Interview: Lennie James, Karen David, & Mo Collins Talk Fear the Walking Dead, Returning Tomorrow to AMC

Fear the Walking DeadSunday, the mid-season premiere of season six of Fear the Walking Dead premieres on AMC. When we last left the characters, back at Lawton, after June (Jenna Elfman) saved her life, Virginia (Colby Minifie) agreed to let her have the hospital she wanted, where she would have not only help from Sarah (Mo Collins), but also Wendell (Daryl Mitchell).

Meanwhile, Morgan (Lennie James) had killed the convoy in order to kidnap Virginia’s sister, Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti), to trade with Ginny for his friends’ freedom, but instead agreed to let Dakota come with them to the safe place he was making. Meanwhile, Ginny was keeping a pregnant Grace (Karen David) captive.

James, David, and Collins talked to journalists earlier in the week about the back half of the season and teased a bit about what fans can expect.

Morgan is against killing and considers all life precious, but sometimes he has to do things he doesn’t want to. Is he willing to continue to compromise his morals, and will he have to live with the consequences? James told SciFi Vision, “I genuinely don't think that Morgan is a man who compromises his morals. I think that there's a perception of Morgan that when he tries to live by his mantra of “all life is precious” and that he won't kill, that if he does kill, it seems as if he's going against his own moral compass, and he's not necessarily. He's saying all life is precious, and his motion of not wanting to kill is what he would prefer to do, that he will do anything within his power not to have to hurt someone in that particular way. But he knows he's capable of it, and he knows that sometimes it's necessary. I think his disagreements with the group and what happens based on his disagreements with the group is a large part of the story in 6B and going on, so I can't really comment too much about it. It's one of those where you're going to have to watch and see.”

Fear the Walking DeadWith Grace nearing her due date, being a mother will obviously change her. David told the site, “I think motherhood for Grace, like any any first-time mother, is something typically magical and overwhelming, but knowing Grace, I think that's what she has so much in common with with Morgan. She always put everyone's lives as her primary importance, their well being and their safety, especially with what she's been through back at the plant in last season. She certainly doesn't want to make any of those mistakes again, and if she can help in any way that will keep everyone and the people that she cares about [safe], that will never end and that'll always continue.

“I think one thing that really excites me is that the Grace that we know pre-pregnancy is always guided by facts and is very methodical and scientific. She's not as open; she keeps her emotions to herself. That's what she knows. So, to see a different side of Grace, even through her pregnancy and with the idea of her becoming a mother, there's a lot of emotions running into her mind. It's one thing to give birth to a child, [but] she knows what this pregnancy represents. It's sort of biblical, in a way; it's the Virgin Mary [laughs] giving [birth]. But in this case, she's bringing hope through this to this new life and what that represents and what that means for the community and the group, which gives her this renewed sense of purpose. [It] really helps her move forward with purpose, with incentive, and gives her the courage to fight for her baby, for her baby bump and the family that she had always envisioned that Morgan and her could possibly have.

“But at this point, she doesn't know if Morgan's alive or not. So, in her mind, she thinks that the odds are stacked against him, and he's probably not around. So, I think she feels even more a sense to continue what Morgan was trying to achieve with the group and move that forward with the current little family.

“So, we'll see how she navigates through all these challenges, because being pregnant is one thing, but being pregnant during an apocalypse and being very much on her own is another.”

Fans are curious what’s in store for Sarah for the back half of the season. Collins joked with SciFi Vision during the junket that her character has been busy. “Sarah's been very busy, that's why we don't see her. She's super, super busy. She's learned a lot of skills aside from the ones that she showed up with in season four. She's helping June, and she's sort of become a lifesaver in a whole new way - literally in moments with medical help. So, yeah, there's not too much I can tell you, to be honest, about her journey going forward, other than to say as the vessel for this character, I've appreciated a little bit of her softer side that is in her.”

For more, please read the full transcript below and be sure to tune into AMC tomorrow night for the mid-season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead


Zoom Interview
Fear the Walking Dead
Lennie James, Karen David, and Mo Collins

April 5, 2021

QUESTION:  Lennie, I was wondering if I could start with you and just ask if you could talk a little bit about Morgan's agency heading into the second half of season six and how his mission has evolved and his sense of purpose and how he's reconciling the person he needs to be in order to make what he sees as a better future for all the people that he's trying to protect.

LENNIE JAMES:   I think on one level, his agency is as it was in 6A, because he hasn't completed his mission. His mission is to get everybody back together in a place that's safe for all of us. I think if there's anything added to that mission, it's Grace and the baby and that actually the world that he is going to take a risk on, the world that he's gonna want to influence, is the world that that child is going to come into. So, his desire for what he's building goes a little bit further beyond just what is good for him or just what is good for him and Grace or just what is good for him and the group. He's trying to create a city almost, create a town, create something that can grow into something that looks like a world for what he hopes to be his adopted child.

