Eye on Emmy: Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln Reveals How Snow Patrol Helped Him Mourn Lori, Explains Barring Sarah Wayne Callies from Set

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andrew lincoln walking deadIf there were an Emmy category for rawness, Andrew Lincoln wouldn’t just be under consideration for a nomination, he’d be the frontrunner for the win. The work the actor did on AMC’s The Walking Dead this past season as grieving Sheriff Rick Grimes felt so real that, at times, it was difficult to watch. (He didn’t even watch himself!) Here, the 39-year-old Englishman opens up about how he approached his widowed character’s breakdown and whether he thinks Emmy voters will be able to overcome their genre bias to give him and his hit cable series a chance.

RELATED | Walking Dead‘s Andrew Lincoln on New Romance for Rick: ‘[Spoiler] Would Be Deeply Upset’

TVLINE | It was such an intense season for you. How did you recover and wind down after playing all of that rage and desolation?
It is a brutal and dark place you have to inhabit, but I’m very good at disengaging. And there’s no better way to unplug than having children. Changing diapers is one of the most leveling things that has ever happened to me. Realizing that my children are the center of the universe and not me is probably one of the greatest ways to acclimatize.

wdTVLINE | Your former leading lady, Sarah Wayne Callies [who plays Lori, his TV wife], told me last fall, “When Andrew goes down the rabbit hole, he goes all the way down.” What did she mean exactly?
I love acting. I just love it. It’s in my bones. I remember when I was a kid, I watched an interview with Dennis Hopper talking about Jimmy Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause. Jimmy said to him, “If you’ve got to cry in a scene, you’ve got to cry. Make it real.” And that’s all that I believe in.

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TVLINE | Sarah also mentioned that you didn’t want her on the set the day you shot the big scene where Rick learns Lori died. Why?
Because she [had already been killed off]. A lot of it is about feeling relaxed enough to make mistakes, or to look like a fool, or to dare to go to a place that I wouldn’t necessarily go to. Maybe I was a bit self-conscious with Sarah being there and not wanting to turn that scene into a spectator’s sport. I admire her so much as an actress, and I was so upset about losing her as [a costar] that I just wanted to do it justice — do her justice.

TVLINE | How did you gear up mentally for that scene?
I just took myself away for a couple of hours while they were setting up and listened to a song and got into a place that wasn’t very happy.

TVLINE | What song were you listening to?
It was Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright’s “Set the Fire to the Third Bar.” Don’t listen to it. You might end up collapsing. [Laughs]

PHOTOS | The Walking Dead: 15 Most Memorable Moments of Season 3

walking-dead-carl-rick-chandler-riggs-andrew-lincoln-season-3-finale-amcTVLINE | Your TV son Chandler Riggs [Carl] played a big role in that scene. He essentially telegraphs the news to Rick about Lori’s death. What was it like playing a scene like that with, essentially, a child?
Chandler Riggs is just the most intuitive, wise boy; he’s a wonderful actor. And as a father, as a human being, you just see that. [Rick getting] confirmation from [Carl that Lori died] broke me. I spoke to the director and said, “I think it’s vital that this guy that’s been so stoic and the linchpin of this group needs to drop his gun. And you need to see him fall to the ground. I think you need to see him taken down by this news.” This is a man whose instincts to survive have been driven primarily by two people — and one of those people is dead. It’s like taking his balance away.

TVLINE | Why do you think the Emmys have been slow to embrace the show?
I don’t really think about it too much, in all honesty. It was [former exec producer] Frank [Darabont] and everybody at AMC’s intention to elevate the genre. As soon as I mention the word “genre,” people make an [assumption], don’t they? It never occurred to me that this would be a genre show. I think this is a family drama set in Hell. That’s what I see it as. It just so happens that there are zombies. I absolutely understand that this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but all I would urge people to do is give it a chance. There’s some incredibly bold storytelling.

TVLINE | Should you find yourself with a nomination, is there an episode you are personally proud of?
You’d have to tell me. I don’t actually watch the show.

TVLINE | Really? You didn’t even watch your big breakdown scene?
No. I kind of know what happened — I was sort of in it. [Laughs] I kind of thought, you know, when I was on my knees wailing, “Well, I left everything on the ballpark here.”

This story first appeared in the pages of TVLine’s print sibling Awards|Line. The specialty Awards|Line editions canvass various facets of the Emmy and motion pictures awards season including deep coverage, analysis and interviews with the leading contenders and industry players.

Comments (47)

  • Lori died? l thought she just dumped them with the baby and left. How did l miss this?

    Comment by JJC (@GizmoAries93) – June 24, 2013 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Please tell me you’re kidding!!

      Comment by MrMank – June 24, 2013 09:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This has to be a joke.

