Though not a fan of zombie films and plagued by nightmares while shooting The Walking Dead's first season, actress Sarah Wayne Callies has come appreciate the wide appeal of the pop culture TV hit.
"When we got down to Georgia the first time to do this, we thought, you know, maybe a million genre fans would tune in and we'll try and do something cool and we'll try to do the most dangerous, honest version of this we can," the Hawaii-raised, B.C.-based actress told Jian Ghomeshi on CBC's Q cultural affairs show.
"Then it turned out that people responded to that [series] who had never seen a horror movie or read a comic book. There's something in the zeitgeist that is interacting with this show, something about our fears of the nameless creeping things that seem to be lurching unrelentingly towards us in the night."
The Emmy-nominated AMC TV drama returns for its third season on Oct. 14.
After playing an angelic character on TV's Prison Break, Callies said she was intrigued by The Walking Dead's polarizing figure Lori Grimes, the wife of main protagonist Rick and a character who fans either love or hate.
"What drew me to the gig is the recognition that there would always be two schools of thoughts about her. I love that we learn two things about her in the pilot: one that she's a mom and the other that she’s a sexual figure. That confluence makes people incredibly uncomfortable. She lives and breathes in the grey zone. There's nothing black and white about her."
Callies talked to Q about her theatre background, what makes Lori so divisive and playing to both the extremely vocal, Comic Con-attending Walking Dead fans as well as the largely silent viewership who tune in for the drama, rather than the zombies.