Interview: Alycia Debnam-Carey, Jenna Elfman, Alexa Nisenson, & Christine Evangelista Talk Fear the Walking Dead, Returning Tonight

Fear the Walking DeadTonight, Fear the Walking Dead returns to AMC with all-new episodes for the back half of season 6B.

At the end of last season, after June (Jenna Elfman) saved Virginia (Colby Minifie)’s life, she agreed to give her the hospital she was after. Meanwhile, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), and Dakota (Zoe Colletti) headed off to Morgan (Lennie James)’s new safe place, while Sherry (Christine Evangelista) and the other members of the Outcasts readied to fight Virginia.

Debnam-Carey, Elfman, Nisenson, and Evangelista talked to members of the press earlier in the week about series.

Debnam-Carey talked to SciFI Vision about her strained relationship with Strand (Colman Domingo) and whether or not they can repair it. “She has such a unique relationship with him, because she's known him for so long. She also sees him for who he truly is, which was what he was before the apocalypse happened, which was essentially a con man. So, she knows those pieces about him, but she's also seen him grow and evolve and change and become her closest pseudo family member now in this situation. While things are bad right now, I think she always hopes that he'll come back around. I think the reason he pushed her away in the first place was because she is able to bring out that humanity in him, that optimism, that hope, that love that he rejects so vehemently about himself. So, I think she does have a sense of hope for that relationship going further, but I also think it's going to get a little bit worse before it gets better. And the start of 6B, you do see some of that friction continue to evolve.”

Alycia Debnam-CareyNisenson and Evangelista teased about their characters’ journeys during the back half of the season. According to Nisenson, “I know for Charlie, we're really going to get to see her continue on that path of strength and independence and continue to see those bonds that she's already formed really grow, and we're going to see that she will do anything to protect her group and herself and really just continue to prove herself to everybody and show that she's a valuable member of the group, and that she is strong and very capable.”

Evangelista added, “I think with Sherry, going back to what you were originally talking about or mentioning with trust, I think, she's on her own journey with trust, and can she trust these people that she's with? Also, this man that she's been in a relationship with for so long, they haven't seen each other in even longer. They’re both coming into this relationship again, both very different people than where they left off, and I think there's a lot of trauma, emotional trauma that Sherry's grappling with her relationships, but also within herself, and there's a lot of displaced anger. I think there is a very long journey that she's on, if she could even get back to the place of who she was before, and if she could be reunited with her husband again in the same way, I think it's going to be a very difficult journey for her.”

Be sure to check out the full transcript below and watch the mid-season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead tonight on AMC.


Zoom Interview
Fear the Walking Dead
Alycia Debnam-Carey, Jenna Elfman, Alexa Nisenson, and Christine Evangelista

April 5, 2021

SCIFI VISION:  
Alycia, I’ll start with you. Obviously, Alicia and Strand are at odds right now. She doesn’t know if she can trust him right now, but do you think that they’ll ever be able to get that back, and can she trust him? Because, obviously, she’s been closer to him really than anybody.

ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY:  
Great question. She has such a unique relationship with him, because she's known him for so long. She also sees him for who he truly is, which was what he was before the apocalypse happened, which was essentially a con man. So, she knows those pieces about him, but she's also seen him grow and evolve and change and become her closest pseudo family member now in this situation. While things are bad right now, I think she always hopes that he'll come back around. I think the reason he pushed her away in the first place was because she is able to bring out that humanity in him, that optimism, that hope, that love that he rejects so vehemently about himself. So, I think she does have a sense of hope for that relationship going further, but I also think it's going to get a little bit worse before it gets better. And the start of 6B, you do see some of that friction continue to evolve.

SCIFI VISION:   Okay, great. Thanks. Jenna I'll ask you next. Obviously, John (Garett Dillahunt) left in the end of the last episode to go to the cabin. He's the one that kind of brought her out of her shell and made her be able to not run again. So, my question is, now that she's a little on her own, now that he's gone to the cabin, can she sit still? Will she be able to find a place with this group even if she isn't necessarily around him all the time?

JENNA ELFMAN:   Yeah, I think as tension mounts within [audio cuts out] Ginny's the state [audio cuts out] of having to walk is going to do and trying to understand what Ginny's plan is, which quickly becomes apparent even more so as we launch into 608.

SCIFI VISION:   Then, for the other two of you, we really haven't seen a whole lot, obviously, in these two episodes. Can you kind of just talk about what your characters' journeys are going to continue to be for the rest of the season?

Jenna ElfmanALEXA NISENSON:   Yeah, I mean, I know for Charlie, we're really going to get to see her continue on that path of strength and independence and continue to see those bonds that she's already formed really grow, and we're going to see that she will do anything to protect her group and herself and really just continue to prove herself to everybody and show that she's a valuable member of the group, and that she is strong and very capable.

SCIFI VISION:   Christine?

