***The following interview contains spoilers for 11.12***
In tonight’s all-new episode of The Walking Dead
, Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) and Lance Hornsby, played by Josh Hamilton, toured Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside. Hornsby wants to bring the communities into the fold, but it’s clear to Milton it’s because he wants to run them and the power that comes with it.
Recently, Hamilton spoke with Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about Hornsby’s motivations. According to the actor, Hornsby does believe what he’s saying, but it’s twofold. “I think that he really does believe sincerely in the mission of the Commonwealth,” said Hamilton, “which is trying to recreate as much of the world as possible and expand [that] vision and provide safety and community and options and [be] not just scraping by. On the other hand, I think he is a politician and sort of says different things to different people, depending on what he thinks they might want or need to hear.” The actor added that Hornsby is also after Milton’s acceptance, though he may not be aware of it.
Viewers see from tonight’s episode that Hornsby is willing to go far to get what he wants. “I think [he’s] constantly weighing the pros and cons of any given situation,” said Hamilton, “but in terms of, what is going to provide the greater good. Not everyone can win all the time, certainly not in society that is as class oriented and capitalistic as the Commonwealth. So, I think every situation is a balancing act for him, as it is for anyone who's in a position to make decisions.”
During the interview, Hamilton also talked about Hornsby seeing himself in Carol (Melissa McBride), how he feels about hurting Eugene (Josh McDermitt), what it was like shooting walkers, and much more. Please read the full transcript below and be sure to watch The Walking Dead
Sundays on AMC and AMC+.
SCIFI VISION: To start off, and I know you can't obviously tell me everything, but can you sort of talk about what his goal is, because he makes the comment to Carol about reasons people want power, but it seems like maybe he just wants power for the sake of power, even though he doesn't outright say that. So, can you talk a bit about that?
Yeah, I think that is a perfectly logical thing to wonder, and I think you could ask that about many, if not every leader or politician in the world, really. Do they really believe in the things that they espouse, or do they just have some unquenchable crav[ing] and need for power and position?
For Lance, I think it's complicated. I think that he really does believe sincerely in the mission of the Commonwealth, which is trying to recreate as much of the world as possible and expand [that] vision and provide safety and community and options and [be] not just scraping by. On the other hand, I think he is a politician and sort of says different things to different people, depending on what he thinks they might want or need to hear, but I think that he is sincere, as much as much as a politician can be. I mean, I think he maybe even doesn't know himself what his motivations are. I think it's complicated. I think a lot of it has to do with his feelings about Pamela and wanting to impress her and be accepted by her and seen by her on not just a survival level. I think [it’s] those things that he might not even be aware of him in himself, but I think that is some of what is motivating him.
I question his motives, I guess. I know he’s so interested in building up the communities, and I know, he wants to run them, but I think about how he and the others were meeting in the dark in the last episode, where Eugene found him, and I haven't read the comic books, but I almost kind of wondered if he's planning something. It seems like maybe they're involved in trying to overthrow Milton or something or at least that there’s more to it, and he’s up to something. Is there anything you can can say about their clandestine meetings?
In regards to Pamela?
Yeah, and why he's meeting with this group?
I mean, certainly, like any large organization, I think there is a shadow operation that exists underneath the main levers of power. In [Episode 11], I think they were taking that idea and running with it, and [that] sense of the sort of conspiracy paranoia, sort of deep state ideas that seems to have gained so much traction in our society. How much of that is imagined or exaggerated, I don't know. I think that was a specific tone and style that they were playing with for that episode, specifically.
And like anyone who works under people of great power, I think they always think that they're the ones who are really doing all the [work], keeping the machine running really, like, “Well, sure you're in power, but we're the ones who are really keeping it going.” I think Lance very much feels that way, that Pamela has no idea and doesn't really appreciate everything he's doing to keep things running smoothly…Everyone thinks, “I’d do a better job than the person who's giving the orders.” So, I think that is definitely a part of Lance, but at the same time, I think his feelings for Pamela are complicated. I don't know that he's necessarily trying to overthrow her, but I do think he wants a little bit more of a piece of the pie, a lot more responsibility. I think he feels like he's worked, and he's earned it and just doesn't want to be an errand boy or a fixer for the rest of his life. I think he feels like he's been around long enough. He knows how the sausage is made. I think he believes he would be a good leader to have some more responsibility.
Do you think though he ever put stock in kind of his social game, I guess? Because obviously he really hurt Eugene. But, I mean, what he said wasn't untrue; he did help them.
