Taking place ten years after the end of civilisation, the latest addition to The Walking Dead franchise, The Walking Dead: World Beyond is a very different show than we’re used to. We spoke to Julia Ormond, who plays Elizabeth in the show, about killing zombies and Doctor Who…
What can you tell us about your character Elizabeth in The Walking Dead: World Beyond?
She is a leader of a very strong community. She’s pretty intimidating I guess, to other people… She’s definitely on the pragmatist side – or apparently. [Laughs] For me, ‘pragmatist’ as a character, I think that becomes very intimidating when that take on the world is played by a woman, because it’s just not traditionally female colours.
Elizabeth’s team of zombie killers look like they know what they are doing…
Yeah. We know what we’re doing but I think it’s that separation. We’ve worked out how to obliterate people, but have we worked out how to save them yet? [There’s been a] step back for so many characters in The Walking Dead to a much simpler life that doesn’t have access to modern things, but to see this lot flying in a helicopter says a lot about them.
What stories and themes are thrown up by the generational divide between the characters?
It asks is the older generation’s approach not good enough because they’ve settled for an approach that is harsh? Is there something about the innocence of their youth, is there something about them starting the journey again that gives us another opportunity for the human race to do it differently, and better?
After seeing the walkers on screen, how was your experience of seeing them in the flesh for the first time?
(Laughs) Oh, god, is was surreal… They’re slightly different in this version because they’re ten years on and so there’s a different level of decay to them. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say I do actually get to kill one, or take one out, as it were. The crew have been doing it for so long that… they just assumed that I would know what I should do!
Over the years The Walking Dead has attracted such amazing actors – what is it about it that draws actors like yourself in?
I saw lots of performances [in The Walking Dead] that were compelling, so that reassures you that you’re either going to be given that opportunity in terms of script, or you’re going to be given that space to get there on set, because sometimes TV filming can be quite tight… There’s something about the basic story of Walking Dead, the basic apocalypse story, that the drama, every episode, is about how you live your life to the best, how you get through life-threatening circumstances. It’s not like Doctor Who, but Doctor Who has that. Every episode is saving the world. It’s not just a cop story, are we going to find the person who did it – not that that isn’t great too – but it’s just at a different level of consequence…
The Walking Dead: World Beyond is available now on Prime Video.