Alycia Debnam-Carey talks zombies in Fear the Walking Dead: "They're not so smelly"

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Alycia Debnam-Carey talks zombies in Fear the Walking Dead: "They're not so smelly"
The actress stars in The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, which premiered last week

Ah, spin-offs. They're a necessary evil that breeds from a successful television show, with an outcome that can go deliriously right (Frasier from Cheers) or go catastrophically wrong (Joey from Friends). Fear the Walking Dead, a spin-off and prequel to The Walking Dead (TWD) premiered last Sunday, introducing us to a whole new cast of characters — as opposed to spin-offs which retained one or several characters.

A scene from Fear of the Walking Dead

Set in Los Angeles (unlike TWD, which is set in Atlanta and Virginia), it isn't based on any of Robert Kirkman's comic books — so tune into this zombie apocalypse with a fresh pair of eyes. Following a family unit in the early days of the outbreak, the foursome and community surrounding them come to terms with the impending doom. While characters include a teenage daughter and son with their guidance counsellor mother and her teacher boyfriend, the drama's anything but wholesome — its trailer suggests a bloody similar vein (quite literally) to its predecessor. 

Alycia Debnam-Carey plays the smart and precocious teen, Alicia, who has to deal with a deadly outbreak on top of other pubescent issues. In her first lead role as a series regular, the 22-year old Australian actress is poised to be the next breakout star in television. At a press junket earlier this month, she tells reporters what to expect from this spin-off.

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia

How did you remember Comic-Con? Because the welcome there was quite overwhelming.
Yeah, it was kind of unique though because no one knew our show yet.  No one had any idea who we were or what to expect.  So, they kind of really didn't know what to ask us.  But the energy is amazing, and it's so incredible being supported by such a huge amount of fans and dedicated people to this show.  So, that was insane. I think I slept maybe like six hours, but you know.

How can you describe this show? We've seen the gore of The Walking Dead. Here we're seeing a family show like Melrose Place but with zombies.
There you go.  That's your tagline.

Walking dead

How do you find that balance? On the one hand you do want to attract that audience from The Walking Dead, but on the other hand you want to keep it as different and as fresh.  
It is pretty fresh, because so much of it's new. The zombies are real fresh. They're not so smelly, yeah.

Now we have a platform where people can see the same content all over the world.  Have you ever thought about the consequences of such universal viewing?
I mean it's in the Zeitgeist, these things, this idea of the apocalypse — it's very relevant to our society right now. Whatever number of issues there are: The environment or human elements, it's very relevant. That's connective already.  

As a trained percussionist, how do you approach acting, especially in the situations when you're running from the walking dead and there are drums in the background?
Well, the funny thing was when Adam (director Adam Davidson) was showing me some of the music he wanted to use, and there was all of this Flying Lotus stuff, which is heavy percussion, and I was like, "yes, that's sick," — like I love this.  The amazing thing was Rubén Blades is an amazing Latin musician. So when I told him about my percussionist past, he was just freaked out and he was like, "I want to see everything. Show me," and I was like, "no, I'm not that good". I mean, I definitely connect musically. A lot of my emotion that I find in scenes is often accompanied by some kind of musical seed. 

For more on Fear of the Walking Dead, click here.

Text: Adibah Isa

  • Image:
    Getty Images,
    Justin Lubin/AMC
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