***The following interview contains spoilers for 2.07***
In tonight’s all-new episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond
, after Felix (Nico Tortorella) stole a vial from the lab from Dr. Lyla Bellshaw, played by Natalie Gold, the base goes into lockdown as they try to find the culprit. Dr. Leo Bennett, played by Joe Holt, gets called into questioning by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), who, along with Huck (Annet Mahendru), interrogates him.
During the interrogation, when Jadis reveals to Leo that Lyla told the CRM about his daughters, Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Hope (Alexa Mansour), he finds out about more of the lies she’s been telling. Holt talked a bit about what Leo was feeling in that moment with Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview. “[J]ust being duped is one level.” said Holt. “It’s just embarrassing to be duped. Being duped by someone who you loved is a different level. And now that brings in a lot of hurt, because, was anything she said ever true? Did any of this mean anything, or was all of this just puppeteering?”
He added, however, that for Leo, what matters is the safety of his daughters. “As this is being revealed, it's this myriad of issues. Sure, there's the ego of being duped, but it's also, what does this mean for Hope and Iris? Does this mean they're in greater danger now?”
Dr. Bellshaw has been playing both sides for awhile now, but according to Gold, Lyla felt like she didn’t have any choices left, and Leo Bennett entering the picture created complications. “[W]e hear a little bit about her [traumautic backstory], which drives her to kind of do the work she does… [and how] the CRM really has their their thumb or their foot on her neck in a way…Leo coming into her life, and then Hope as well, felt like such an opportunity for her and also creates this conflict, because she's found love again. She's been so focused on her work that him not being fully in line with what she's doing is difficult for her.”
Things might have gone differently if Lyla had just told Leo about what she did. Gold thinks she wanted to but chickened out. The actress added, “I think it's hard to get out alive once you've started it. Then, she just piles on to the lie, and by that point, it's just too late. She doesn't know how to get out of it.”
Things get worse when Lyla tells Jadis that Leo and his family are responsible for stealing the vial, but, as the actress explains to SciFi Vision, she truly does love him and thinks it will save him. “I think in her mind,” said Gold, “she's not throwing him under the bus. Although, ultimately, yeah, she's trapping him in this situation, but, in her mind, I think that's the way she can understand how everybody's gonna be okay. She's gonna save him. She's going to save his daughters; she's going to save herself. Then, together, they are all going to work on saving the world, which I think she really believes she's doing, and the work she's doing is for that purpose.”
At that point, according to Holt, they couldn’t go back. “The trust was broken. I don't think he could have forgiven her once she endangered his daughters. I even think it goes beyond him. Once someone has endangered his daughters, that's the line that's crossed.”
During the interview, Holt and Gold talked more about Bellshaw’s betrayals, the ultimate outcome, how it will affect things moving forward, and more. Be sure to read the full transcript below and watch The Walking Dead: The World Beyond
Sundays on AMC and AMC+.SCIFI VISION: Natalie, can you start by talking about Lyla sort of playing both sides? Can you kind of talk about playing that balance?
Yeah, I think it was important to me as a character and also Matt [Negrete] as a showrunner. Something that we talked about and had to figure out was Lyla’s feelings for Leo and how deeply real they were, and are, that she loved him. That was really important to me, because if [they are real], that creates such a conflict within her.
So, I think we get to see in Episode Six her backstory and [how] kind of everybody has a traumatic experience in this universe, and we we hear a little bit about hers, which drives her to kind of do the work she does. Then, more in the seventh episode about [how] the CRM really has their their thumb or their foot on her neck in a way. She doesn't feel like she has any choices. So, Leo coming into her life, and then Hope as well, felt like such an opportunity for her and also creates this conflict, because she's found love again. She's been so focused on her work that him not being fully in line with what she's doing is difficult for her. Then, also trying trying to get him onto her side is difficult for her as well…She knows that the stuff that she has had to do isn’t all that awesome. Participating in mass genocide isn't the greatest way to win over your love. [laughs]
Hashtag life goals.
