Kim Dickens on how Alien influenced Fear The Walking Dead and more

When Fear The Walking Dead hit TV screens earlier this year, fans everywhere were desperate to see how The Walking Dead started. But instead of the zombie bloodbath they expected, viewers witnessed the struggle of one family as they tried to stick together through everything from drug addicted to yes, the apocalypse. We talked to Fear The Walking Dead star Kim Dickens to find out why the spin-off is so different from the original, and what we can expect from the second highly-anticipated season.

Were you a fan of The Walking Dead before you joined Fear The Walking Dead?

"I was aware of its popularity, but I had not seen it myself, I had not been watching it no. And in fact... the first I saw of it was when I was shooting Gone Girl and I was with my co-star Patrick Fugit, and it was a night shoot and we were sitting in a police car I think in between takes or something – it was probably just a driving scene or something – and Patrick started showing me The Walking Dead on his iPhone and we just sat there in-between takes watching that on his iPhone! I thought it was riveting. I mean, we were watching it on an iPhone and it was still riveting, you know! Since then I’ve seen tons of it – there’s been a few marathons on so I’ve been glued to the television for those, I love it and I think it’s awesome."

Did you have any reservations about doing a spin-off of such a popular TV show?

"Reservations, no. I mean because it’s not an uncommon thing, it’s sort of popular to find a new version of it and this is such a different... such a unique way to do anything like that, I thought it was in no way diluting the franchise, but instead it was offering a different window into a different time and different area and I thought that was very smart. But of course, I was very aware of the huge audience that The Walking Dead has and as we got closer to airing the show I started to feel nervous about that, like 'Oh I hope they like us too!'"

Did you consciously try to be different from TWD?

"Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman had the vision of the show, and Adam Davidson is our director who has a huge emotional input and creative input into the show as well... it was more their call of us having a much slower pace than the original, and seeing fewer zombies as it's just the beginning of the outbreak. It’s really just on the fringes... the first to go down were the homeless people or the drug addicts. That’s the first that were hit, the weaker or forgotten people, you know? So there are fewer zombies really. I think we pick up speed and we pick up zombie count as we go, but that was just their intent from the beginning, I think, was to make it a different time period."

Where did the inspiration come from for your character?

"Well, really, honestly it was from the page. And I just went in and auditioned for it, but it didn’t really come to me, I just sort of jumped in and started doing my own thing with it, and when they first talked to me about it, they were like 'Look, she’s going to be like the Ripley of the show' – Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien, and so I thought 'That sounds good, I’ll do it!' because what’s not fun about that? She’s an amazing character so that may have been a vague inspiration in their eyes."

What did you find most challenging?

"It was exhausting in a way, and then at the end of the day I couldn’t wait to go back and get back into it the next day. So I think just the amount of the responsibility for each episode was a lot of work. And then the action stuff was a little bit challenging, but that was really fun. That was just something that we had to really focus on in a different way and I really enjoyed that."

What are you most proud of from the show?

"Actually I felt proud of a scene that was very difficult between Frank Dillane - his character Nick - and my character, when I go in and discover that he’s been stealing morphine from a sick neighbour and I lose control and I hit him. Those scenes were tough to do, and I was proud of them; when I saw them I just thought we captured a real moment that happens. It’s not always the right thing, or not necessarily the wrong thing either, but somehow it was just so heartbreaking, I thought. So that was a moving scene."

Do you think FTWD will start to lead into TWD?

"Yeah, I don’t know. I really have no idea. People ask if we ever think we’ll cross over with them, I think that would be really interesting if we eventually caught up and were able to cross over with them somehow."

Will the family drama continue as the zombie count rises?

"I think we’ll have some of that for sure because we’re still a family and we’re still together, so I think we’ll still deal with that, but it’ll be interesting to see how we grow and if we stick together as a family, if we become more fractured. I think it’ll be fascinating, but I think those relationships are very strong and I love the relationship that my character has with Travis, I love the relationship that Madison has with her son, and I love the relationship that she has with her daughter. I think they’re all distinct and complex relationships that hopefully we get to continue and explore, and I’m pretty sure we will."

What can we expect from the second season?

"I wish I knew! I really am not playing, I really don’t know and I’m waiting for my script! They are keeping me in the dark, I just know everything when it’s in the script and I kind of like it that way."

Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is available on Blu-ray & DVD on December 7 2015, courtesy of eOne.

Lauren O'Callaghan

Lauren O'Callaghan is the former Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar+. You'd typically find Lauren writing features and reviews about the latest and greatest in pop culture and entertainment, and assisting the teams at Total Film and SFX to bring their excellent content onto GamesRadar+. Lauren is now the digital marketing manager at the National Trust.