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Andrew Lincoln knows a thing or two about risks, even before he’d even heard of The Walking Dead. After all, this is the creep who rocks up at Keira Knightley’s door every Christmas and tries to steal her away from her husband using a bunch of hand written cue cards. Thank God he’s never done that as Rick in The Walking Dead or I think I’d want to puke even more than that time I watched Love Actually all the way through.
But working on The Walking Dead has come with its own challenges and its own risks, and Lincoln is perfectly aware that some fans have been less than happy with season 7 so far. But let’s face it, season 7 was always going to be risky with a major death (or two) in the very first episode following that divisive cliff-hanger. Then if the writers wanted to follow the comics, they had to have a significant period of Negan getting Rick under the thumb and being cock of the walk. Throw in Daryl eating dog food and a whole episode dedicated to Tara meeting a new group of strangers and it’s safe to say, this has been a risky first half of the season.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Andrew Lincoln admits it’s been as painful shooting it as it has been for audiences to watch it. But he also makes it clear that this is how it needed to be. He says that showrunner Scott Gimple wanted “rather than just have a very cool exciting build up to war between Negan and Rick, he wanted people to want more than that — to really feel that they wanted justice, and then to also acknowledge the cost of what had happened and why they were willing to risk it all again while realizing that they were putting many, many, many lives back in the firing line.”
Lincoln acknowledges that there have been mixed reactions to season 7 so far, but thinks that some negative reactions are the price to pay for making something which he calls “different and unique and challenging — and hopefully dangerous and new”. Despite some whining from fans of the show (and even more wailing from those who have finally ditched it), Lincoln stands by “everybody telling this story, particularly the writers and everybody directing it,” adding that he thinks it’s a “very brave, bold, and also challenging story that we’re attempting.”
Of course the final episode before the mid season break left fans with a substantial ray of hope that Rick has found his big boy pants again and Negan will eventually get what’s coming to him. Lincoln suggests that “this season made a lot more sense once we got the last role of film in the can” for the season finale.
But that doesn’t mean the writers are done with taking risks. Lincoln says he admires them for it. Well that explains his behaviour in Love Actually then.
Have the writers played it too risky this season or just right?