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Exclusive Interview with The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand

His thoughts on Aaron's evolution and 5 words that sum up the 6th season finale

© by Terri Clark

After earning his BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Ross Marquand moved to L.A. to pursue an acting career. Once there he realized his knack for impersonations could further open doors.  Soon he was both acting and doing voice work for television and film. Prior to his role of Aaron on The Walking Dead he was best known for playing Paul Newman in an episode of Mad Men.

Talk Nerdy With Us had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing this charming talent at Walker Stalker Denver. Here’s what he had to say:

rossmarquandfinale2What has been the greatest challenge of work on the show?

The greatest challenge for me was making sure I didn’t come in and screw up one of my favorite shows. (laughs). I mean, truthfully I was a big fan before I even got on it and I never wanted to be that weak link. I never wanted to be the one that came into this amazing show and messed it up. And so far, as far as I can tell, in my opinion, it has not been messed up by anybody and that’s great.

Well, you’re awesome.

Thank you. I just mean every character. Every new actor that comes along just keeps adding to the caliber and the talent of this program. I’m still pinching myself that I’m a part of this program ‘cause I cannot believe that I get to work with these actors day in and day out. It’s the biggest, best honor I’ve ever had.

Aaron feels personally responsible for the Wolves invasion, which is why he sides with Rick when he makes the decision to attack the Saviors. Do you think that is a decision that he will come to regret or continue to stand behind?

I think that the way Aaron has gone about his recruiting, and how he’s viewed defense before everything that happened with the wolf attack, has been that of live and let live, you know. Sort of like Morgan, but a little bit more pragmatic. If someone is actively threatening him he’s not afraid to fight back, but he also wants to maintain peace. That said, after the wolf attack, I think it changed something in him and he realized that perhaps a preemptive attack, like we saw in Negan’s compound a few episodes ago, might be the best option because if someone is a clear threat you don’t need to give them a chance to prove that they’re still a threat. They’re either a threat or they’re not. It’s interesting, ‘cause I think from a political standpoint you can certainly draw parallels to a lot of the skirmishes we’ve had around the world. And I think it’s interesting to see both Aaron and all the other Alexandrians really adopt this more aggressive approach to defense.

In a season where the theme’s been…that the greatest monsters can actually be human, do you worry about him at all going down that path?

rossmarquandfinaleI think all of them are fearful of their darker nature. As we’ve seen with Carol, with Rick, and certainly with…even Daryl. Who’s been always a very strong, brave and put together character. I think that we’re finding that people are a lot more fragile than they let on. And once there’s a chink in the armor you get to really see their vulnerability and sometimes they try to mask that vulnerability with violence and I think, because he feels partly responsible for that wolf attack he’s letting his more aggressive base nature come out of him. And I don’t know if he’s going to be happy with what he sees.

I’m honestly scared to death to watch the finale. I’m so nervous about it. I know you can’t talk about it, but if you were to pick five words that would give a theme or a feel for it, what would they be?

I would say…ennui. I would say it’s Samuel Beckett meets Mad Max. That’s how I would say it.

We think he jests about “ennui,” but we’re very intrigued by his Samuel Beckett meets Mad Max analogy. Playwright and avante-garde author Beckett was most known for his bleak tragicomic outlook and gallows humor. Could Ross be referencing Negan?

Look for part two of our interview with Ross coming soon. Learn about his talent for impressions, how he got started and what he’s working on now, as well as details on his panel with Jordan Woods-Robinson and the impact they’ve had on the LGBTQ community. You’ll also be able to find lots more Walker Stalker coverage.  ‘Til then, batten the hatches…Lucille is coming!

Written by Terri Clark

Terri Clark is an entertainment writer, TV addict, pop culture geek and award-winning young adult author. She loves the access Twitter has given her to the people behind her favorite books & TV shows. TV isn’t just a static sport anymore. (Yes, sport! Watching as much as she does requires commitment, dedication and endurance.) She's a writer and lead editor for Talk Nerdy With Us. Please follow her at terriclarkbooks on Facebook and Twitter. You can find info on her YA books at TerriClarkBooks.com.

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