CHRISTINE EVANGELISTA:   I think with Sherry, going back to what you were originally talking about or mentioning with trust, I think, she's on her own journey with trust, and can she trust these people that she's with? Also, this man that she's been in a relationship with for so long, they haven't seen each other in even longer. They’re both coming into this relationship again, both very different people than where they left off, and I think there's a lot of trauma, emotional trauma that Sherry's grappling with her relationships, but also within herself, and there's a lot of displaced anger. I think there is a very long journey that she's on, if she could even get back to the place of who she was before, and if she could be reunited with her husband again in the same way, I think it's going to be a very difficult journey for her.

QUESTION:   Alycia, when we talked last year, kind of looking ahead towards season six overall, you had mentioned that Alicia was finding own voice and you used the expression that she's more grown in season six. Coming out of 607 we see that she was making decisions. She had this plan to go to the ballpark, and she's putting plans in place. Can you talk a little bit about where she is now heading into the back half of the season, and does she still feel like she has that confidence that she had going into season six?

ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY:   Yeah. I definitely still stand by that statement that I made on set. And it’s so hilarious reimagining that moment, because it felt so long ago, but it was so crazy. But I think we are continually seeing Alicia evolve and grow into the person that she is meant to be, whether she wants to be in that role or not. I think for her, [she] is slowly growing into more of a leader as time evolves, as our seasons continue and progress, and part of her is a bit of a reluctant leader but knowing that her making her own choices are what's best for her. When we enter into season 6B, it does become quite clear that she's at odds with the two leaders that she's been following thus far. You know, Morgan’s optimism has come at quite a heavy cost, and Strand’s methods have become quite incompatible with how she feels the group should be moving. So, it is becoming [clearer] that she should be taking her own path. And this second half of the season, I'm really excited for the fans to see Alicia kind of land into the person she was meant to be. There are going to be a few major testing moments for her that we will then see, not just how she responds, but also how it will solidify the character she is and the kind of characteristics she possesses. So, I'm really excited for that, too, but yeah, she's grown.

QUESTION:   Jenna, after June made the decision to save Ginny, it put her in a really interesting position in terms of leadership and where she fits into the larger group. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about where that sets her up heading into the second half of the season having done that and the cost that it put her in with the rest of her friends, because she did save someone who isn't someone that they [would have] saved.

JENNA ELFMAN:   …[John] not sticking around…really threw June for a loop, because I don't think she realized he was so bad off that he wouldn't follow behind [them] like he said he would, for someone to not keep his word like that. I think really, when you're in an emergency situation, which living under Ginny kind of has become, there's not a lot of time to sort of, except when you're in a quiet moment, sit there trying to figure out the choice you made, but it's all you can think about, but at the same time, she has to stay on high alert to see what Ginny is doing and what is life going to be like moving forward. And what is the plan? And, you know, is John gonna reach out or send a message? Or does he have a plan? Or what is his plan? Is he working something out? June just doesn't know. So, I think June’s feeling very vulnerable, but is also, like I said, trying to pay a lot of attention to what's going on.

QUESTION:   When Charlie sees Dakota in 602, she kind of reassures her that everything is going to be okay and that they're going to try and help her, and then 607 brought them together in a really interesting way. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about Charlie and Dakota's dynamic heading into the back half of the season.

Alexa NisensonALEXA NISENSON:   Yeah, definitely. Obviously, of course, they're both young women, so they can relate to each other in that way. Obviously, I can't say specifics on whether we're going to see them together much, but I definitely think that Charlie can obviously relate to her in the fact that they're both young women, but they do have very different personalities, and character-wise, they are incredibly different in a lot of ways. So, I think it's definitely an interesting perspective for Charlie to see how another young woman goes through a lot of these things, and I think she hasn't seen that thus far. So, I think that's really interesting for her and to see her dynamic with the group and everybody. So, I think for Charlie, I don't think she really knows exactly how she feels about Dakota in this moment, and I think she's working that out in her head. Obviously, I can't say specifics or anything, but definitely she's kind of, I think, right now just figuring out where she's at with Dakota.

QUESTION:   Christine, I know it's really hard for Sherry to reconcile her past, and especially with Dwight (Austin Amelio), do you see any reason to think that they would never be able to come back to where they were before they separated? Or do you think their time has passed?

CHRISTINE EVANGELISTA:   Well, I think, universally, we could all relate. People change, right? People change, they evolve, and I think these characters are in a deeply unique situation where so much has happened, so much trauma they both individually experienced, and I think even if they can get back together, of course it's going to be different. The power dynamic between the two of them has shifted so much, and I think both of them, especially Sherry, has been left hardened. So, I think, ultimately, we all want to believe that love can conquer all, and we all can find each other and connect with each other again, but of course their relationship dynamic is going to be different, because they are both so different. I think a lot of the journey that Sherry is on is one within herself. There're all the things that she has to deal with and release and anger and trauma, and, ultimately, we all could relate to it. If we can’t make ourselves happy, nobody else can. I think that she is really on that path right now for her own discovery, and just releasing all of these demons that she's created and that have been imposed upon her, which is all of that turmoil. But of course, I want to believe that love and hope and all of that conquers all, and it's sweet to see people so connected to these two characters for that reason and wanting that. So, I hope we can deliver, but I don't know.

