INTERVIEW: The Walking Dead’s Melissa McBride talks Carol’s journey
After a winter break spent wondering what would happen after Alexandria’s walls fell in the midseason finale, The Walking Dead has finally returned to FOX.
The Walking Dead has not been known for the longevity of characters, and yet one woman – Carol Peletier – has exceeded all expectations. Still alive and [fiercely] kicking in season six, Carol has transformed from a victim of domestic abuse to a powerful and valuable member of Rick’s group.
We spoke to actor Melissa McBride at The Walking Dead fan convention Walker Stalker in London about the transformation of Carol from season one to present, what’s still to come in season six, and what she would personally like to see in the future for her character.
Carol’s probably been on the biggest journey on The Walking Dead. What can we expect from the next half season?
Carol and other characters from The Walking Dead have more transitions to make and more changes to be had. I feel like I’ve always played all these different evolutions of Carol, but it all feels like her.
Was that mapped out for you at an early stage?
Not at all, no. Nothing is ever really mapped out, it’s just a really general arc.
It seemed to be that the turning point was the death of her daughter.
There’s so many turning points. There is the loss of Ed. Can you imagine pig axeing his head? Literally having it in your hand and making contact with another human head – and that’s her husband. That’s a huge thing, whether she thought about it at that moment or not. It certainly had some psychological effect. And then every other life she takes. And then seeing her daughter dead. And then having to put down Lizzie. And seeing the horrible innocent brutality that Lizzie put on her sister Mika just because she doesn’t know better. Everything is a turning point.
You mentioned Mica. “The Grove” I remember had an incredible impact on a load of people. Was that an especially difficult episode to film?
It was very uncomfortable. I loved the episode. It was a beautiful episode for what it was, and it fit so well within that world.
What is it like being involved in some of the biggest action scenes?
It’s been a lot of fun. As an actor it’s fun to be able to carry out these choreographed big explosions. It’s fun for me because Carol is just so unlikely… it’s like me. It’s Carol, it’s not Rambo, it’s Carol. To me she’s just like this lady in the neighbourhood, this housewife, Carol.
In the comic, Carol died a long time ago –
Yes, she did. What is it like not knowing the future of your character like other actors?
Well it’s easy for me to say well it’s a little like life, you never know. But there’s logistics. It’s exciting in a way, not knowing. Scott Gimple doesn’t give me much at all, but I don’t want too much. But then other times I’m like man I wish you’d told me that, I could have put another layer of something in there if I’d known.
Carol was abandoned by Rick a long time ago, do you think this is still important for her?
I think she’s past that because of her experience because that happened and knowing that she could take care of herself if she needed to. I think she’d be okay if that happened again.
It changed her.
It did. That was another turning point. But yeah, I mean, she hasn’t killed Morgan. [Laughs]
What would you want for Carol in the future?
I think… a really nice dinner out. [Laughs]