Walker Stalker Con Boston 2016 : Conversing with “The Governor” David Morrissey

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As I arrived at the beautiful Westin Hotel on the Waterfront in Boston for Walker Stalker Con, one thought, one mission was on my mind. I needed to hold congress with The Governor himself Mr. David Morrissey. Of course if one was to hold such a meet, then this venue was the optimum place.

So once I was checked in, I made my way to the escalators and took a long look around. This place of high ceilings and opulence was indeed a far cry from the high walls and heavily guarded security of the Woodbury community that I am used to seeing when it comes to dealing with this man.

Stepping off the escalator, as I neared the ballroom entrance their were two security guards in the doorway. I thought to myself “Ah this is more like it”.  After a brief exchange and check of the bag, I went on my way. The room was lit, but not too bright to keep a very appropriate atmosphere for those in attendance.

I quickly glanced around to survey my surroundings and it was a little overwhelming. There were booths for special guests as well adorned with proprietors for zombie survival equipment abound. Moments later I got my bearings and I saw the path to my goal. His line was right in front of me. I was there.

I have been wanting to meet this man ever since I first watched him on The Walking Dead. Every episode and scene he was part of was a captivating performance. I was a fan of the show before he arrived in Woodbury. His presence and what he brought to that story put it over the top for me though.

Inching ever so closer with each person that shook his hand, I found myself revamping in my head what exactly I was going to ask this man who is no doubt a stalwart master of his craft. The proof was right in front of me plain as day. Gone was the long imposing coat and shroud of The Governor. No longer present was the eye patch and stern scowl. No, there was a man who was smiling wide in appreciation for each and every single person he had the chance to be face to face with and each and every hand he shook. Now it was my turn..

Graphic Policy: So first off I just want to thank you for your time.

David Morrissey: No worries.

GP: You have done a lot of acting in the past. How does being on this show (The Walking Dead) compare to all your other work?

DM: Well you know, in terms of characterization and how you approach the work it’s no different than any other show. What is different is the writing is really good. So that always helps as an actor when the writing is so good. For me the big difference though is with a show like The Walking Dead, is it’s organization. It’s so well organized, it’s really well run. Every department is at the top of it’s game. As an actor when you feel that freedom and organization around you, that is the best thing for me. Do we have a lot of fun and stuff? Of course you do. We are never waiting around for anything. With other shows sometimes you are waiting around and you can get quite annoyed. On this show there is none of that so it’s really quite a joy.

GP: Do you prefer playing a hero or a villain?

DM: You know for me, it’s always about the writing. I don’t think anyone is all one thing. So you can’t truly say someone is all bad or all good. What makes the show so good is people have different aspects of those two extremes. Like Rick at times you wonder what he’s doing or going to do. Likewise with The Governor you get the sense, I mean he did do terrible things but you have moments where you wonder is he redeemable? Is he a nice guy? Could he ever change? So I think that is important as well.

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Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and The Governor (David Morrissey) – The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 13 – Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC

GP: To your point, since the writing is so involved and so deep, has working on this show taught you anything different about life and human psychology in general?

DM: No. I think where that comes from, at least for me is always about real life. It is always about the research I do into human nature. I think as an actor you’re always examining the extremes of human nature and what people go through. This show just makes you imagine extremes so you just have to tap into that. Really it’s more about your own imagination. As an actor, particularly of my age you’ve probably been in  a lot of different elements. You’ve done war movies, films about family relations, so you’re constantly putting yourself in the situation of people in upsetting circumstances. It’s sort have been a life long thing for me to learn, rather than just through The Walking Dead.

GP: Last but not least, do you think if there was to be a zombie apocalypse tomorrow, that you could channel The Governor in that situation?

DM: Eh probably not. When a human being is asked to perform an extreme, when things are happening, different things come out of you. You would never know how to behave. I think there are things in the world going on today that evokes that. It’s easy from far away to condemn people for behaviors when in reality, you don’t know what your own behavior would be until you are forced or when it’s your children who are in that situation. When it’s your wife or your kids being dragged off to who knows what. We would like to think how we would behave, whether in a brave way or a cowardly one. You don’t know. You just really don’t know. To me it’s really important not to condemn or judge people, until you been right there in those same shoes. That is the wonderful thing about acting is you get to put yourself in different peoples shoes. It truly is an empathetic craft and that’s what you have to do.

GP: Well put. Well thank you for your time. Have safe travels.

DM: No worries and likewise to you.

 

Well there you have it. I walked into the depths of Woodbury and walked out unscathed. Incredibly insightful and thought provoking stuff from a source who is no doubt a product of so much amassed knowledge. It was a pleasure and an honor to speak so candidly with a person of their craft whom I have much admiration for. I wish The Governor could come back, the show hasn’t been the same since his exit in my opinion. Great to see a man give so much back to his fans in such a genuine way. I will have an even greater appreciation for when I re watch those iconic scenes with him facing off against Rick and his crew. Great experience and I lived to tell the tale.