Flipping the Blender On – Christian Serratos and Greg Nicotero (The VH Interview)

As the war between Alexandria and The Saviours continues to rage in The Walking Dead, we were lucky to sit down for a chat with the lovely Christian Serratos, better known to fans as the gun-toting powerhouse Rosita Espinosa, as well as make-up master and executive producer Greg Nicotero, to discuss life after Carl, naked zombies, and Last Jedi fan-fiction…

Rosita has literally lost everything in the last few seasons; everyone she’s been closest to has either been killed or has turned to the dark side. Do you think she’s still out for the future that Rick promises, or is she still on the revenge kick we saw at the end of season seven?

Christian: I think the revenge kick was for her future, and the future of her loved ones. It’s true; she lost a lot of the people that she was closest to, and that opened up a Rosita that we had never seen before. We had always seen her with her guard up; she was always a little more mysterious. We were finally seeing the inner workings, the mechanism, and it was messing up a little bit, going a little bit haywire. It was fascinating for me as a fan and somebody who loves the character to see her wig out a little bit because you always want more as an audience, and we were getting more from the character! That was so interesting! But, I think the reason she was so vengeful was that she didn’t want to let it happen again! She needed to kill Negan, not because she wanted meaningless revenge; it was because she wanted to make sure that the rest of her family was going to be protected and going to be safe.

Greg: Great answer!

Is there any way that she can forgive Eugene?

Christian: Look (laughs). She forgave Eugene. In season four, we saw him rip everything from her! She thought that they had the answer for survival. She thought they were going to survive. He basically said “No, you’re not. It’s all a lie.” And she forgave him. So, I think their relationship is something really deeply rooted. She’ll forgive him for a lot. Whether we see it or not, I dunno. But there’s always a way with those two.

You’ve obviously had fun this season, Greg…

Greg: I have fun every season!

You’ve been getting some real gore in recently though…

Greg: Yeah… We may have flipped the blender on a little bit higher in last week’s episode… (referring to Morgan’s disembowelling a Saviour in S08E09). From a make-up effects stand-point, it’s the dream job! There’ll never be a better job. A make-up effects artist will never have the freedom I have on a show to help not only guide their creative look, but be involved in these gags from the inception. From script, onward. I think, in that regard, we’re always having fun. I have a list of gags I’ve written out that I wanna incorporate into the show at some point or another. I though it’d be really cool to have one of our lead characters, right as a zombie’s about to bite, a shotgun goes and blows half his face off, and it’s trying to chew, but there’s no teeth. I have a whole list of that shit on my phone. It’s been eight years of coming up with fun gags. And there’s still things that we’re like “Shit! Why didn’t we think of that six years ago!”

Like naked zombies…

Greg: (laughs) I said that once, and Christian’s like “I wanna play the naked zombie!”

Christian: Hell yeah… And maybe I do…

Greg: And maybe you do…

This season’s seen the show go through one of its biggest changes, and it’s one we’re all slightly worried about. Killing Carl…

Greg: Oh! That was like last year!

You’ve been promising that it was for a reason, and we’re scared that it wasn’t.

Christian: Awww… Oh, no!

Greg: Don’t be scared.

Christian: There’s always a yin and yang.

Will we find out what his letter to Negan said?

Greg: Yes.

Did he write one to Rosita?

Christian: Yeah, it said “I luuurve you!”

Greg: It said “When I’m twenty-one, we’re drinking tequila together!”

Christian: It said “Te amo, Rosita…” That’s what it said!

Now that we’re starting to deviate from the comic-books, how do you react to all of the fan speculation that goes on with the show?

Greg: Y’know, I don’t read a lot of it, but as an example, when they announced that there was a character that was gonna be crossing over (to Fear the Walking Dead) and everybody said it was Abraham, I loved that idea!

Christian: I loved that idea!

Greg: I love Michael Cudlitz! I thought it was a really great idea! I already knew that it wasn’t him, but I saw that and I went “Son of a bitch! Why didn’t we think of that?”

It was logical!

Greg: I know! It was smart!

It was either Michael or Christian…

Christian: What?!

I wrote a piece about this. It was gonna be a prelude to when you guys all got together.

Greg: It was his theory!

Christian: “Abraham’s Army”. That’d be a cool spin-off! In Houston.

But it kinda made sense for you, because we don’t know about your history.

Christian: Wait, where are they?

Greg: They were in Mexico.

Christian: Oh! How funny!

Greg: That’s a great theory! See, fan theories! Sometimes they’re great! Sometimes you read them and you’re like “Aw, man! That woulda been great!”, but other times they’re so off! They’re not even close. And then, me knowing where it really is gonna go… Like with the whole Abraham and Glenn cliff-hanger, and everyone was like “Well, he’s looking in this direction, and this guy was doing that…” I love that fans dissect our show. I love that about it because if there’s material that you love, you wanna dive into it.

Christian: Y’know what’s funny? The speculation is part of the universe. A handful of fans will be frustrated or lash out online because they wanna know what’s going on with the cliff-hangers, and the this and the that. Maybe they don’t realise it, but that speculation is a part of the reason they love The Walking Dead so much. It’s another attribute to the show. They go hand in hand. Without that, it’d just be any other show. But it’s these theories that mean you can speculate and talk with your friends. That’s an added bonus.

Greg: But you can’t get angry if it doesn’t go the way you expected. Like, The Last Jedi, when that came out, people were angry that the movie didn’t follow what they expected in terms of the fan theories. And I thought that was ridiculous. People don’t make movies based on fan fiction. I though it was really unfair to Ryan Johnson and the crew that people went “Well, this isn’t the movie we thought it was gonna be, because we thought it was gonna follow these storylines that were developed by fans!”. When Beth died, people were really upset. It was so brutal and swift; it took a lot of people off-guard! There were online petitions to bring her back! People were pissed! But if you’re feeling something, that means we succeeded. That means that you liked this character enough that this death had an impactful resonance on you. People identify with the characters so much that it becomes part of who they are.

Christian: I think that’s the magic of the show. It might not be real circumstances, but it deals with very real emotions that everyone deals with on an everyday basis. There’s a character for everyone that they can relate to.

The Walking Dead, Mondays at 9pm, only on FOX