Exclusive: Christine Evangelista on the Season Finale of Fear the Walking Dead

Christine EvangelistaOn last weeks' episode of Fear the Walking Dead, everyone’s fears became realized when Teddy (John Glover) and Riley (Nick Stahl) set off the nuclear bomb from the submarine. In tonight's season finale, each group of survivors rushes to hide and protect themselves, but the devastation left from the bomb has yet to be seen.

In the episode, Sherry, played by Christine Evangelista, and Dwight (Austin Amelio) end up at someone’s home, and after helping them get rid of some bad men who have taken their storm cellar by force, join them below to wait out the bomb.

Evangelista talked to Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision earlier in the week in an exclusive post-mortem interview where she talked about working on both Fear and the original series, how Sherry’s motivations have changed, the possibility of settling down with Dwight, and more.

***The following interview contains spoilers for 6.16, "The Beginning." Please watch the episode before reading the interview. You've been warned.***

SCIFI VISION:   How did you first start working on the original flagship series before you moved to 
Fear? How did you get that part? Did you just audition, and if so, did you know what you auditioning for?

Christine EvangelistaCHRISTINE EVANGELISTA: 
I auditioned in my living room with my computer. It was so long ago; it was before camera phones were even pretty good. I remember taping it on my MacBook - and before ring lights were really invented, so I think I used a lamp.

But I didn't know anything about it. They gave us some long, makeshift, maybe like five pages of dialogue with different character names, and it wasn't until I got to Georgia that they sat down Austin and I and told us who we’d be playing.

Then, I immediately went to look up a bunch of comic books, because she's such a big figure in the comic book series. I was so excited. I was so delighted, and surprised, really, when I got the part, but I've been really lucky.

You're one of the few people who have been on both shows. I'm just kind of curious, is there a big difference in production?

Not at all. In fact, a lot of the people that I've worked with on The Walking Dead [are the same], like Michael Satrazemis; he directed us on The Walking Dead, and now he's executive producer and directed a few of my episodes on here. There're a lot of people that come back and forth. Then obviously, Lennie James is here, and we have Austin, but it's the same, and quite honestly, the energy is the same, too. I think it's known for this, but The Walking Dead has this no asshole policy, which I love saying, because there are no assholes at work. Everyone is really good, really talented, really kind, super emotionally invested, and I think that's why the show is so successful. Everyone there wants to be there, and everyone really wants to give their all on the show. So, it's just been like an awesome working environment, and I'm just so happy to be back in it.

That's good. It's always good when you have a good cast.

Yeah, people that really care, you know, aside from being super talented. Everyone really cares, and that doesn't happen too often.

So, when did they decide that you were going to cross over? Do you remember when you first found that out?

I know that there were talks for a while of trying to get back and forth, and I was working on another show at the time. I always really, really wanted to come back, but it didn't work out at first. Then, I think by maybe early fall 2019, I knew I would be coming back in 2020. We were able to make it work, and I was just so grateful for it.

So, in the season finale episode, Sherry says, you know, she's wasted time and she wishes she had just taken time to sit down to drink beer and eat pretzels, whatever exactly is she says, but do you think that partially what has just happened is making her realize that now, because she thinks they might be out of time? Do you think that she's really ready to move on? I mean, like after they find out it's not the end of their lives, do you think she's still going to be able to continue on that path, or is she going to be like, “I got to go kill Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) now.”

I really do. You know, it's interesting. You're told something so many times, and this happens throughout the series, you know, only you can move on. Dwight was trying to tell Sherry that she's chasing after the wrong thing, and it doesn't work that way, and only she can heal herself. It's not until you actually see it, and you can really believe it. I think [it was] the burial of John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) and looking at what happened to June (Jenna Elfman) and seeing the emotional repercussions of that, seeing her lose her loved one, and the realization that, wow, Sherry could lose Dwight in a very similar way. Then, in this finale episode, when you see Sherry walking through this beautiful home with a beautiful family with a beautiful daughter, she's realizing like, “Wow, what have I been doing? I'm chasing after the wrong [things].” Instead of just trying to put things back together herself, she's trying to get some sort of external reaction when it needs to be all internal. And I do think she sees it now. It's a physical thing that's in front of her, through all these other relationships, whether it's June or this family that she just met in Episode 16. I do think she's ready. I think it will be challenging, as we know with people that have experienced major trauma and loss and pain and difficulties in their lives, and it's not just an easy, straight road, but I think she's ready, willing, and able to do it now, and I totally believe in her.

Obviously for a while her big problems were with Virginia (Colby Minifie), actually, not Negan, but do you think it was really because of Negan that she was like so mad at Virginia? Or do you think that it was just two separate things?

Yes, absolutely. It was all misplaced anger. She hadn't had an interaction with Virginia. She doesn't know Virginia. She knows what Virginia has done to a lot of her friends and a lot of the people that were in her crew, but it's not a personal vendetta. It’s more of trying to help the people around her in the same way that she wishes someone helped her when she was with Negan. And I think, again, it's just trying to take down the bad guy in order to have some redemption or resolve. But yeah, it was always about Negan all the time, and more of what Negan did to her, to her relationship, to Dwight. There were a lot of things that stemmed from that.

Right. So, I mean, you said you think now she's able to settle down. You do think then, I guess, that they're going to be able to start again, and that there is a chance for them now?

Christine Evangelista and Dwight AmelioI think they have another chance, and how they use that chance, we'll find out. You know, there're a lot of different ways that it can go. These are two characters, and especially as we've seen with Dwight, that have gone down the wrong path before. There’re two roads in life, and which one are you going to take, the high one or the low one? And I do think when you saw the two of them when they went to help the family get into the bunker and get those people out, there was this glimmer in their eyes, like this chance to do something right, to do something right even if it meant doing something wrong, I guess, and, you know, taking down the bad guys for the greater good. All that stuff; Bonnie and Clyde, Robin Hood, I mean, [there are] all these characters throughout history that have done these things, and I think that's a path that they could really go down, and that would be really exciting.

