INTERVIEW: Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) from The Walking Dead

November 18th, 2012 by

lauren cohan

The Walking Dead has been so great this season, as well as being incredibly gory (I have to watch through my hands over my eyes sometimes, I’m not ashamed to admit it) and intense. The gang has found what they thought was a safe spot in the prison but they’ve learned the hard way that it’s not as safe as it may seem. A couple weeks ago, there were some huge deaths and Lori’s baby was born, leaving the crew to pick up the pieces and care for a new life. I recently had the chance to chat with Lauren Cohan (who plays Maggie) about *that* death/birth scene with Lori and Carl, the inevitable meeting with the Governor and the challenges of playing someone who has seen the best and worst of humanity.

The Walking Dead has been amazing this season and quite brutal, so I really want to know first and foremost, what it was like filming the scene with Carl and Lori…
That was really not an easy scene to do but it was, I don’t even know. It was pretty much what you can imagine. Lori has that belly and I’m literally cutting a fake knife. We had a prop baby inside, a plastic, rubber baby inside of her, which I pull out and then we switch it over to a real baby and we have the real baby covered in yogurt and jam to look like the afterbirth and the blood and everything. And so, none of us can eat yogurt ever again, and we smell strawberry jam and it just brings back flooding memories of a really traumatic event. But I’d say Chandler and I feel like brother and sister now. If there’s one way to bring two people together, it’s that. He’s such an amazing kid, I’m completely in awe of him. He’s amazing and he’s so professional and we really went through something. When you get the opportunity to tell these stories, it really touches you deep down and I don’t think you’re ever the same afterwards and I’m really grateful for that.

Were you surprised when you read the scene?
I cried my flipping eyes out. I could hardly get through it. Surprise, among a lot of other feelings and that script, the whole shooting of that script — before, during, after, everything — there was so much somberness but also we know these things never come without good reason and without a lot of good story planned from, to go beyond it. So, I don’t know, The Walking Dead writers I think are really making TV history right now and I just am so glad to be a part of that and you look at this post apocalyptic thing and of course you’re going to have these dangers, and of course you’re going to have home births and rudimentary medical skills and equipment and everything that comes with that. So I just think it was an amazing story idea and just so tragic.

Now that there’s this baby and no mom, how is your role in the group going to change?
Yeah, the baby really becomes sort of the group’s baby. My role in the group changes. I definitely take on a lot more responsibility now and you see everybody step up. You see all of the women step up, because nobody has these cut and dry male/female roles anyway. So yeah, my role definitely changes. We have to find a way to feed the little baby and it’s the strangest thing because we’re working with twins and so the mom’s on set and the grandmother’s on set and it’s just the most surreal experience — doing everything that we do and every fourth scene, somebody’s holding a newborn infant.

Around zombies…
Yeah. Around zombies, yeah! And it’s actually so nice because everyone on set gets so soft when the baby’s around and everybody wants to hold the baby and I’m sure half the crew is now trying to get pregnant. It’s really soothing, it’s actually really healing to have her.

What have you found to be the challenges of playing this person who has really witnessed the worst of humanity and kind of the best too, but really just terrible things.
Yeah. You’re right. The worst and the best, isn’t it? With the group you see people taking leadership because they have to and making hard decisions because they have to and once they meet Woodbury, we see people doing bad things because they get the chance to, which is a really stark contrast and I guess overall, it just makes me feel like sort of honored because all the modern distractions are taken away, and it’s really just fundamental humanity and that question of trust and what makes us human is going to be a really strong theme this season. And there’s no way that that doesn’t affect you in your own life and so instead of spending your day thinking about whatever you might do in the normal world, it’s all simplified to the bigger questions and to trust and love and support and all of those things. So The Walking Dead, it’s kind of a spiritual experience.

Last season, in the farmhouse, the group found a little bit of peace. Do you think that’s ever going to be possible again? Do you think the whole point of the show is for them to find peace or do you think you lose something when they find peace?
Yeah, that’s an interesting point because in the farmhouse, the season had a lot slower pace, in a nice way, too. I think it gave you the chance to get to know the new family, the new group of characters. And you get this season, both of those, because they find the prison, and then it’s not safe and then it is safe, and then it’s not safe, and you kind of vacillate between Woodbury and the prison. But no, I don’t think everything will ever be cut and dry but I think we’ll have moments and those moments will give us time to get to know the characters because that’s what makes the show so great. It’s the balance. And I think that’s what season three has hit so perfectly is the balance. And what’s interesting and what I think people aren’t going to realize is there’s actually what feels like more character moments in season three. But it’s contrasted so well with the intense violence and gore. But I definitely feel for Maggie. I’ve had so much more developments of relationships with different people on the show and you get to see the Greene family and Glenn coming into the Greene family and their beautiful relationship. It’s still a family drama in so many senses. Uncle Rick…It’s just a slightly warped family drama. Uncle Rick and Uncle Darryl.