QUESTION:  
I think the first half of the season saw many of the characters make huge decisions, game changing decisions that as an audience member surprised me. But what I noticed about the season is that your characters and through your performances, your characters actually seem really self-assured in these major decisions. While I'm surprised your characters seem to be kind of coming into their own and taking control of their lives like they hadn't perhaps before in the series, can you speak to those pivotal moments and how you perform those as an actor?

ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY:   …So, yeah, definitely there have been some huge, challenging, pivotal moments. I think for Alicia, it's almost like it's the final push for her to really, finally choose the path and the direction she wants to go on, which is sort of heralding back a little bit more to I think her mother Madison (Kim Dickens)'s ethos, in a way. I think that has always been a strong connector for her, and right now, as I kind of had mentioned earlier, she's a little bit at odds with some of the choices that others are making, the paths that they're going down. It's just reinforcing for her that she can choose her own path, and that she does have the tools and the strength to carve out this particular evolution. It’s interesting that the choices that happen really do solidify who she becomes finally as a woman. It's just been such an interesting journey. We’ve really seen her grow from being a young woman, a kid, essentially, on this show to then fully owning who she is as a woman, having gone through so many iterations of friends and family and love and death. I think we're finally seeing her put all those tools together to choose who she wants to become, but in saying that, it's actually the second half where we really see her put to test. So, if you think we've seen her evolve now, it's really going to shift even more for the second half.

ALEXA NISENSON:   Yeah, and for Charlie, I'll say to you, I'm going to add on to that. Just like you said, [she’s] very self-assured, and I'm really excited for Charlie to continue that [in the] back half. I think she's becoming [stronger] and independent, more confident in her decisions, and less, I think, feared and timid, and getting rid of a lot of that self-doubt and making those strong decisions to protect her group, her family, the people that took her in. So, I'm really excited to continue to see that. I think Charlie as well has grown so much, and [I’m] getting to see her evolution and just become so much more confident in herself in her choices and just do anything to protect her group and prove herself to everyone and prove to herself that she can do it.

Christine EvangelistaCHRISTINE EVANGELISTA:   And to go back to that, I think for these characters, it's about survival, right? You have to be self-assured; you have to have a direction in which you're going, otherwise you're going to die. I mean, for all of them, this is a very do or die situation that they're in. For Sherry, I think, ultimately, what she's looking for, what she needs more than anything is that clarity. She has all of this displaced anger and real trauma that she experienced over in the Sanctuary with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). She's bringing all of that on to Ginny's group and targeting them and thinking that she could heal that or right the wrongs that she faced. I think she's on that journey for, ultimately, I think, the clarity within herself, but she has to be forging on, and she has to be moving forward and confident in the way that she's going, otherwise she'll die, really. It's that extreme.

JENNA ELFMAN:   Adding on to what Christine said about if you don't make a decision, you'll die, the stakes are always so high. I think it's very telling of a character or someone's personality, someone who cannot make a decision versus someone who can make a decision, and the courage to make the decision, knowing there might be pieces to pick up later, and having the courage to confront them and pick them up. I think that at any given time, the ability to make a decision based on how much confusion you're in is part of the storytelling, of course. So, I think as we're nearing these main, very summit moments of change that determine which side of the mountain people are now going to ski down, the types of decisions they're making in these key points is what's going to help [determine] the types of pieces they may have to pick up as a result is what's going to push the story forward.

QUESTION:   Just looking ahead, what can you tell us about the doomsday group? And how are they different from any other villains that we've encountered in the in the past?

JENNA ELFMAN:   I think something I feel I could contribute to it would just be, I think, villains in the past, they've been sort of obviously vying for their own power, their own position, territory, competition. I think the degree of sickness that this group has is sort of, I think, way more destructive than any group we've seen, which tends to be a little bit more on the one-on-one defense and solidifying protection for them, as opposed to - This kind of is way more demented and dangerous than I think we've seen any in the past.

CHRISTINE EVANGELISTA:   Yeah, I think that's a great way of putting it, the demented and dangerous. It's this insular group that's highly organized and very much in belief of this mission that they have.I think that in itself is very, very dangerous, because it's not about this individual power, more of like this collective idea of this very insular almost domination. But I think demented is a very good word, Jenna.

ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY:   Yeah, and very planned, as you had said, Christine, just very planed, very organized. It's very meticulous; there's not the same level of taking a chance on things. There's a lot of reason and purpose behind what they're doing and why they're doing it.

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