Wednesday, February 19, 2014

INTERVIEW: Actor Scott Wilson looks back with TV STORE ONLINE at AMC's The Walking Dead

Veteran actor Scott Wilson talks about bringing "Hershel Greene" to life on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead...

TV STORE ONLINE:   Now that The Walking Dead has returned from mid-season hiatus....It was quite the shock to see Hershel's severed zombie head a couple episodes ago...Was that a strange thing to see for you?

   I didn't know what to think about that...laughing    Hershel's gone now but I'm so glad that the fans of the show really embraced him for the time that he was on the show.  

TV STORE ONLINE:   It seems like the fans have really become interested in some of your past work too, like in the films IN COLD BLOOD (1967) and THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980)...

WILSON:  Right, Yeah, it's been really great in that way.

TV STORE ONLINE:   What was your favorite moment from this current season?

WILSON:   I have a lot of moments that I'm fond of from this season.  I really liked the speech I got to do as Hershel in Episode 3 from this season and I really liked getting the opportunity to watch the actors evolve over the last three years that I've gotten to work with them too.  That would probably be my favorite aspect of working on the show....It would probably be just getting the opportunity to work with such  amazing actors, and working with all of the amazing directors and directors of photography and make-up artists on the show.  Everyone that works on The Walking Dead is just wonderful.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Speaking of Walking Dead alumni....Did you see Martin Scorsese's THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013) yet?

WILSON:  I did.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Wasn't Jon Bernthal great in WOLF?

WILSON:  He was.  He was really terrific.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Do you have that one favorite episode from Season 2 or 3 or from this latest season?  Which would be your favorite and why?

WILSON:   Well...How can I overlook Episode 5 from this season?  It's mainly dedicated to Hershel.  It was so much fun and it was a challenge.   Hershel was very proactive and reactive in that one.
TV STORE ONLINE:   How do you think that Hershel had progressed from Season 2?   How had he grown as a character and how did you find him as the actor that brought him to life?

WILSON:  I found him through the scripts.   Before I had came on board in Season 2 I had read eight scripts in advance. Also, wardrobe plays a huge part in a character for me as well.  I spent a lot of time thinking about Hershel's attire, and I worked with the costume designer using that approach.

Also, [Executive Producers] Frank Darabont and Gale Ann Hurd had some very specific ideas about who Hershel was too.   I think a look is very important to any character.   I've always taken that approach for any of the characters that I've played even going back to my first film IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967).  
TV STORE ONLINE:   Fans of the show have been very vocal about their love of the Norman Reedus character "Daryl Dixon", but Hershel has to be right up near the top after Daryl as the fan favorite character...What do you think it is about Hershel that has resonated with the audience of The Walking Dead?

WILSON:  I think that Hershel is like everyone's grandfather, or father, or older brother, or uncle and I think he reminds everyone of someone or he represents someone that people would like to have in their lives.   It's interesting for me, because, all you can do is play the character from your gut and hopefully people will respond to it.

Being on The Walking Dead was an interesting experience for me as an actor...While it's a very cinematic show, the character doesn't have a arc like he would in a movie or in play. With something like The Walking Dead you don't experience the full character in one evening.  The arc comes across several scripts or across three seasons.  

You'll see a line in the script that you hope will pay dividends down the road in a later episode of the series, so you'll use it as a way to plant a seed in the hopes that it will bare fruit later on down the road in another episode that you'll shoot, and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. It was really fun in that way. Between the second and third seasons, I decided that I'd let my hair and beard grow out until we started shooting again.  I thought that I could just cut my hair if there was no time lapse between those seasons, but it turned out that there was in fact a lapse in time, and I thought that in doing that, it really gave Hershel something interesting.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Have you heard from the fans of the show in regards to your character's departure?

WILSON:  Sure.  I've had fans come up to me and say, "I cried when they killed you" or "I'm so sorry that they killed you."  It's been really nice, and it's very interesting too, because it is a little like going to your own funeral in a way.