      Comment by wrstlgirl – June 24, 2013 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They had to do a c section with no anesthesia. She died & Carl shot her so she wouldn’t turn.

      Comment by lostinacastle – June 24, 2013 09:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m guessing you missed the part where her belly was sliced open and then she was eaten by a zombie.

      Comment by D'Arcy – June 24, 2013 09:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • her belly was cut open, but wasn’t eaten by a zombie. carl shot her in the head. and he walk out mad.

        Comment by brianna – June 24, 2013 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Yes she was eaten by a walker? When rick returned to where she died, he saw only a trail of blood. When he follows the blood trail he see a walker laying against the wall with a huge belly which indicates that he ate her.

          Comment by Rasmus Strömqvist – June 24, 2013 06:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • man! didn’t recognize that

            Comment by jyoti m – June 24, 2013 08:20 PM PDT  
          • I’m guessing this show doesn’t air on Lifetime….

            Comment by Brendan – June 24, 2013 10:34 PM PDT  
          • Also her hair was hanging out of that zombies mouth, which i thought was a nice touch.

            Comment by Ari – June 25, 2013 06:47 AM PDT  
        • Yes Carl shot her but then a zombie ate her!!!!! How can u forget when Rick finds the bloated zombie and proceeds to stab it then shoot it in the mouth!!

          Comment by Brett – July 18, 2013 05:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • you are kidding

      Comment by richard – June 24, 2013 02:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • What??

      Comment by Hope Constance – June 24, 2013 03:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I don’t understand how you people don’t know what happened?Do you really watch the show?

        Comment by Hope Constance – June 24, 2013 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seriously?!?

      Comment by Kendra – June 24, 2013 03:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • U kidding right? There’s no way you watch this show.

      Comment by Ricky – June 25, 2013 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been craving a Walking Dead marathon for weeks. Wish AMC would run one :-)

    Comment by wrstlgirl – June 24, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 4th of July weekend. They are having a complete marathon.

      Comment by Carter – June 24, 2013 10:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • YAY!!

        Comment by Wrstlgirl – June 24, 2013 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Awesome! I deleted the third season from my DVR because I needed the space but I miss it!

        Comment by phamster – June 25, 2013 06:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You can watch season 3 on Solarmovie.so I watch it all the time! =)

          Comment by Deb – June 25, 2013 10:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I do too. I was hoping they would have one around the 4th of July holiday like they did last year. I have the DVDs for Seasons 1 & 2 and still have Season 3 on the DVR, but having it on AMC makes it special. Come on AMC, help us out!!!!!

      Comment by Sally – June 24, 2013 05:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Apparently, I should have read a little further on. I guess I’m getting what I wished for. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!

        Comment by Sally – June 24, 2013 06:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I know right season three^_^

      Comment by Jenni Peña – June 24, 2013 06:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hearing Snow Patrol always puts me in a bad place.

    Comment by Allan – June 24, 2013 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such an underrated actor. I know he must have strong competition in the drama category, even with other actors I love and find amazing (who said Bryan Cranston?^^) but that scene was incredible. And I was not fond of Carl in s1 and 2 but despite how the character is written, the actor has been particulary good lately.

    Comment by Azerty – June 24, 2013 09:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Would love to see Lincoln take a nomination this year, and I wouldn’t be sad to see him win either, although I’m a big Bryan Cranston fan too!

    Comment by Mik – June 24, 2013 10:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He certainly deserves a nom, not so sure about winning though.

    Comment by Mike R. – June 24, 2013 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I definitely believe he deserves I win not just a nomination. He’s a phenomenal actor.

    Comment by Gypsy woman – June 24, 2013 03:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andrew Lincoln is an amazing actor and the heart and soul of the show. He definitely deserves an EMMY nom/win. His breakdown was just heartbreaking in S3 episode 4.

    Comment by Poppy – June 24, 2013 03:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree he deserves both a nomination and a win. His work has always been outstanding (as has the entire show) and I just don’t get the bias against this type of show. A good drama is a good drama and it shouldn’t matter that the setting is a bit different. Everything has been first-rate on this show and it’s time for some recognition. Andy Lincoln’s portrayal this year was emotionally wrenching and I say it deserves an Emmy, Golden Globe and any other type of positive recognition it/he can get!!!!!!!

      Comment by Sally – June 24, 2013 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with his comment about this not being (necessarily) a genre show. What pulls me in is the personal drama, the pathos of it all. To me, the walkers are in the background. True that they direct the action because everything is basically in response to their presence, but in the forefront is the human experience in the midst of it all.

    Comment by Babygate – June 24, 2013 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When I read the headline I thought “Set the fire to the headline” is the most devastating song from Snow Patrol. And it is! At least for Andrew Lincoln and me.

