There’s a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln that reads, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
On AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Laurie Holden’s Andrea has recently come to realize that The Governor didn’t get a passing grade when it came to that exam. But in the first episode of 2013, fans saw Andrea actually rise to the challenge herself, taking charge of comforting the people of Woodbury (who, let’s face it, aren’t all sadistic sociopaths) and inspiring them to stick together and carry on, not unlike the late Dale did for her following the loss of her sister in Season 1.
While Andrea still doesn’t know the full depths of The Governor’s depravation (watching him grieving over his zombie daughter Penny is similar to what many of the characters have gone through), she finds herself on a mission this week when some changes come to Woodbury.
“Andrea’s gonna get to the bottom of this,” Laurie, who plays the blond spitfire, told AccessHollywood.com on Thursday, previewing Sunday’s big episode, which kicks off at 9 PM ET/PT on AMC. “Your head’s going to explode.”
She also shared quite a bit more in our interview, including defending her character’s choices, which seem to be inspired (although not always effective) by Andrea’s concern for others, and for the importance she places on keeping kindness, a sense of morality and some normalcy in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world.
AccessHollywood.com: [‘The Walking Dead’ creator] Robert Kirkman said Sunday, on AMC’s ‘Talking Dead,’ that he thinks The Governor sees Andrea as a potential co-leader. Do you agree with that?
Laurie Holden: I think The Governor’s a very smart man and I think that he sees Andrea’s a very strong woman. I think he’s watching her like a hawk to see what she’s going to do. And if she will help his cause and help lead [the people] in the way that he wants the town to be led then he will ally with her. If not, she’s more or less disposable.
Access: How much is Andrea’s concern for the people of Woodbury going to affect her journey this season? She loves Michonne and she loves Rick’s people, but she’s got people in Woodbury to care for (which we saw in her speech in the midseason return)?
Laurie: A lot of people ask me if Andrea is Team Rick or Team The Governor. She’s Team The People and it’s not just her friends at the prison, it’s the 74 people in Woodbury — the men, women, children, the elderly. It’s both communities, and I think her modus operandi now is, ‘How can I make peace? How can there be no bloodshed? How can I make sure nobody dies?’ And it’s not choosing one side or the other, it’s, ‘What do I need to do to make sure that the people live?’
Access: Are you surprised that her character arc has taken her to this place… She was so devastated at the end of Season 1; Season 2 she was still reeling from everything that happened to her sister and she went a little wild, and now she cares about all these people? It’s incredible.
Laurie: It’s incredible. I feel like I shot six movies in the last three years and I feel such incredible gratitude for the show that as an actress, I’ve been able to play a character that has gone on such a rollercoaster of an emotional journey. If you’d told me in Season 1 [that] in Season 3, ‘You will experience love of sorts, you will laugh, you will smile,’ I would have said, ‘No way.’ I would have never ever in a million years anticipated or believed that this journey is possible.
Access: I’ve got to think that as an actress, this is almost like a role of a lifetime, in that you have such an incredible female character.
Laurie: It’s fantastic, but it’s a double edged sword because I love Andrea, I breathe Andrea, I live it when I’m shooting it and when fans go nuclear on Andrea for a bad decision, i.e. shooting Daryl, i.e. falling for the sociopathic villain of the piece, I always feel so defensive and protective of her because I’m like, ‘She’s flawed, she’s human,’ and I think the reason why you either love Andrea or hate Andrea and you get frustrated with Andrea [is because] she’s a real human being. So many people have been like, ‘How could you be with that guy?’ First of all, she didn’t know that he was bat sh** crazy. But also, too, how many times in your life have you, as a woman, or your best friend or someone you cared about who’s awesome, shacked up with the wrong dude and you’re shaking them going, ‘Wake up.’ It’s so human. We’ve all done it. This is just magnified times a thousand because it’s the apocalypse and the stakes are higher.
Access: This week, Milton’s keeping an eye on Andrea. What’s coming up? Apparently it’s very important for your character?
Laurie: It’s enormous. God it’s huge… Your mind is going to explode.
Access: Last week she didn’t have a whole lot to do, she was storming around the place going, ‘Where’s the Governor!’
Laurie: And I know a lot of people are like ‘Why is she still in Woodbury?’ Well, I don’t really have access to a vehicle (laughs).
Access: She cares about the people there.
Laurie: Yeah, she cares about the people there. If she leaves, she’s walking away from 74 people. She’s really trying to make the right choice. She’s really mulling all of the information in her head and trying to formulate a plan and then she’s gonna take some major action… Andrea takes action, that’s this episode coming up.
Access: Could she be finding out more about The Governor this week? He may be crazy, but she hasn’t seen the full depths of how totally crazy he is.
Laurie: Yeah… People are just like, ‘What do you mean? You saw Penny in the closet?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I saw Penny in the closet, but you’re talking to a character who sat over my dead sister for two days, who loved Hershel — who kept his wife and family in a barn.’ We’re all grieving and it’s not black and white. People are still hoping there’s a cure. We still don’t even know how this virus began. So you can’t judge people for their way of handling the loss of the people that they loved. Sometimes it’s squirrely and it doesn’t make sense, but you can’t blame them because nobody has all the information.
Access: Will we see you teaming up with Milton as all? I like Andrea and Milton. I think they’re kind of fun together.
Laurie: I know, isn’t he a dear? I think that he’s caught in the middle of a very complicated situation and I think he has a lot of respect for The Governor… but at the same time, he’s a really good person. He’s a humanitarian and I think that [Milton] and Andrea, they really bonded over Mr. Coleman and they’re kindred spirits in a way. They want the best for humanity, so you may see an alignment of those two at some point — possibly.
“The Walking Dead” continues Sunday nights at 9 PM on AMC.
-- Jolie Lash