When we heard we would get the chance to speak with the newest alpha female on The Walking Dead — our hearts almost stopped.
Not to worry — we didn't wake up as walkers, but we were ready to devour every detail she could give us. Lauren Cohan plays Maggie — a feisty eldest daughter, loving girlfriend and ruthless fighter. And if you watched last week's painstakingly emotional episode, with Lori gone, it's up to Maggie to step up.
Here at SheKnows, we got the incredible opportunity to hear insight directly from "Maggie," as we sat down for a chat with this surprisingly charismatic, down-to-earth and multidimensional actress. She was thoughtful, intelligent and passionate about her work, and she emphasized the familial bond the entire cast has with each other.
SheKnows: Let's talk about last week's traumatizing episode, in which Lori dies. I have to say your acting was so powerful — what was it like cutting the baby out of Lori?
Lauren Cohan: It was insane. We really had the baby inside — not the real baby, obviously — a fake baby inside that belly. We switched it out to be a real baby, and we actually use a real baby for a lot of what happens following that. [There's] not so much I can say that the scene doesn't say already — it was traumatizing, and it was beautiful watching her give that farewell to Carl and getting the chance for the three of us to be in that room.
SK: When you came out with the baby and saw Rick (without Lori), the emotional reaction you both had was incredible. How many takes were needed?
LC: Thank you so much! Yeah, it was maybe two — I don't even know if we did it more than once. Everyone is so "on" on the show, we generally kind of tend to be "there," right out of the gate. Andy [Lincoln] (Rick on The Walking Dead) was my rock in that scene — all I have to do is lock eyes with him and try to get myself and the baby and the message over to him. You see it in the scene — it was so painful, and [it] is such an honor to work with these guys.
SK: With an amputee and a newborn on the set, how does the group fare with those kinds of limitations?
LC: Well, we have Scott [Wilson] (Hershel on The Walking Dead) — [he] is so amazing and such a sweetheart. He has to do all kinds of funny tricks to hide his leg. He wears a green screen sock with matching, flourescent-green Crocs. He has mastered ways [of hiding his leg] — sometimes, he positions his [one] leg behind his other — but only someone as good as him can handle that and amazing action [at the same time]. And the baby... is so soft and gushy. The baby is a joy to have on set — everybody is probably ready to have kids.
SK: We have gotten to see Maggie evolve through the storylines. How does it feel to be the alpha female?
LC: It's interesting. People were asking if I take on a maternal role with the baby. [That's] not the case — because she is the alpha and so able-bodied. She is more of a soldier. We are going to see more of that — this chick can get stuff done. [There are] huge challenges ahead.
SK: Is there a cure anytime in the future?
LC: No (laughs) — lots of other good stuff happens, but there is no cure.
SK: We see the Dixon brothers may have a reunion in the future. Is Merle as happy to see the rest of the group as he is [to see] his brother?
LC: It's a... com-pli-ca-ted situation. You're not getting the smooth without the rough, in this case. It is amazing! It's going be funny and volatile. It's great — Michael Rooker as Merle is the most hysterical, charming pain in the butt. He's great — we love him.
LC: That's a good question to leave up to debate. [It is] however people want to take [it]. I love the ambiguity of it — it's kind of awkward.
SK: In the comics, Maggie marries Glenn. Is this something fans can look forward to?
LC: I don't know, and it's not something I can say [anything] about now. We will see what the future holds. I would hope, somewhere down the line, we see that. The hopefulness of the couple is great.
SK: About Glenn — is the chemistry as good offscreen as it is on screen?
LC: I love Steven [Yeun] (Glenn on The Walking Dead), but the chemistry is onscreen. He and I see these conversations people have, and they analyze every "arm touching." We are just good friends. It's like being in college together.
SK: What has been your favorite walker-killing weapon?
LC: Machete — l just love that thing. It's just light and quick. You can hook it underneath, get it from the top, or take the head off it with it. It's not too bulky.
SK: Who was the most unexpected death of all?
LC: Sarah [Wayne Callies] (Lori from The Walking Dead). Actually, it's in the comic... but you still never expect it.
SK: What storyline of Maggie's has been your favorite?
LC: Of what we have seen so far, I have had a great couple things start [that] will continue through the season. Maggie is strong and [will] have a chance to show how strong she really is. I couldn't even pick [a favorite storyline], but for one thing, having to be a badass and having a kickass romance is pretty much on top of my bucket list.
SK: Were you "Team Rick" or "Team Shane"?
LC: Team Rick, I guess — I mean, yes, Team Rick. We had our doubts, but we are going to see why it's Team Rick. Everyone was right to have their doubts last year, but just like any dysfunctional family, you have to have a little faith in your leader.
SK: You played the strong vampire Rose in The Vampire Diaries and the strong daughter on The Walking Dead. Very pro-female empowerment — are these your ideal roles?
LC: Definitely, definitely — I just love it. [I'm] really attracted to strong people with strong morals [and to] playing those types of characters. Maggie is just like a dream role for me. [Starting off], you see this good, Christian girl, and [she] meets a new group. You would have never known any of us would [be] where we are [now], and there's still so much potential for all of us. I feel like she's still the same person, and you just put her in a different context. She is so great to play — she's really just a farm girl. Everyone's pretty normal. You have a sheriff, [a] pizza-delivery kid, and a farm girl (laughs).
It was an absolute pleasure interviewing Lauren Cohan. She was insightful and well spoken (and the accent was an unexpected surprise, too). Looking forward to watching the rest of the season — it sounds like even more drama is around the corner!
We're Team Maggie!
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