I know. Especially now that John’s gone, they're like the relationship that everybody's rooting for.

So, how do you think that their lives would be different now if they had not [returned to the Sanctuary]? Do you think they would still be together?

I mean, if they didn't go back into the Sanctuary, I think life would have been very different. You know, as the whole motivation for going back was because Sherry lost her sister, and her sister died, and they had run out of resources, and they were in this burnt out forest, and I think they were faced with the idea of like, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't, and that was the reason for going back. I mean, I have faith in Sherry and her resourcefulness that she would have been okay and figured something out, but it was really stressful. I think the two of them were just really out of their element and just so disoriented with going through all that. And I bet there were a lot of times that Sherry has said that she wishes she didn’t go back.

Do you know if next season there is going to be less of sort of these anthology stories with everyone separate? I mean, I figure some of it at least was because of COVID, but do you know?

No, it wasn't because of COVID. They had decided to do the anthology before COVID, which has been absolutely, I mean, remarkable, the foreshadowing. I mean, I knew they were doing that the fall of 2019, and I think it's been working really well, and people have really responded to it. And I think that's the tone that is going to take place for season seven, for sure. But isn't it remarkable? That there wasn't a COVID issue, that it was done before it?

Yeah, I guess it worked out well for everyone.

Obviously, you can't tell me what, but do you know next season where it's headed? Do you have any idea? Or have they not told you anything?

Yeah, yeah. I have an idea.

That's good. Is there anything at all you're allowed to tease?

You know, look, these characters are always faced with death in every single way, but when you're faced with death, I mean, this bomb that’s going off could destroy [everything]. I mean, it's destroying life, even the worst life as they know it, and I think these characters are going to need to be far more resourceful and realize that they can’t do things on their own. And I think it is going to separate a lot of people and in terms of their lives and the way that they want to live. Everybody's going to have a very different perspective, I think, because everyone's so split up and all over the place and because there were so much bloodshed in the finale. So many people died, and I think that is going to have a real effect on the way these characters are able to move forward.

I assume also, I mean, I don't know a lot about that kind of stuff, but I assume they're going to be dealing with with fallout. I mean, just because they're, like, away from the blast, they're not completely safe yet, would you say, at least?

Yeah, absolutely. Now they need to think of everything, like, food and supplies. I mean, every single basic resource has been [taken]. The air quality. Things are going to be really, really, really rough, and I think it's going to make people act very differently, you know, in terms of total crisis. I mean, things were bad with walkers. When you have walkers and a lack of resources and everything, it brings out the worst in people. I mean, we've seen it the toilet paper crisis of 2020. When people are really pushed to the edge, they act erratically.

That connects with the other thing I was going to ask you. Now that we’ve seen people, you know, freak out about that kind of stuff, hoarding, and things like that, did you look at it differently because you've been on this kind of show, and on the flip side, do you look at the show differently now, because you've been through that kind of thing?

Christine EvangelistaI think both of them. I look at the show so differently now. A scene we shot this season I think is a perfect example of it. I shot the scene of being reunited again with Dwight before the pandemic happened, and when the episode aired, it was during the pandemic, and it took on such a different meaning, when these two characters that haven't seen each other for so long, have been reunited again. And I think that really resonated with people, because at that point, we were in our homes; we hadn't seen our loved ones in a long time, and the thought of embracing them again, I think, was just so much more emotional than we could have ever imagined than if we had seen that same scene a year earlier.

And I think there're so many similarities now going back into it and going into production. You know, when I have that scene in Episode 16, when Sherry’s walking through the house and looking down and looking at these photos and seeing this family and realizing how much time she wasted, carrying this burden and this pain and not able to let it go, I think that that made me look at things very differently. Now, how we spend our time and who we spend our time with is what's important to us, you know, letting go of, I don't want to call them little things, but moving past things more, because we realize just how much they could be taken away. So, I think everything just took on such a deeper meaning, and it's really poetic, and it makes me really emotional. And honestly, I had a really hard time shooting some of this stuff. You know, also, outside of the show, I'm an actress, and I'm living in a different state, and I'm so grateful to be working on a show, but I'm also separate from my loved ones. I can't see them the same way that I would have if I had a few days off before, because we're not encouraged to travel. And I’m just so immersed in the show and what I'm doing, it just heightens my emotional experience of it all. I just understood everything on such a deep level.

Yeah. Well, hopefully we're coming out the other the other side of that now.

...Before you go, I did want to ask, you get to work with all the really gross walkers and everything. Does any of that ever gross you out? I mean, I know the other actors have been now talking about it being funny with them wearing masks, but -

Oh, it's hilarious. [laughs] Does it gross me out? No, it doesn't. Watching it grosses me out. I realized that I have a much more visceral reaction to me watching the show than actually doing it. The act of stabbing a walker in the head is not as challenging as watching myself stab a walker in the head. You know, I think also a lot of it is the noise. The noise element of the walkers is really hard to listen to, and a lot of that is in the experience of watching the television show. But also when you're doing it, you're just so in it. You're so in it; it's so exhilarating. I have a really hard time watching it. [laughs]

That's funny. All right. Okay, well, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Like I said, I enjoyed the finale. Though I definitely was surprised that the bomb went off. I really thought either it was going to be a dud or CRM was going to shoot it down or something else was going to happen.

Yeah, you me both, because if you think about how that is going to change the world for the next month, two months here to come, it's going to make everything a lot more complicated.

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