SCIFI VISION: Joe, we don't really see his reaction, but we did see Jadis tell Leo that Lyla told the CRM about about his daughters. Can you talk a little bit about maybe what he was feeling at that moment. Also, I wonder if maybe she should have told him that [she did], because I feel like in a way, as much as it was bad that she told them, that sort of saved his daughters almost. So, maybe if you could talk about how he felt in moment, and Natalie maybe after you can add your thoughts
Yeah, that's a good question, because in an earlier episode, we had discussed how her revelation about Hope actually helps save my daughter's life. So, we kind of acknowledged that. I think that as the entire plan was unfolding, the feeling that Leo had was, it's almost like the ultimate gaslighting, where just being duped is one level. It’s just embarrassing to be duped. Being duped by someone who you loved is a different level. And now that brings in a lot of hurt, because, was anything she said ever true? Did any of this mean anything, or was all of this just puppeteering?...And danger. Like, I think Leo's is always on the pulse of the safety of his daughters. s this is being revealed, it's this myriad of issues. Sure, there's the ego of being duped, but it's also, what does this mean for Hope and Iris? Does this mean they're in greater danger now? So, all of that stuff was going on with Leo, and it's almost like he's trying to compartmentalize, because now he has to figure out, “How do I survive from this moment on? What is she to me? How do I get out of this room? How do I get to my daughters?” And it’s not wanting to show my cards to Jadis.
So, I loved the scene for that reason, because it has all that complexity, which as an actor is delicious to at least try to play, who knows how successful I was, but dealing with all those competing priorities, emotionally, logistically, and dealing with those actresses in that room, who are all so high level and good at their jobs, was intense and amazing, for me.
SCIFI VISION: Natalie, do you think maybe things would have gone a little bit different had she clued him into that?
I think she chickened out.
Joe, it was very successful. I just wanted to you to know, objectively.
SCIFI VISION: It was.
[It was] incredibly successful.
Yeah, I think she chickened out. I think we saw that at the the end of season one actually, where she's talking to herself in the lab, she's preparing for what she's going to tell them, that she she did this, and this is why, and it's all for the future, and it's for the greater good, Then, she couldn't bring herself to tell him. Then, I think it's hard to get out alive once you've started it. Then, she just piles on to the lie, and by that point, it's just too late. She doesn't know how to get out of it. So, yeah, she should have told him. [laughs]
She definitely should have told him.
SCIFI VISION: I did want to comment too, in this episode, she totally throws him under the bus, but, I mean, I do feel that she really thought that would save him. She just maybe overestimated, I guess, her own importance.
Yeah. That's right. I think in her mind, she's not throwing him under the bus. Although, ultimately, yeah, she's trapping him in this situation, but, in her mind, I think that's the way she can understand how everybody's gonna be okay. She's gonna save him. She's going to save his daughters; she's going to save herself. Then, together, they are all going to work on saving the world, which I think she really believes she's doing, and the work she's doing is for that purpose. She is a subscriber to that belief wholeheartedly. She didn't expect to fall in love with Leo, and she's trying to save his life. She's also trying to tell the complete truth for the first time and bring him to her side and the CRM side, because she needs his help also.
SCIFI VISION: I mean, obviously, it's kind of a moot point now, because she dies, but, Joe, do you think that maybe he could have forgiven her for what happened, that they could have worked together?
Good question. They could have worked together, because he's a scientist, and there is a scientific method that is a linear process, that she's either accomplishing her tasks, or she's not, and because his greater goal is to save humankind, so, yes, he could have worked with her. The trust was broken. I don't think he could have forgiven her once she endangered his daughters. I even think it goes beyond him. Once someone has endangered his daughters, that's the line that's crossed. As a scientist, as a person that has an objective in mind, it's just like being at work. There are people that you hate that you work with, but as long as she is accomplishing her tasks, he could have worked with her, especially if her tasks were helping get closer to solving the world's problems. But the trust is gone, and I don't think you would have forgiven her.
SCIFI VISION: Natalie, can you talk about filming that death scene? Because that was quite a scene.
