Exclusive Interview: The Walking Dead's Medina Senghore

***The following interview contains spoilers for 11.14***

Medina SenghoreOn tonight’s all-new episode of The Walking Dead it was revealed that Annie, played by Medina Senghore, who fans were introduced to in last week’s episode as part of the Riverbend community, is actually not only Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)’s wife, but she is pregnant with his child.

During the episode, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is shocked to find out that Annie actually already has been told by Negan about the atrocities he committed and is still with him. Seeing what he did and being told about it, however, are two different things. Senghore recently told SciFi Vision that she does believe Annie knows how bad it really was. “I think Negan and Annie are both pragmatic enough,” said Senghore. “I think they're two people who are at a place of acceptance of their flaws, and I think that maybe is part of the cement that binds them. So, I think she really does know.”

Will their conversation impact Maggie at all with how she still feels towards Negan? “I know that Annie sure as heck hopes it does,” said the actress, “because I think Annie’s survival and Negan’s survival, from any perspective, depends on figuring out a way for Negan and Maggie to occupying the same planet. So, I know that is sure what Annie hopes.”

Medina SenghoreFor more from Medina Senghore about playing Annie, working with Morgan and Cohan, and much more, read the full transcript below.
SCIFI VISION:  Can you first talk about how did you get the role?

MEDINA SENGHORE:   It's really funny. It was a day that I had a bunch of auditions, and this was actually the third one I did that day. I was so exhausted, but I was like, “You know what? “Let me knock this out.” And sometimes, when you're tired, you do your best work, because all your defenses are down.

When you got the the script to audition, did you know much about it, or did they give you a fake script? I know sometimes they do that with this show.

Oh, they're so sneaky. Yeah, they give you a fake script. Then, you do your detective work and try to see, “Is there some context I can figure out?” But it's a potentially frustrating dance that I've found ways to make fun, because it really is like a little detective mission. You have to go on.

Had you watched the show before auditioning? I mean, did you know anything about it?

I knew a little about it. I hadn't watched it all the way through, but I dropped in here in there and had seen bits and pieces.

So, I wanted to ask you specifically about Annie’s relationship with Negan. Do you think that he actually has - I don't know if I want to say “told her everything,” because she says that he told her everything, but I feel like relaying that what he did is not the same thing as seeing kind of the violence of what he did. Do you think that she's aware of how bad it actually was?

I think Negan and Annie are both pragmatic enough. I think they're two people who are at a place of acceptance of their flaws, and I think that maybe is part of the cement that binds them. So, I think she really does know.

I know sometimes, as an actor, you're given stuff that maybe the audience doesn't see. Did they give you anything about her backstory? Because that it sounds like she's done things. I don't know what she's done, but, obviously, it sounds like maybe she was able to forgive him for things have happened in her past. Do you know anything about her that you were given? Even if you can't tell me what it was?

The writers are so creative, particularly on this show, that I tend to try to fight the urge to create too much backstory for myself, because, like, I don't want to get married to something or create something…I'm not a writer. What they come up with, I'm gonna read it and be like, “Oh, that was so much more awesome than what I thought.” So, it's hard, but I try to keep as much of a blank slate as possible and then see what the the awesome writers come up with.

Okay, that's fair. Saying that, is there anywhere anywhere though other than the script that you kind of took like inspiration for her, I guess, that you’re thinking about as you're creating your version of her? Because to some extent, obviously, you do have to put your own creative spin on it somewhat at least.

I actually got a lot of inspiration from the character of Hart (Jenique Hendrix). We don't see her for that long, but the little bit that you do see of her and of Ian (Michael Biehn)'s character, I think you learn a lot about the community he's a part of, and those two characters were a huge jumping off point for me.

Medina SenghoreSo, do you think that her conversation with Maggie - and probably [her reactions] we're going to see more after the fact, but do you think her conversation with Maggie impacted Maggie at all, her ever being able to forgive Negan?

I know that Annie sure as heck hopes it does, because I think Annie’s survival and Negan’s survival, from any perspective, depends on figuring out a way for Negan and Maggie to occupying the same planet. So, I know that is sure what Annie hopes.

Can you talk about working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Laura Cohn?

