Emmys

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

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.

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

  2. wrstlgirl says:

    I’ve been craving a Walking Dead marathon for weeks. Wish AMC would run one :-)

  3. Allan says:

    Hearing Snow Patrol always puts me in a bad place.

  4. Azerty says:

    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.

  5. Mik says:

    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!

  6. Mike R. says:

    He certainly deserves a nom, not so sure about winning though.

  7. Gypsy woman says:

    I definitely believe he deserves I win not just a nomination. He’s a phenomenal actor.

  8. Poppy says:

    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.

    • Sally says:

      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!!!!!!!

  9. Babygate says:

    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.

  10. Tinemi says:

    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.

    • DMM 4Life says:

      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.

  11. Ashley says:

    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!

  12. t86 says:

    Andrew Lincoln had a brilliant performance on S3. it would be nice if Emmy voters
    recognize this. He totally deserves a nom.

  13. Amber Elliott says:

    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!!

  14. 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.

  15. Corrine says:

    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!

  16. Sharon says:

    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

  17. Mima says:

    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.

  18. janet says:

    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…

  19. janet says:

    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.

  20. Viv says:

    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!

  21. MagWick says:

    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.

  22. 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 :)

    • 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 (^^)

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