Oh, I mean, it was really fun. We had an amazing stunt team. Al Calderon, who was my partner in that fight, who plays Barca, was incredible to work with. You know, it was fast and furious, and at the end of the day, it was crazy, but it was kind of glorious. It felt incredibly safe. And also, we just kind of looked at each other just like, “Let's just go for it.” And we did, and then had to do it, you know, a million times. And I definitely was brushing my teeth the next morning, and I was like, “This hurts!” [laughs]
I was sore and exhausted for a good long time after it, but it was so much fun. It was so cool. I mean, how cool.
SCIFI VISION: Yeah, I was just wondering if you get to play a walker. I know you can’t tell me that anyway, but maybe we'll get to see you again on the other side of that.So, Joe, I know, obviously, he's mad at her, but I think he's still gonna be upset she's dead. So, you can maybe tease how that's going to help propel their cause forward? I mean, we're kind of assuming that the group is going to try to escape and ruin them. So, can you just kind of talk about how that's going to affect that?
Yeah, I’m not sure what he knows about the circumstances of Lyla's death, but the impetus you're mentioning happens in that room. You know, I think that he's already had his confrontation with Elizabeth in Episode One or Episode Two, maybe. So, he's already in this place where they're not to be trusted, but I have a job to do. And I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of “I've got to move; I've got to act.” So, her death, I don't think would be the same motivator as the fact that his daughters were endangered and that he has been betrayed by the entity that he trusted. So, it's kind of like, you know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Now it’s shame on me. So, once he had the whole moment with the documents, it's just sort of like cover after cover, layer after layer of deceit. I think that by the time that he hears about her death, it'll be very interesting to see how he responds to it. I mean, I think that will be as complex as anything else, but I think if there's a through-line for Leo, the throughline is save humanity, protect daughters. Anything that runs counter to those things, is [the] enemy.SCIFI VISION: Yeah that makes sense. I also wanted to ask you, and I don't even know if you can tell me this, but other than like the little scene of the two of you together, I don’t think we’ve seen you with any empties. Are you maybe going to get to fight at all? I mean, I assume at some point you are but [can you tease anything]?
Yeah, I mean, I think that what I can tell you is that the the more that the compound becomes a hostile place, the more he's going to fight to get out of the compound. I think that if and when he can get out of the compound, there're just new elements. So, I do feel like the last three episodes do let us see a different side of Leo, which I think is also a believable side of Leo. I don't think that anything happens that is like, “Oh, wait a minute!” but I think Leo does get tested in different ways these last few episodes.
SCIFI VISION: Then, I've been asking everybody this, so I'm going ask you to both. If there was really a zombie apocalypse, how do you think that you would do? And if you could take one character from this show or any of The Walking Dead universe with you, who would you take?
I think I’d do pretty well in a zombie apocalypse. I think that I'm good at team building. I think I know who around me adds value and who doesn't, and I think I could make good decisions. And I think that from a from a physical standpoint, I would adapt pretty quickly to what I needed to do. I think those things would help me. I think the chaos, the initial chaos and stupidity, might be what kills me immediately. It’s like, “You're all acting stupidly!” And then I might just say, “All right, this isn't worth my time.”
If I was gonna pick anybody from the universe that I've seen, I think I’d probably pick either Darryl or Carol, like in terms of their ability to survive and prosper. Probably Daryl, because he can live in the woods. This guy understands survival techniques, and he can use a bow and arrow; he can use primitive weapons. He's kind of a basic dude, so I probably pick him if I had to pick one person.
SCIFI VISION: All right, what about you, Natalie?
I don't think I’d do well in the zombie apocalypse. I really don't. [laughs
] I have such a weird, obsessive fear about the apocalypse, in general. And it's always humanity, right? It's not so much the zombies are the enemy. It's what this universe is about. It's what happens to humankind in all of these shows, and it really freaks me out. So, I don't know. I don't think I do well. I feel like I'd be like one of the people in the first season of The Walking Dead
, who's like, “I'm gonna just go in the CDC. Bomb the CDC; I'll stay here. It's fine.” That’s what I would do. So, maybe I would pick like [Edwin Jenner] (Noah Emmerich). Just like, kill me very quietly, and let's be peaceful about it. [laughs]
I don't think I’d do well.
...I'm also like, “No coffee?! What are we gonna [do]?”
There's no coffee. What's the point? [laughs]