Oh, man, you know, when you come into a show that's been on for a long time, there's a lot of nervousness, but they both are just so kind and just so chill and so welcoming that it was so easy to just slip in and work with them. They're both so open and generous. It was a guest actor's dream.

Now, here's another question you probably can't answer, but I'm going to try. Obviously, we know she's going to be back. I mean, Negan's coming back, there'd be no reason we wouldn't see Annie. Is there anything at all that you can kind of tease without spoiling anything, that’s coming up for your character?

You know, all we can all do is speculate and hope and imagine, and I think that's part of the fun of the show. So yeah, I would just say, I just know we all want to survive, want our loved ones to survive. That's all I know.

What did you find the most challenging about the role so far?

I think the, the greatest challenge is, and you alluded to it, it's because there's so much action in the show and everything moves so fast that we get to see these little bits of the character's life, but there's so much life that's happening in between scenes, or when we're not seeing them. So, I think that the hardest part has just been like, I know so much more about Annie’s life than we end up seeing on screen and just holding all that in and be[ing] like, “I want to share it. I want you all to know this.”

Well, maybe once the show's over, they'll let you share it and tell people.

So, how do you feel about working with the walkers? Are you grossed out by the effects? I know some people think it's funny, because they're wearing face masks and stuff on set and chilling out. How is that for you?

I'm easily scared. I'm a very scary person, and they creep me out to no end. Also, I mean, the costuming and the masks, they're very realistic. So, the the costuming being very realistic and me being a very easy mark, [laughs] combines to it being a very creepy experience, really.

Can you talk about the stunt work that you've done for the show or any kind of weapons training?

Yeah, in [episode] thirteen, I get my first onscreen kill. There's a little bit of action in each episode. Yeah, Annie’s a fighter. She's a survivor, and she fights hard and a little recklessly.

Who would you like to have more scenes with?

You know who I'd love to have more scenes with? Lydia. I find her character so fascinating, and Cassidy [McClincy], who plays her, is literally the most joyful person I've ever met.

I was going to say, her interactions with Negan are very interesting as well.

Yeah, that's an interesting dynamic right there.

Now, this is sort of a silly question, but I’ve asked a lot of the cast. If there was a real zombie apocalypse, how do you think that you would fare, and if you could take a character from the show with you, either alive or dead, who would you take and why?

I would take I would take Negan, and you're gonna think “Oh, you're saying that just because you play Annie, but I think my strategy for survival would be a little bit like his. I think he understands human nature, and he leads according to what human nature is, the good and the bad.

Well, he’s definitely good at surviving and finding ways to survive; you can't you can't deny that. Do you think though on your own that you would be able to to do well? I guess if you're scared of things, you probably would run away from the walkers maybe like I would! [laughs]

I think I understand the power of community, and knowing how scary I am, I think I'd be smart enough to find myself in [a] community that what I bring adds something, and then, I'd find people who bring what I don't have. Hopefully we’d all survive.

Medina SenghoreSo, I know [only two episodes will have aired], but, have you felt that fan reaction yet? I know, especially with COVID, it's hard too, because you're not around as many public places, but maybe on social media. Have you kind of felt the love from the fans yet?

Oh, I have. Yeah, I've felt that, and it's so much fun, because, I mean, there's so much stuff going on in life and the world that can really drag you down. So, I'm just a fan of people who find things that they're enthusiastic about and that bring them joy, and [I] lean into them. I love the fan community

Now, I'm going ask you a couple not about the show. Do you have an ultimate dream role that you'd still like to do? Just kind of off the top of your head? Or maybe somebody you'd like to work with?

Yeah, it's so funny, when I was a kid, and my aunts and uncles would ask me what I was going to be when I grew up, I would always say, “I'm going to be the first black woman on the Supreme Court.” And I'm about to lose my shot at that, [laughs] because I think Ketanji Brown [Jackson], hopefully is gonna get confirmed. So, now, I think my only hope is going to be to maybe play her, so I can keep my promise to my aunts and uncles. [laughs]

Well, hopefully in the future; you never know. Is there something you look for, in particular, when you're taking on a role?

Who you're working with is huge, because that's like seventy percent of the game. So, who the team is, and, you know, top to bottom who you'll be working with is definitely something that can make a project attractive. Then, the writing. The writing is a huge factor, too.

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