The Walking Dead back with a vengeance

Andrew Lincoln plays sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes in the zombie drama The Walking Dead.

Andrew Lincoln plays sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes in the zombie drama The Walking Dead.

EXCLUSIVE: 

As the series The Walking Dead returns for its fifth season, fans are eager to know the fate of some of the show's most beloved characters who were last seen being held against their will in a train. British star Andrew Lincoln, who plays former sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes, sat down with Jenny Cooney Carrillo to answer a few questions despite being sworn to secrecy about what is set to happen next.

TV Guide: Where does the fifth season begin?

Andrew: I think if we're allowed to show even 70 per cent of what we shot in the opening scene, people are going to be absolutely terrified and shocked. We do something that is very rare. This crew has seen a lot of very disturbing scenes over the past four seasons but even they were shocked. It was so intense. We start in a very dangerous place.

Are you surprised what a phenomenon this show has become worldwide?

We began as a shot in the dark and we thought if we could get away with this zombie survival horror story it could be something that would capture people's imagination. I've been fortunate in my career but nothing has ever come close to what has happened with this show and now it feels like we have a responsibility to tell this story for the fans too.

Did you ever imagine you would be famous as a zombie killer?

I'm a classically trained theatre actor so I seriously considered changing agents when, after 19 years of working, he said, 'It's time for zombies'. But now I understand it's not really a zombie story, it's a story about survival and that's a universal theme so I can dare to look ridiculous.

You have said the first three episodes this season are the best so far. Why?

I think because we left the show at a cliffhanger. A lot of the seasons we've begun before have been almost a recap of 'Where are the characters now?'. We don't have to do that this time so we hit the ground running and we are juggling 14 or 15 principal characters' story arcs in those three episodes. But I don't want to say any more because I might get electrocuted.

How different is Rick after everything he has gone through?

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Last season he was a man trying to dial himself back in and restrain himself for the sake of his son. Now I think losing Hershel (Scott Wilson) was an incredibly important factor in his evolution into this new Rick and as much as I miss Scott on set, it's meant to feel like an absence for Rick too. He's a man without his moral anchor but also a man that has no doubt any more about who he has to be to survive. He's very much accepted that his brutality, the barbarian within him, is just as much a reason why he's the leader and still alive at this point in time so this season you see a man who is very much at the height of his powers I think.

How tough is it to film on location in Georgia?

Come on, it's fun. It's an adventure. I'm 41 years old now and I still have the head of an 18 year old and I've always wanted to be a cowboy ever since I watched The Magnificent Seven, so to get to be this cowboy is a dream. Unfortunately, I feel my age in my knees and the rest of my body is starting to creak a little bit in the mornings but we all want to make a great show so there is pride even if you're having a rough day and the ticks are biting you and you're lightheaded from the heat. You want to make the best story you can, for the fans and for yourself.

Do you enjoy killing the zombies? Do you remember the first one?

I seem to be smashing zombies' heads quite a lot this season. I think I'm allowed to say that but I'll always remember my first kill. It was at the gas station and I spent the whole morning trying to prepare for this traumatic experience of killing this zombie girl and she said, 'Oh, grow up, this is the third zombie I've played' and she made it a lot easier.

 - TV Guide

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