose those boots.
WS: Do you take them home with you or do they lock them away? What do they do with them?
ANDREW LINCOLN: No. Like my guns, they lock them away.
Which is very sad. It is one of the saddest days in the shoot. It’s when they, the armory, the boys, the props department have to take away my holster and my gun and my badge and my boots. It’s such a disappointment.
Although, I heard last season…(laughs), Nolan…and I saw him. We’d just left. We’d just wrapped the season. I said, What are you doing? Are you not getting changed? He said, Yeah. But he was completely dressed with his crossbow. He got on his bike and he just stole his horse. He said, I do it every year.
So I did it this year. I stored it with my brother. My brother has Rick’s jacket. I gave it to him for Christmas.
Well we had Lennie James on with us yesterday…we spent a whole hour.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Whoa! All hail! All hail Lennie James. One of thee greatest actors I have ever had the priviledge of working with.
WS: Well, coming off of just an amazing episode. Just well written and superbly acted, Lennie said that one of the things about you, actually, a couple people have shared the same sentiment…is that when they’re on camera and they are doing their part, you will act off camera, or you will have the rest of the cast act off camera to feed them. Why is that something you do? Why is that so important to you?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Acting is about listening to someone else. That’s the fun of it. Well, it can be an isolated experience. It can be one person planning something and then filming it extremely proficiently .But, I like the real stuff. I get turned on by watching performances that I believe and I don’t like being tricked, you know?
ANDREW LINCOLN: I don’t know…It’s just a courtesy.It’s also the fact that I enjoy it. You know, I spend a lot of time in dialect and I’m one of these people who don’t believe, I don’t believe in hierarchy. I don’t believe in it. I just don’t think it works. I think it’s counter intuitive. I mean, if you have someone who has all the status on the set, it means that other people don’t have as much importance as them. I don’t get that. I don’t understand that. The whole point is, if everybody is good in it, the end product is going to be even better. You know what I mean?
WS: Right. Oh, yeah.
ANDREW LINCOLN: I’m not one of those…I don’t believe in competitive acting. I also don’t think that the actors that I admire respond well to bullying, or pressure, or hierarchy. I just don’t…it’s just not the way I work or would want to work.
Also, I just love acting. I love doing it..
So I was when( ). We did a scene. It was one of these big group scenes. At the camp in season one. And we had done our stuff at the camp. We were done. It had been shot. Eventually, it was in the final scene and they went off to someone else. She went, Yes! Then she went Oh, that’s it? But they’ll never know. I said, It doesn’t matter. We know.
The magic and fun of doing it is why I do it. That’s why it’s not important if the camera is on me. Or off me.
ANDREW LINCOLN: It doesn’t matter. The privilege of it. You know, it was my birthday when we shot that scene with Lennie. And Lennie came in(and I’m sure he would have the modesty not to talk about this), he came in and he just did it. Like the way you saw it. He told that story and it was one of the most mind blowing things I have ever seen. Everybody on the crew, who’d all had been with us for three years, were just excited to see him as I was. No one spoke. No one gave any notes. No one spoke. They just moved the camera around Lennie. For two and a half hours. They just came in closer and closer and just did different camera angles. That’s how good this guy is. I mean it was one of the…It was the best birthday present I could have wished for.
WS: Well yeah. We were transfixed. It was a seven minute scene and it was all him. It just came off so well. So we had to ask him about that. And yes, he was a gentleman. He was very modest about it.
But he just couldn’t talk enough about you. I know you guys kinda go way back into some of your theater.
ANDREW LINCOLN: We do. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences. I mean, I’ve always admired him from over here. To get to work with Lennie and to have him be such an integral part of Rick’s story and to who Rick is…to revisit that situation and to have that agonizing story that Morgan had been on…was a very strange experience. An amazing experience, but kind of haunting, as well. Because for three years, I hadn’t had the chance to see Lennie because he lives in L.A. now.
