The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan Talks Maggie, This Season’s Monumental Changes & More Deaths To Come
Lauren Cohan is familiar to many as Rose from The Vampire Diaries, Vivian from Chuck or even Bela from Supernatural, but genre fans perhaps know her best as Maggie Greene from AMC’s The Walking Dead, which is currently shocking and entertaining audiences in equal measure on AMC on Sunday nights.
Last season we saw Maggie develop a relationship with Glen (Steven Yeun), stand up to her father Hershel (Scott Wilson) and be one of the few to escape the massacre at Hershel’s farm. This season Maggie was in the vanguard that stormed the abandoned prison with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and helped nurse her father back from the brink of death. In last week’s deeply emotional episode ‘Killer Within’ Maggie was forced to help Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) give birth by emergency caesarean – a procedure which ultimately killed Lori. The same episode saw the death of tough guy with a heart of gold T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Rick on the verge of a serious breakdown.
We caught up with Lauren this week to discuss how the fallout of the events of this episode will shape the season ahead, how Lori’s baby will change the group forever, more significant deaths to come and a ‘monumental’ shift in Glen and Maggie’s relationship.
Screen Spy: Fans of the show have really been buzzing over the deaths of Lori and T-Dog this week. Am I right in thinking you filmed the ‘Killer Within’ episode back in June? How hard has it been to sit on this story development and not tell people?
Lauren Cohan: Yes, before the season filmed, we really weren’t allowed to give spoilers of any nature. It was so difficult, because we were doing conventions and interviews and we couldn’t say anything besides we’re in a prison and there are zombies there! [laughing] It was interesting for Sarah Wayne Callies and IronE Singleton too because they couldn’t announce if they were doing other work. It was such a mad, mad episode to shoot, and saying goodbye to two major rocks of the show who’ve been there since the beginning was so tough. You guys can imagine how we all felt. I guess it kind of speaks for itself.
Screen Spy: Were you surprised by the decision to kill them off?
Lauren Cohan: Yes. I know that Lori was killed off in the comics so I think that for Sarah there was some expectation of it. But you’re never really prepared for any of it. You become so close and you just don’t want to say goodbye to people. These episodes are informing so much of the storyline this season. We understand that it’s all happening for a reason but it doesn’t make it less difficult. I know it was so hard for the fans too.
Screen Spy: Maggie was at the center of events during Lori’s death and the birth of her baby, and with Rick going into a partial meltdown, and Carol missing, will Maggie literally be left holding the baby?
Lauren Cohan: There are actually some interesting twists that come up concerning that. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that Maggie is pretty valuable out in the field. She retains the warrior role. That’s what I like about her. You see that side of her, and then you see her in her relationship with Glen with all the vulnerability too. It’s what makes her really fun to play. In a normal world, yes, I think Maggie would become the primary caregiver of the baby, but we don’t have these cut and dry roles anymore. What we see happen with the baby and how it changes everyone is going to be great. It’s going to be really surprising.
Screen Spy: Would Maggie have had it in her to shoot Lori?
Lauren Cohan: Great question! I’ve been thinking about it and I still haven’t decided. I know in that moment, it was so urgent to get out of that room. Maggie saw a flash in Carl’s face that told her he needed to be the one to do it. It’s one of those decisions that gets made in a heartbeat that you will always have guilt for. Both of those decisions – letting Carl take her life and essentially killing her by taking the baby out – that to me is what the show is all about. You don’t have time. You just have to decide – for better or for worse. [laughing] Oh God, just thinking about the whole thing now overwhelms me!
Screen Spy: Maggie has lost so much, but she still has her core family in Hershel and Beth, and her relationship with Glen. Do you think that she has managed to hang on to her humanity a little more than the others in the group? Or are we going to see her lose it at some point along the road this season?
Lauren Cohan: I’m glad to say that Maggie stays present in all of this. We see so much crazy unraveling this season and Maggie sort of remains a rock throughout, both for the group but for Glen especially. Maggie has lost a lot. She lost her mother and her brother, but she has also gained a love in all of this too.
Screen Spy: Maggie doesn’t die in the comic books. Does that give you some sense of having a safety net, or is there any such thing with a show like The Walking Dead?
Lauren Cohan: There really isn’t, to be honest with you. We do divert from the comic. I’ve been through the thought process where I think it could happen and if it did, how I would feel but then I just come back around to staying in the moment because I can not control it. I can not anticipate it and if I spend my energy on that I’m not going to do a good job. It doesn’t matter how long I’m on the show. I just want to live through this character as fully as I can. I can actually honestly say I just want to do justice to whatever time I have.
Screen Spy: Are we going to see any more significant deaths this season?
Lauren Cohan: There are a lot more surprises on the way – and it’s not just death – but yes there is going to be significant death too. That’s all I can say about that. But you are also going to see a lot of life.
Screen Spy: Will the circumstances under which Lori died change anything between Glen and Maggie as far as their relationship goes?
Lauren Cohan: It’s funny, because at the beginning of that episode we see Glen and Maggie engaged in the lightness and frivolity of sex, and then the worst case scenario happens – a baby is born and it literally takes someone’s life away. It’s another one that I find myself chewing over. And in some ways I love these questions being unanswered because it’s what she’s living through. I can tell you though that for Maggie things become more precious. You’re going to see a really big change between Maggie and Glen. It’s not something that can be pinpointed as having to do with Lori’s death specifically, or the baby’s arrival or even T-Dog’s death, but monumental changes come about this season.
Screen Spy: What’s your top tip for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse?
Lauren Cohan: Wait it out. Find a good group and wait it out. Hope for a cure and transcendence. Actually a cure might prove a red herring. [laughing] That’s a sneaky answer!
The Walking Dead continues Sunday 9/8c on AMC.