'The Walking Dead' Q&A: Alanna Masterson Talks Tara

Alanna Masterson Alanna Masterson

On AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Alanna Masterson’s character Tara appears to be the lone survivor from The Governor’s camp. But, if it weren’t for Glenn (Steven Yeun) in last week’s episode, it’s likely she would have been biter chow.

Demanding she get out of her garden suicide funk (she seemed immovable in one of farmer Rick’s vegetable pens, as walkers closed in), Glenn got Tara back on her feet, putting her on a mission to help him find his “wife,” Maggie.

Guilt-ridden over her role in the prison attack that ended the first half of Season 4, Tara quickly rose to the task, helping Glenn escape the prison, and saving him from becoming walker meat himself, when he passed out in front of a mini-herd.

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With her family and girlfriend gone, Tara has a lot on her plate, and not just from the trio of newcomers who cropped up in last Sunday’s episode. Speaking to AccessHollywood.com this week, Alanna shared some rather thoughtful views on how Tara is feeling, her motivations for helping Glenn, and a bit of insight into the gun-toting redhead who just made his “TWD” debut.

AccessHollywood.com: At this point, is Tara regretting fist-bumping Brian Heriot (The Governor) earlier in the season?

Alanna Masterson: I don’t know if the word’s ‘regretting.’ I think she was made to believe that this person would protect her and he did. I mean, that’s the thing. People say, ‘The Governor’s so bad!’ But in her eyes, he helped them. Ultimately, in the end, it was bad, but yeah, I think she’s… maybe just wishing that she had taken her family and gone another direction and not have left the apartment with him.

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Access: That’s a good point, because he did teach them a lot of skills. They walked away knowing how to kill a walker.

Alanna: Absolutely. People are like, ‘Oh, you must hate him,’ and it’s kind of like, ‘Well, you know, he did take them out of their home, where they probably wouldn’t have lasted anyway, and he tried his best — even though his intentions obviously failed.’ I think he really did want to create a home for Megan and Lilly and Tara and then [Tara], in turn, she wanted to create a home for her and Alicia and I think she just realized — when he took prisoners — that he wasn’t the man that she thought she knew.

Access: Do you think Glenn has basically given Tara sort of a renewed interest in life? She can now repent instead of committing suicide (by walker) in that prison garden of Rick’s.

Alanna: I think that in life, when someone makes a mistake, a very small percentage of people go way off the deep end, where they can’t get up or can’t move. I think a lot of people, once they realize that they’ve done something really wrong, will do whatever it takes to maybe make up some of it, even though she knows she can’t repay Glenn and fix everything. But if she can try, with all her might, to get him back to his wife, then she’s gonna do that. And I don’t know if it’s necessarily he’s given her a renewed chance, I think she’s just like, ‘I really f***ed up and I really gotta do something to make it up to these people. I don’t care what it is and what it takes [or] whether I die in the process,’ which I think is why Glenn and Tara are very similar. …. Glenn was the one who was always doing those crazy missions in the season and he was always… sort of the errand boy who did all the crazy stuff. … I think she just doesn’t care. She’ll do whatever it takes.

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Access: Do you think she needs to apologize to these people? She thought she was doing the right thing…

Alanna: I think that it’s not an apology to Maggie and Glenn, and Rick and Daryl. She doesn’t know these people. I think it’s an apology to her sister and her niece, because if her sister and her niece were alive and they ran into someone who needed help, they would help him. … I think it’s an apology to her family and to what she’s done to the prison. But I don’t think it’s necessarily like, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry, I’ll help you do whatever.’ I think it’s like, ‘I have to, for my own [conscience], make this right.’

Access: She lost everyone… but is so resilient and now, is taking on walkers, and saving Glenn. What do you think it is about her that can make her spring into action and just take life on?

Alanna: She’s just very tough. … She will fight until the end. It’s almost like that funny scene in ‘The Holy Grail’… What’s that movie? Where he like chops all his [arms] off and he’s like, ‘I’m still fighting,’ and they’re like, ‘No, you lost your arms!’ I don’t think she’ll ever give up. I think she could be surrounded by 800 walkers and she would fight her way out.

Access: I bet she’s glad that she [was able to give up Spaghetti-O’s].

Alanna: Yeah, but now I don’t know what hell she’s eating. That’s the funny thing in this show is you never see them eat food.

Access: Except for the David [Morrissey] scene [in the first half of the season]. I actually thought he was eating cat food, but he told me it was tuna.

Alanna: It was tuna. It was disgusting, and then I had to eat Slim Jims for my first episode and I ate like 20 Slim Jims ‘cause you know when you [sit down] to watch a movie, and the actors are sitting down to dinner and their forks are moving, but you never see them eat and you’re always like, ‘I know why you’re not eating! ‘Cause the food’s gross and you don’t want to eat it!’ So I was just like, ‘I’m not gonna be that person! I’m gonna like, commit.’ So I chowed down on the most disgusting Slim Jims ever. They were really gross (laughs).

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Access: Ahead of this coming episode, what does Tara think of Sgt. Abraham Ford? He’s gotten out of the truck. If you don’t know who he is [from the comics] … you’d be worried if you were a female and a guy said that to you: ‘What else do you have?’

Alanna: I mean, this is something that I had talked about a lot with [showrunner] Scott Gimple — he gets out of the car and he has a smile on his face and his gun is raised. So, right there, his body language is non-threatening. So, he [is] kind of like, ‘You’ve got a mouth on you’ — which she clearly does – ‘what else you got?’ I think is just, I think that’s just Abraham’s personality…

“The Walking Dead” airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.

-- Jolie Lash

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