So we hadn’t seen each other socially. We would talk to each other a bit, but it was just bizarre. Lennie is one of these actors who would carry on after doing the scene and I was just like, What the funk did you just do? It was amazing. We just went and sat down exhausted. After he had stabbed me in the arm, you know? We had just done this crazy scene and he just went, Well, I just didn’t want to leave anything on the pitch.
I was like, You did not leave anything on the pitch, sir. No need to worry about that.
That’s the fortunate thing about this job. When good actors come in, they give their everything and the world, kind of supports it. Because it’s so life or death. It’s so extreme, this world. When great actors come in, they can do that. I love it. It’s thrilling for me to watch. It just makes my heart sing when I see great acting like that.
WS: It was just a powerful, powerful episode.
Well Andy, we’re going to try and connect with our first caller.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Cool.
WS: We’re going to get Jamie on the line. Eric is giving him a call, right now.
CALLER 1: Yeah?
WS: It’s James and Eric from the Walker Stalkers. You’re on with Andrew Lincoln.
C: Hey! Awesome! How’s everybody doing?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Alright. How are you Jamie?
C: Good. Good. I’m here on a nice snow day with my kids.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Well, so am I.
WS: Well Jamie, what’s you question for Andrew?
C: Well, my question…I actually had some help from my friend, Candace. So, our question is: How does he think Rick remains so headstrong in doing what needs to be done with the little girl in opening season one and in season two, where Sophia exited the barn? How did he prepare to act something like that out?
ANDREW LINCOLN: That’s a great question. I think Rick is one of those(and I’ve always thought this), pragmatic people. In that, I don’t think he knows he has those reserves in him until the events happen. Bear in mind, that was a flashback…a flash forward, in fact, the season and scene opener. We’re talking about the girl at the gas station, right?
C: Yes. Yes.
ANDREW LINCOLN: It is an incredibly distressing image. That’s all I wanted to do. Bear in mind, he is still of the mind in that first opening, that he still recognizes humanity. He’s seen the Walker, now called the Bicycle Walker, he almost executed her. He put her out of her misery. He said, I’m sorry this happened to you. He’s still associating with the humanity within the monster. So, I wanted that to be, still a conflict. And you know, certainly, it was kind of done for me. Greg Nicotero had done such a great job with the make up and the special effects on the girl. The preparing for that was, very, very odd. That was my first zombie kill in the whole show.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Yes. It was a different jump forward. The way I had to justify it was, Well, she was going to eat me. I mean, she was a small, it was a small monster, rather than a small child.
Then it was a double edge sword with Sophia, because I thought the make up was just beautiful. You know? I mean, she was still Sophia. You could catch her in the right light and you still saw the child. I think that is always the agony of playing Rick. Every kill has a terrible, lasting effect on him. But I think that one, certainly more than any other in the second season, was about a loss of hope. He held out so much hope for that girl and for the group. She epitomized everything about the future. To lose her, under those circumstances, was a much more emotional killing. With that death spelled the death of a lot of things and resonated in that group. I thought it was a phenomenal mid-season finale.
Well, Jamie. Thanks for your call. We appreciate it.
C: No problem. Thanks for your call. Thanks for letting me know. Thanks.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Cheers!
WS: Okay, Andy. The next caller we are getting on the line is Duncan. Eric is getting him on the phone now.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Good.
WS: Hey, you’re on with James and Eric, of the Walker Stalkers and Andrew Lincoln.
C: Hi guys. How you all doing?
WS: Doing great.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Good. Hello, Duncan. Are you at work?
C: Yeah. I’m at work. It’s a pleasure to talk with you. I hope things are well with you and your family.
ANDREW LINCOLN: They are. And yours?
C: Same here.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Great.
C: I was wondering, one of the big focuses of season three, so far, has been Rick’s descent into madness and reaching his mental breaking point…
ANDREW LINCOLN: Yeah.
C: Has the process of portraying this effected you, as the actor, mentally and physically?
ANDREW LINCOLN: I’ve gone very grey, Duncan. My wife will tell me and make up will tell me.
They do tend to put a lot of color in my beard. Yeah, I think it’s not unlike someone that goes in to government. Or President. You see people age before your very eyes. The role is incredibly demanding, physically and emotionally. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s one of the great attractions of playing Rick.