What are we going to see from Maggie and Glenn going forward?
You’re going to see a lot. It’s a good year for Maggie and Glenn. It’s good because it’s got a bucket load of ups and downs. They’re a young couple falling in love. I think for both of them experiencing first love and everything that comes with that, but I have to say, it’s such a joy being past these first few episodes because I couldn’t say anything. What happens? I don’t remember! But we see bad, bad news from Woodbury. Bad news for everybody. Challenging news from Woodbury. Challenges for Maggie and Glenn, from the Governor and his people and we see everything goes upside down. It’s great.

More guard tower moments? (laughs)
Oh yeah, a couple of those! We all need some relief, right?

Both comic and otherwise.

They deserve some love.
Yeah. I loved how funny that scene played when everybody shouted up to the guard tower and they were like “But they were just there yesterday.”

Obviously you mentioned it a little bit, but what can you tease about the inevitable meeting with the Governor?
The Governor…

He’s creepy.
He’s so creepy! He’s so creepy! And you haven’t even seen the last of it. What I find creepiest about him is that he’s really easy to love. He’s very easy to love. The chemistry between him and Andrea, and when he leans on the door frame and you think he’s going to kiss her and you completely fall in love with this man and I think that’s what’s fascinating about this governor is that he takes the apocalypse as the opportunity to manipulate and do a lot of bad or to let his inner bad out. And I think that’s really exciting imagining him and imagining any of us at our day jobs before this all went down. And we do get some governor back story, but I don’t know. It’s just that sense that you feel for everyone in this and you get to sort of pick and choose who you would be and how you would behave. I guess that’s the appeal.

His colony is very interesting in the way that they work…
In some ways, it’s so civilized but it’s so uncivilized. Contrasted with us, who are really trying to be diplomatic even though Rick says it’s not a democracy anymore and then we try to become more democratic in season three. We’re living in a prison and we’re living in a prison wearing the same clothes for a year. (laughs) But we are actually more civilized. So you have that great contrast of Woodbury’s contradiction with us. Nobody has that much choice. It does sort of take you back to the beginning of time, with how the baby’s born on one end to not pissing out your leader on another end, and kind of trying to manage the crazy.

Definitely. And what would you like to see going forward for Maggie?
I’m definitely interested to see, from what I know that’s coming in this season and the hard choices that have to be made, and then it’s just kind of the good of the individual versus the whole and at what point is there no such thing, really. There is no line anymore between the individual and the whole, and Maggie plays a big part in those decisions and in those questions. But on the very literal level, I’m just excited to see the development of relationships and the new people coming in. We have Michonne and everybody becomes part and parcels of each other’s group. Aside from the stuff I know that’s coming for Maggie, I’m just so excited to get to know the character this year and for her to step up to her potential. Maggie’s a very strong chick and it’s all tested this year. As it is for everybody.

And her dad’s still there.
She was already ready to say goodbye and there’s this reward that has been granted for some reason and I think the reward is telling the group they are doing something right. They’re still alive and there’s got to be a reason for that. But it’s that question of humanity.

For sure. That seems to be this whole season especially, discovering humanity. I feel that Carl is going through that as well.
I think what these characters are really learning is to stay in the moment. They’re all in Alcoholics Anonymous, living day by day. Taking it one day at a time.

And I loved your role in The Vampire Diaries, do you think you might make another appearance in Mystic Falls anytime soon?
Yeah! You never know. If there was some good message for Rose to impart, then I’d love to.

I think she needs to tell Elena what’s up! And to choose the right guy. (laughs)
She needs to tell Elena what’s up, right? Poor Elena, that’s just not an easy decision to make. You know we all live across the street from each other now. But we literally live between two apartment complexes that are both across the road from each other, it’s hysterical.

Lastly, if you had to give a teaser of what we can expect from the next few episodes?
You’re going to start to see a crossover between Woodbury and the prison and you’re going to get to see the softer side of Darryl Dixon. And of course you’re going to get to see amazingness from Maggie and Glenn.

Be sure to tune in tonight at 9 PM to AMC for an all new episode of The Walking Dead.

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