As much as he’s kind of sleaze ball, he did help them at the same time.
I think that's how he rationalizes his actions to himself. I think he's very pragmatic. He's a realist, and he thinks, “Hey, I'm sorry.” I think he truly is sorry that he hurt Eugene, and that's what he had to do to get what he needed, but for the overall, you know, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, that kind of mentality. I think he thinks, ultimately, “I think this is for the greater good.” I think he sincerely does feel badly. I think he really does like Eugene. I think he respects Eugene's intelligence, and I think there's a part of him that probably it was hard for him to hurt Eugene and to lead him that way. Also, those machinations, his actions were started before he really got to know Eugene, and I think there was a part of him that when he realized how attached Eugene was getting - I don't think he knew that Eugene was going to be the hardcore, romantic that he is, and as soon as he professed his deep love, I think there's a part of him that was like, “Oh, okay, maybe we should nip this in the bud before it gets any worse.”
The other thing I want to talk about is about Hornsby’s relationship with Carol. Other than that she got the wine for him, which obviously was a big thing, what do you feel is the reason that he is looking to her? Because I almost wondered if he maybe sees himself a little bit in her, because she's very good at playing the game and knowing how to use what she has to get what she wants.
I think that's spot on. I think he sees in her someone who is always thinking ten steps ahead, and he immediately recognizes that and admires that and sees how useful that could be for his own ambitions, and not in a purely manipulative way. I think he really does respect her. I think he likes her too, but like anyone who is in politics, I think he's like, “Okay, she could be very useful.” I mean, she already has been. She really comes through and saves him with the wine. So, I think he's just, “Oh, yeah, this is someone I could really work with.” I think you're exactly right; that's why he identifies with her.
In this week’s episode, I kind of assumed Hornsby was the one that let the walkers in, but I don't think they ever actually said one way or another. But I feel like they kind of had it under control; even if he did do that, people didn't necessarily die from it [because they were there], but how far is he do you think willing to push things and not care about other people's well being?
It's a good question. I think like any leader or politician, I think [he’s] constantly weighing the pros and cons of any given situation, but in terms of, what is going to provide the greater good. Not everyone can win all the time, certainly not in society that is as class oriented and capitalistic as the Commonwealth. So, I think every situation is a balancing act for him, as it is for anyone who's in a position to make decisions. So, I don't think he's a sociopath. I think he's pragmatic.
Can you talk about filming the scene at the end of the episode, when he shoots the walker? Because that was pretty cool the way they shot it.
Yeah. I mean, the funnest part about that was, well, first of all, it was my first time getting to interact with [walkers], or it was certainly my first kill. The funny part [is that] they were very far away, the first ones that I shot, and because we don't even use blanks on the show - at least in this season; I don't know what they did before - but in order for the walkers to drop, they couldn't just see what I was doing. They were too far away to see me pull the trigger. So, I had to go, “Bang! Bang!” when the camera was behind me, which, on one hand felt incredibly silly, but the other hand even played up more like, just the fun of make-believe, like when you were a kid and just playing those kinds of games, which is, I think, something that can be easily lost when you get into the mechanics and the reality sometimes of making the actual product. So, it really brought me back to like a place of childhood of just, you know, like, “Bang! You're dead! Bang!”
And in terms of his actual emotional state, I think he's someone who thrives on a challenge. I think “no” is just a starting point for him to [start] negotiating. So, I think when Pamela gives him just a little bit of leeway to pursue his dream, I think it's like she gives him an inch, and he thinks…“I can run with this; I can work with this.” I think he just thinks, “Yes, this is it.” I think he's energized by the challenge that he sees before him, and is even more turned on by it.
I know you haven't obviously done a whole lot, but do the walkers gross you out at all, working with them? Because obviously, it's not the same watching it as it is filming it, but at the same time, you're closer to it than we are. So, does it affect you at all?
Yes, it's an incredibly odd thing, because when you first see them in the morning, you're like, “Oh!” there is that moment of like, “Jesus, whoa!” and then, you sort of talk to them, and they take out their teeth, and they're just so nice. Then, you find yourself chatting with these decaying corpses as if it's just no big thing. Then, every once in a while, you'll sort of see them out of the corner of the eye, and you'll just be like, “Whoa, what is [that]?!” It does blur the line between watching the show and being in it, which I love. There's a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief that is still there, even when you're working with them, just because the effects are so brilliant, and how they do it. I’m usually just filled with admiration at the makeup and effects team.