C: It’s funny that that happened. There is another famous Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln. When he entered office he had black hair, but by the time he was done, he was fully grey, as well.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Yeah, I think that’s going to be what it is here, Duncan. Unless I get eaten before the gruesome 2000 kicks in. I think it is one of those stressful worlds that he inhabits. This season has been traumatic and heavy going on so many levels. Losing Irony and Sarah has been a terrible blow.
C: For the viewers, too.
G: For the viewers, as well, and the cast and crew of the show. You know? We’re family in this show. Certainly, for Rick and Carl to lose a wife and a mother has had a profound effect on both of them. That pUESTrobably is the only upside. It has enabled the writers to form such an extraordinary journey for these two characters and the rest of the cast, as well. Certainly, I think that relationship, we are seeing getting closer and closer together. If you go back to season one, Rick hardly had a relationship with the boy. He felt that, for whatever reason, that his loyalties were with saving the group rather than a father and a son. The second season was very much about honoring that responsibility between a father and a son. The third season is realizing that without mom there, this boy will turn into a child solider. He knows where he’s gonna go. And so, you know, Rick comes back from the wilderness. I wouldn’t have it any other way, is the short answer. This is the dream role.
ANDREW LINCOLN: To play someone who, in three years, has moved so fast from the man he was to where he is now…Every actor wants to do that. Certainly, I do. I don’t want to play someone standing still. That’s one of the joys about doing this job. It keeps moving forward. It’s like a moving target. Hopefully, that’s going to keep people glued to the screen.
C: Well, it’s a very enthralling story. I think that, at this point, the viewers are fully captivated by the tale, itself and by everybody’s portrayal of their characters.
ANDREW LINCOLN: I’m like you, when I’m reading the script, I’m rooting for these characters. I feel close to them. Not only professionally, but personally. You just can’t help it. The nature of the filming is such that everyone is tight in this union, so that when you do lose someone, it’s heartbreaking. It’s hard in any aspect. No one wants to leave the show, as well. Because it is such a magical and special environment. You know?
WS: Well, Duncan, thank you so much for your call. We really appreciate it.
C: Your welcome.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Yes. Thank you, Duncan. Sorry to take you away from your work. What do you do?
C: Right now, I work in the shipping department selling muzzle loaders for a rifle.
I just want to say your consistent, stellar performances on the Walking Dead have really made the show. In my opinion, they couldn’t have done a better job than casting you, as Rick. So thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Thank you so much. That is incredibly kind of you to say.
C:It’s well deserved. Thanks for joining the podcast and James and Eric, thanks so much for providing such an excellent venue for fan interaction for the audience between the cast and crew. I really appreciate it.
WS: Thank you. Thank you, Duncan.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Alright Duncan.
WS: Okay. Well, I think we’re starting to run out of time with you before you have to pull away to your next interview.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Oh, I’m so sorry.
WS: That’s okay. We had a few more phone calls, but let’s just make sure that we get the end of the show right. So, here we go.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Well, let’s do it again. Let’s do it again.
WS: Oh, yeah. Definitely. We do talk on our show that it is our goal to be zombies. That’s one of our goals. A long term goal. Or maybe short term. Who knows?
WS: We know we have to slim down a little bit more to do that. But, we really excited about doing that. We’re talking to Greg Nicotero in a couple of weeks again. We’re just having a lot of fun with it and doing some bits on the show, but…
Do you have any advice for us about what it takes to become a Walker on the show? You’ve seen enough of them. What does it take?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Well, you’ve got to be hardcore. The people that play these Walkers are not your ordinary supporting artists. These people get up very, very early in the morning. For 4 hours, if you’re a featured Walker zombie, you’re going to be in make up for 4 hours. A lot of people think that is an attractive proposition. You know, if you like Greg Nicotero and the boys.
They are so committed. They are just as committed as any of us in the foreground. I find it incredibly touching when, if I have to use my Colt Python to kill a couple of Walkers, I’ve had people pick up the shell casing and ask me if I wouldn’t mind signing it for them.