SCIFI VISION:  My first question is for Lennie. Obviously, Morgan does not agree necessarily with what different groups of people want to do. So, my question is, this season, is he going to be willing to compromise his morals? And whether he does or doesn't, is he going have to live with those consequences that can cause problems later on? Can you talk about that?

Lennie JamesLENNIE JAMES:   Tricky one. Is he going to have to compromise his morals? I genuinely don't think that Morgan is a man who compromises his morals. I think that there's a perception of Morgan that when he tries to live by his mantra of all life is precious and that he won't kill, that if he does kill, it seems as if he's going against his own moral compass, and he's not necessarily. He's saying all life is precious, and his motion of not wanting to kill is what he would prefer to do, that he will do anything within his power not to have to hurt someone in that particular way. But he knows he's capable of it, and he knows that sometimes it's necessary. I think his disagreements with the group and what happens based on his disagreements with the group is a large part of the story in 6B and going on, so I can't really comment too much about it. It's one of those where you're going to have to watch and see.

SCIFI VISION:  Karen, now if I can ask you, how is being a mother going to change her outlook? And is she going to be busy taking care of the baby, or is she going to still be on the front lines protecting that child?

KAREN DAVID:   I think motherhood for Grace, like any any first-time mother, is something typically magical and overwhelming, but knowing Grace, I think that's what she has so much in common with with Morgan. She's always put everyone's lives as her primary importance, their well being and their safety, especially with what she's been through back at the plant in last season. She certainly doesn't want to make any of those mistakes again, and if she can help in any way that will keep everyone and the people that she cares about [safe], that will never end and that'll always continue.

I think one thing that really excites me is that the Grace that we know pre-pregnancy is always guided by facts and is very methodical and scientific. She's not as open; she keeps her emotions to herself. That's what she knows. So, to see a different side of Grace, even through her pregnancy and with the idea of her becoming a mother, there's a lot of emotions running into her mind. It's one thing to give birth to a child, [but] she knows what this pregnancy represents. It's sort of biblical, in a way; it's the Virgin Mary [laughs] giving [birth]; but in this case, she's bringing hope through this to this new life and what that represents and what that means for the community and the group, which gives her this renewed sense of purpose. [It] really helps her move forward with purpose, with incentive, and gives her the courage to fight for her baby, for her baby bump and the family that she had always envisioned that Morgan and her could possibly have.

But at this point, she doesn't know if Morgan's alive or not. So, in her mind, she thinks that the odds are stacked against him, and he's probably not around. So, I think she feels even more a sense to continue what Morgan was trying to achieve with the group and move that forward with the current little of family.

So, we'll see how she navigates through all these challenges, because being pregnant is one thing, but being pregnant during an apocalypse and being very much on her own is another.

SCIFI VISION:  Definitely. And Mo, could you tease Sarah's journey this season since we didn't get to see a whole lot of her in the first two episodes.

MO COLLINS:   …Just know Sarah's been very busy [laughs], that's why we don't see her. She's super, super busy. She's learned a lot of skills aside from the ones that she showed up with in season four. She's helping June, and she's sort of become a lifesaver in a whole new way - literally in moments with medical help. So, yeah, there's not too much I can tell you, to be honest, about her journey going forward, other than to say as the vessel for this character, I've appreciated a little bit of her softer side that is in her.

QUESTION:  So, this season, I think the deliberate pace and the anthology structure has been really effective as far as storytelling this season, and it seems to be laying the groundwork for something quite explosive in the second half, the back half. Without getting into specifics, and this is for all of you, could you paint the big picture for us on how explosive, how monumental the second half of the season is going to be for these characters, because the setup has been pretty great.

LENNIE JAMES:   I think some of the episodes that are coming up in the back half of this season are some of the bravest storytelling, most risk-taking storytelling we've told in any part of this universe. There are also episodes that are coming up that will be some of the most challenging to the fans; the the losses that we might suffer this time around are big, and they're substantial. The climax of this season is unlike - I think I'm right in saying this - unlike any other.

KAREN DAVID:   Perfectly put, Lennie.

LENNIE JAMES:   That's why I went first.

Karen DavidKAREN DAVID:   There's never a dull moment on our show, as we all know. Each and every one of our characters is going to be challenged to the core like never before. We're touching on subjects that I'm so proud of our family and our universe that they've never talked about before, which will have an impact on some of the fans watching. I'm just really proud of what we've been able to achieve, especially during these pandemic times. These stories, these anthology stories, are so big. They're like mini movies, and to achieve what we've been able to do in the second half is extraordinary.