    Comment by Tinemi – June 24, 2013 06:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yay!!! I thought of “set fire to the third bar” as well and there it was I may actual <3 Rick's character a little now instead of being a hopeless Darryl, Michonne and Maggie addict.

      Comment by DMM 4Life – July 6, 2013 12:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOVE TWD they should be nominated after all the events that went down on S3.
    Andrew lincoln deserves to get the best actor for drama award along w/ Charlie hunnum 4rm S.O.A …………2 HOT BRITISH GUYS………. i like to watch!

    Comment by Ashley – June 25, 2013 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andrew Lincoln had a brilliant performance on S3. it would be nice if Emmy voters
    recognize this. He totally deserves a nom.

    Comment by t86 – June 25, 2013 09:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • TWD is the best show on tv and how anyone can watch it and miss the fact that Lori DIED and was eaten after being shot in the head by her SON is NOT a true fan of the show!!! Smh. It was the single most important moment of the season. It set the stage for the rest of the episodes. Why do you think Rick was going crazy seeing visions of her all over the place. DUH!!

    Comment by Amber Elliott – June 26, 2013 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andrew Lincoln you are so sensitive,have incredible depth in your acting..You deserve a Emmy and I hope they recognize that…awesome spell binding acting..can’t wait for more of season 3..you so deserve a nomination..God bless.

    Comment by billye armentrout – June 26, 2013 08:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I so love this show. I have never wanted to see a show so much as I do this one. I missed a few of the last episodes of season 3 do to moving around. I can’t wait to buy the DVDs. I can not WAIT for season 4!

    Comment by Corrine – June 26, 2013 09:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ok, kool, but I have one HUGE gripe, and that i this. Walkers do not eat bones…so where in the hell is Loris skeletal remains????? that’s the biggest bone I have to pick last year with one exception. The governor had to have been bitten he was surrounded 6 deep in that warehouse….so when does he turn

    Comment by Sharon – June 26, 2013 09:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We’re so addicted to this show that every couple months we’ll spend an entire weekend watching the Season 1 & 2. Can’t wait till fall.

    Comment by Mima – June 26, 2013 09:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • im surprised that Andrew doesn’t actually watch the show, yes he knows whats happening but watching it also shows ppl where they can make improvements & feel the way the audience might feel. I am such a dead addict that I have a huge 24×24 poster in my room and im 41! my kids were wondering where they were going to put the pix they make me!lolol I also have one of Darryl. I would love one of the whole main cast together…

    Comment by janet – June 26, 2013 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • everyone has done such a great job on the show, its awesome! thank you all for giving it your heart &soul& may god bless you & keep you & your families.

    Comment by janet – June 26, 2013 10:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t want to watch for a long time (zombies aren’t my thing) but then watched the entire series in like 2 weeks! So addicting, and they are all such good actors, and when Lori died, and Carl shot her, then Rick found out, and the way they wrote Merle out actually had me sad. Such a turnaround, only to die and turn, and Daryl had to put him down. It’s gonna be hard when they finally comeback to wait a week between episodes!

    Comment by Viv – June 26, 2013 10:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think an interesting way to start the fourth season and to see all of our favorite characters just one more time would be a whole episode dream sequence. The season would start back in the field on the farm with Rick and Shane, but instead of Shane dying Rick does and from there show how Shane would lead the group. The wicked twist could be Lori surviving the birth of the baby, but the raid on the prison going horribly wrong because of Shane’s inability to lead rationally. The only survivors would be Lil Ass Kicker and Daryl, because you don’t kill off Daryl. BUT that would mean the end of the series, can’t have that, so Rick wakes up in cell block C with all the new people, it was a dream.

    Comment by MagWick – June 26, 2013 11:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the TV series “The Walking Dead” is the only TV series that sparked my interest is not experienced and I’m glad that Rick was alive and that he was destined togather his group and become a leader in it! Lincoln has too good a role he plays Rick’s amazing police man, with great human qualities, character …! I’m sorry Lori, Rick’s wife, she is awesome … I really do not want that Rick’s team died but despite the fact that Lori died in childbirth, she still with Rick and I’d like to get acquainted with the actors in real :) with Lori, P especially with Rick, Glenn Mazara, Lori’s son Carl … with the whole Rick’s team just for so nice communication :)

    Comment by Yuliana Demidovskaya – June 26, 2013 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Zombies aren’t my thing too, but this TV series sparked me interests which experienced so much…so much!!! I’d like to meet with actors so much and wish them prosperity in their career and family well-being (^^)

      Comment by Yuliana Demidovskaya – June 26, 2013 05:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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