Laurie Holden on ‘The Walking Dead,’ Sleeping With the Enemy and Why Andrea is Misunderstood

Laurie Holden on 'The Walking Dead,' Sleeping With the Enemy and Why Andrea is Misunderstood
Laurie Holden on 'The Walking Dead,' Sleeping With the Enemy and Why Andrea is Misunderstood

Anyone currently watching AMC’s hit zombie series “The Walking Dead” knows that both the Governor (David Morrissey) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) are pretty clearly crazy. It may be a different kind of insanity for each, but they’ve both gone a bit off the deep end in recent weeks, to the alarm of the communities depending on their leadership. There’s one other character on the show, however, who’s had fans scratching their heads wondering just what she’s thinking by sticking around in Woodbury (and sleeping in the Governor’s bed). Played to perfection by Laurie Holden, Andrea may seem to some as a bit of a lost cause at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As the veteran actress, who’s also known for her work on “The Shield” and in “The Mist,” told us, Andrea’s really just misunderstood.

Indiewire recently sat down with Holden to discuss what’s keeping Andrea in Woodbury, the new showrunner for “The Walking Dead” and what might happen when the character gets to the prison.

What is Andrea doing over there in Woodbury? Why do you think she took such a liking to and saddled up with the Governor? She even ditched Michonne (Danai Gurira), the one person who had saved her life and cared for her.

Okay, she did not ditch the one person that saved her life. I need to clarify the situation.

She did not choose the Governor over Michonne. She chose community, a life and safety. Michonne is, and has always been, a misanthrope, and she would have not been happy in any sort of real community. I know that she’s found a home at the prison now, but she likes being on the move. Andrea was so grateful to have found this oasis — this nirvana — but there’s the expression, “if it’s too good to be true, it is,” and it’s all blowing up in her face. But she has not known until now that he was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

She’s seen a lot of little things, though. She’s seen the heads, his daughter and the fighting. She’s still there.

Well, she’s still there, but you have to understand that this is not the world as we know it. This is an apocalyptic world. Take Penny in the closet, for example. A lot of people were like, “Well, he kept his dead zombie daughter in the closet,” and I said, “Well, Andrea sat next to her dead sister for two days hoping that there would be a happy ending.” Hershel kept his wife and family members in the barn. We’re all grieving.

It doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense, or rub her the right way, but he is a leader, and it is the end of days. He has given her explanations but, to be clear, she has not known or had any clue that he was hurting or declaring war on any of her friends, ever. Because she would have never, ever been with him.

She’s in this place that’s kind of in between. She does know now and has to figure out what to do. I don’t get the impression that she’s scared to leave at all. Do you think it’s just this sense of community that’s keeping her there right now or do you think that she see part of herself in the Governor? They’re both leaders. They’re both strong-willed people. 

I think that the only similarity between Andrea and the Governor is that they’re strong in their lives, and then everything else is different. She thought that they were kindred spirits, and now she’s realizing that they’re nothing alike. The only reason she stays in Woodbury is because she is actively trying to figure out a way to stop the killing and make peace. It’s not about Team Rick or Team The Governor. It’s Team The People.

There are 74 people in Woodbury — men, women, children and the elderly — and then there are her friends at the prison, and she’s got to figure out a way to get through to both of these men to find a solution. She’s a peacemaker. And that is the only reason she’s in Woodbury. It’s not about a cozy, soft bed or any sort of warm, fuzzy feeling for that dude.

Do you think part of Andrea thinks that she can change or fix him in some way?

Yes, but not in that stereotype we all hear of with women trying to “change their men.” It’s not about changing him. It’s about reaching his humanity. He was a father. He lost his wife. There was a good man in him once, and so it’s really trying to reach his spirit and who he was prior to all this madness.

It’s the same thing with Rick. Rick is totally off the rails, which she’s about to learn. He’s an incredible human being and a natural born leader, but he’s not acting as his best self right now. Somewhere in there is that beautiful man that we all fell in love with.

You had established this rapport with the ensemble of Rick, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the rest prior to this season. It’s almost like this season was a whole new show for you. What was it like working with this new group of actors?

It was great. It was a real bold move for “The Walking Dead” because it was a departure, and we just hoped and had our fingers crossed that the Woodbury storyline would work. If you go back to episode three, it was like a new show. It was Andrea in a whole other set of circumstances and completely separated from the group and “The Walking Dead” as we knew it. It was a real challenge that paid off wonderfully in the sense that now we know that “The Walking Dead” can go anywhere. Now we can really open up the world of “The Walking Dead.” They can go anywhere and do anything and people can separate. We don’t always have to be together for it to work. That’s been glorious for the show.

Are you nervous at all about the direction of the series now that Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara have both been let go?

Scott Gimple, the new showrunner, has been a writer with us from very early on. He’s an incredible creative, and I think we’re about to enter a renaissance.

I think fans are a little bit nervous. They get nervous when things like that happen.

It’s been very traumatic for all of us. I mean, nobody wants to see their captain leave the ship, but the new showrunner is in-house, knows every character thoroughly, and is invested and passionate about the show. To be honest, the crew and the cast are such a fine oiled machine that I think it’s going to be more than fine. I think “The Walking Dead” is going to sail.

Does having Robert Kirkman around help ground the series as well?

I love seeing Robert Kirkman and having him around because he’s like “The Godfather.” He created us. He has a vision of this world and knows it better than anyone, so it’s wonderful having that interaction and that springboard where we can ask him questions to dig deeper about the overall arc and where we’re going to go. It definitely helps us to understand the world in which we live.

Say Andrea finally makes it back to the prison. It sure seems like that’s where she’s headed. Do you think there’s going to be a deep distrust in those other characters that were once her close friends?

Yes, I think that goes without saying. The sad thing is that it’s just an awful misunderstanding. They don’t know anything about what’s been going with Andrea in Woodbury. They just know that I shacked up with the sociopathic villain. The sad thing is that she wasn’t aware that he was doing all these terrible things and having all this squirrely behavior, so their distrust is unwarranted. It makes sense, but it’s not the Andrea that they know and love and have befriended. I think if they gave it some time, they’d realize that she’s still part of their family and she loves them dearly.

How do you think she’s handle that distrust?

I think it’ll break her heart. She’ll understand it and reason with it and do the best that she can with it, but it’s pretty heartbreaking when you reach out to people that you love and care for and they shun you.

Is there anything at all you can tell us about what’s to come for Andrea?

The only think I can say is that Andrea has a pure heart and she may be a bit of an idealist, but she wants peace. She’s going to go to the ends of the earth to try to make sure that there’s no blood on her hands, that there’s no war, and that the people are ok.

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