MO COLLINS:   Go big or go home. We didn't go.

LENNIE JAMES:   I think one of the things that the anthology does for us as well is it allows us to mine the histories of our characters. One of the things that the anthology has done is that the actors are able to bring to the forefront and share that with the audience, their histories, basically. People are reacting, not based always on just what is happening in front of them, but based on the reverberations of that on their past and bringing their past into play and remembering times gone before, remembering who people were to them before, remembering people who have gone before and who they were before it. I think we've really taken advantage of it. I think it was very brave of our showrunners to make the decision to go, "Okay, we're going to go all in and tell the stories in this way, because this is the way we want to do it." I think it's paid off, and it's kind of been a harbinger to what hopefully will be a fantastic second half of the season.

QUESTION:   For Lennie, speaking on the past, Morgan's dedicated to building this new community for his family away from Virginia. Does he ever consider bringing them back to Alexandria? And is he still someone who wants to one day go back to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and tell him he was right about finding his way back to people?

LENNIE JAMES:   I can say, unequivocally, he does not want to go back to Rick and tell Rick that Rick was right. No, he does not want to do that. Might he do it? I don't know. It's not really up to me, but as I say every time someone asks me about this, I'd give any chance to work with Andy Lincoln again. We had a lot of fun together, and I think we worked well together. So, yeah, why wouldn't I want to do that? I think that, in reality, Morgan is not looking to take the group back. There would have to be a confluence of circumstances in a certain direction for him to head back, because it's a long way. It's a hell of a risk to take to move people that far away unless you were absolutely certain that where you were going was safe and better than anything along the way. So, I would have to say, honestly, that it's not in his mind. What is in his mind is creating a place that is safe for the people that he loves and the child that he hopes to father.

QUESTION:  For Mo and Karen, the showrunners have said that season 6B will be turning the screws on everyone, and not a lot of characters get happy endings in The Walking Dead. So, how worried should we be for for Grace and Sarah, because they are fan favorites, and we've got a pregnant Grace, so it's kind of expecting the worst to happen this season.

MO COLLINS:   I think it's a choice as always with shows like this; worry for everyone. That speaks to your empathy and love for the characters on the show, but the show doesn't go without worry.

KAREN DAVID:   In Grace's case, she entered this universe with everyone knowing that she was exposed to high amounts of radiation and that her clock is ticking. So, it's a question of when. When are her symptoms going to show? I know certainly during pregnancy, a lot of the fans have been very concerned to see if she's okay, if the baby's okay, and the stakes are so much higher now, so I know a lot of questions have been circulating. "Well, if she's pregnant, then she's fine. She wasn't exposed to radiation," but no, that's still there, and that is something on the forefront of Grace's mind. I think her goal is to try and be as strong as possible for the baby and to be able to deliver the baby safely, [hoping] that this baby will be safe and will find its way to the group and be with the group, whether she makes it or not.

QUESTION:  So, I just wanted to go back to something. I think that there's this group dynamic, obviously you want to protect the group, but then within the group, there's also these relationships that are really special that make things even more complicated, I think. So, Karen and Mo, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit. Grace is going to have a baby, so, obviously, now everything is going to revolve around this baby, and then, Mo, Sarah has Wendell to think about now that they've been reunited. How does that change the way they do things moving forward, and does that make it even harder when it comes to making decisions?

Mo CollinsMO COLLINS:   I know for Sarah, obviously, Wendell is ever on her mind, and I suppose there's the wonderful distraction of the people that she's with and the loyalties that she has to them and to take whatever care and love and concern for her brother and put it on whoever's she's with. She's a caretaker at heart. She's always been that way through through her life with Wendell. So yeah, it's so hard not to say stuff…But yeah, obviously in a world like this, you have to be able to have your heart and mind on more than just one thing, but Wendell will always and forever be on Sarah's mind, but she can, as we've seen, do two things, or three or five, at once.

KAREN DAVID:   With Grace, certainly back in season five, there was so much remorse, regret, and trying to deal with that and desperately wanting to put things right, to make things better, to alleviate the pain and suffering of those that her decisions impacted on. That was one thing, and if it meant the price of her life, so be it.

So, throwing this pregnancy into the equation, that's really shaken up her world, and she can't necessarily think like that. Now she has to think about this baby. Everything is about the baby. All the decisions that she makes is for this baby. Her goal is just to see this pregnancy through to the finish line, praying and hoping that the baby is going to be okay. So, she'll do everything it takes in her isolation, in her glorified jail cell where Ginny has kept her. And Ginny is taking good care of her, because she knows Grace and the baby are this joker card that she can use against Morgan, unbeknownst to Grace. So, they're looking after her, and Grace, all her focus is just to keep strong and to see another day.

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