It’s one of the weirdest traditions we’ve had on the show, but I find it strangely moving. That people want the signed shell casing.
You have to be able with the ticks and the heat. A lot of it is outdoors. A lot of it is mid-summer in Atlanta. If you’re not good with heat…If you’re not good with humidity, I would speak to your doctor.
WS: Well maybe one time, we’ll try it and maybe we’ll see you there and we’ll ask you to sign a shell casing for us.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Come on! Bring it on! It would be a pleasure!
WS: Thank you.
ANDREW LINCOLN: But, don’t bite me.
WS: No! I don’t wan’t to be the one that kills you on the show. No! I would live my life with hate mail.
ANDREW LINCOLN: You know what happened with the guy who killed my wife? I got a little over enthusiastic, I think.
Well, everybody that comes on the show we ask these last three questions. Since we are a Nashville City Music based show, we like to ask these three music related questions:
The first one: What’s your favorite musician or band? And you can’t say your father-in-law for brownie points with your wife.
ANDREW LINCOLN: I’m going to be in trouble? Are you going to get me in trouble? I can’t say that?
I don’t know, there’s too many. I don’t know. I love sweet soul music. There’s Marvin Gaye. There’s Prince. I dig Michael Jackson. I don’t know…if there were one…It would have to be Marvin Gaye.
WS: Marvin Gaye. That’s a sweet choice. We love that.
Okay, next question: What’s your favorite music concert you’ve ever been too?
ANDREW LINCOLN: It would have to be Glastonbury, but I can’t remember any of it. It was so good.
I can’t even remember which year it was! There we go. I think Coldplay might have been headlining. I’m not sure though…
Last question: Which singer or musician would make the best zombie on the show?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Oh,…ah,…oh,…I’m going to say Iggy Pop.
WS: Iggy Pop? That is a good one. That is a great one.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Come on. No make up required.
ANDREW LINCOLN: He’s a shoe in.
WS: That’s exactly right. Yep. It would make the job easy.
ANDREW LINCOLN: He would be the coolest zombie.
WS: He would be a very good zombie.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Do you think he’d do it?
WS: I don’t know. Jeesh, who wouldn’t want to be a Walker?
ANDREW LINCOLN: I’ve seen him live once and he was absolutely incredible. The energy out of that guy…I don’t know how old he is now, but it was astonishing. I think he’d be able to take the heat, as well.
ANDREW LINCOLN: He’d take the heat. He’d take the ticks, as well. He’d probably scare the ticks away. He’s hardcore.
Yeah. Iggy Pop.
WS: Well, Andy, we want to thank you so much for coming on the show. For every guest on the show, we kinda do a character theme. So we’ll do a Rick Grimes/Andrew Lincoln Walking Dead song at the intro. We did Led Zepplin for Greg Nicotero. Oh man, we’ve done a song for everybody. Do you have a song or an artist that you’d like us to re-create and make a spoof song with?
ANDREW LINCOLN: Yeah. Can you…cause I listen to them a lot…the Black Keys: She’s Long Gone.
WS: Oh yeah! Awesome! We can do that one. We can do that one.
ANDREW LINCOLN: I listen to that one. That helped me get the swagger going for Rick Grimes.
WS: There you go. Alright.
Andy, thank you so much. We really appreciate just how generous you were with your time today.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Oh, no. It’s a pleasure. We must do it again, as well. There is nothing, nothing I like more than just having direct contact with the fans.
WS: That’s what we’ll do. Next time we get you on, we’ll just do a full half hour of nothing but fan phone calls.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Let’s just do that. Let’s just call people. That would be great.
WS: We’ll do it. We’ll do it.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Let’s call all these people at work.
WS: Let’s wake them up! Let’s call and wake them up!
ANDREW LINCOLN: At a really unhelpful hour! At 2 a.m. in the morning.
WS: Well, thanks so much and you have a great day and we look forward to the rest of the season.
ANDREW LINCOLN: Okay. Take care and we’ll speak again soon.
WS: You, too. Bye, bye.