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Outtakes Online: Callies on her ‘Walking Dead’ demise
BY MIKE GORDON / email@example.com
It’s not uncommon for actors on AMC’s popular series “The Walking Dead” to learn that a character will die while reading the script for an episode that’s about to be shot. Typically that means they only have a few days to prepare for an emotional moment.
But Hawaii’s Sarah Wayne Callies, who played a character that was central to the moral questions asked on the zombie thriller, said she had months to prepare. Her role as Lori Grimes came to an end during a bloody emergency C-section in the fourth episode, which was directed by her good friend Guy Ferland.
Ferland, who directed Callies on the Fox series “Prison Break,” told the actress that her last words would be her most important.
“What Guy and I talked about was that in a way, it was a release,” Callies said in an interview earlier this week. “I think that Lori felt the pregnancy was a death sentence. She had been ready for it. And on the one hand it is terrifying but on the other she gets to go. Whatever hell is, it is not going to be worse than life on earth at that moment.”
The 35-year-old Callies, who grew up in Hawaii and graduated from Punahou, worked hard to prepare with her co-star Andrew Lincoln, who plays her character’s husband Rick Grimes.
“It was really helpful for both Andy Lincoln and I to know, when we started shooting the season, that Rick and Lori were only going to have three episodes together so that we could very consciously set up circumstances in that marriage so that the death impacts him in the most powerful way possible,” Callies said.
But there were other reservoirs of emotion that helped Callies get ready.
She had been with the show since the pilot and when her character died, she was one of only three original characters left. With flesh-eating zombies roaming an apocalyptic landscape, munching people every episode, her demise was only a matter of time.
“I was the mom to the cast from the beginning,” she said. “I would help people find apartments and help them out when things went wrong. I had parties for people and throw death dinners for people when they got killed off. In some ways, the preparation for that scene was the two-and-a-half years of acting that went before it, investing in the characters and just allowing yourself to be honest.”
Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.