Alycia Debnam-Carey on Her Directorial Debut in ‘Fear The Walking Dead’

[WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11, “Ofelia.”]

After seven seasons of playing Alicia Clark on Fear the living deadAlycia Debnam-Carey has taken on a new role: that of director.

Debnam-Carey spoke to TV Insider what scene she was most excited (and nervous) to shoot, how she felt about putting Luciana (Danay Garcia) at the center of her episode, and – bonus! – we have included an excellent question that my colleague Fear actor Omid Abtahi asked him during Fearjunket preview.

Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

At the preview, you said you were excited to direct Fear because you know the show like the back of your hand. How has your longevity on the show played into the choices you’ve made behind the camera?

Alycia Debnam-Carey: ‘Cause I’ve been on Fear for so long it has been creeping its way into my choices without me knowing it in many ways. Because I’ve been part of it for so long. Because I know him like the back of his hand. Because my character knows these characters, because I’ve worked with the actors for so long, because I’ve seen every iteration of the show as we changed locations, changed storylines, changed character arcs. There’s so much intertwined in my experience – not just the character experience and the actor experience, but the personal life experience – that you can’t help but translate that behind the camera.

So, in a way, there’s so much that went into the choices I made, the ideas I had, the way I wanted to tell the story that it was almost, d in a way, unconscious and conscious at the same time. Inherently, there would always have been a level of understanding of the series that is probably unique to me. There aren’t many other people on what have been on Fear for the same duration. So even being able to work with Danay and Rubén [Blades]the fact that I’ve known their characters since season one and seen their relationship evolve and grow, I’ve been able to have so much more dialogue with them and they’ve been able to trust me, because we’ve all seen it grow and change together.

I was in a really lucky position in that I was able to make choices and have opinions that I had solid grounding in. And I had respect, support and encouragement behind me…. It’s so special to be able to have the opportunity to lead a show that you’ve been on for a very, very long time, and to have that as your first experience. In a way, it’s a bit of a safety net.

fear the walking dead, danay garcia as luciana

Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

A lot Fear fans had been clamoring for Luciana to have an expanded role for some time. Something exactly like this episode. Was it nice to be able to bring her front and center and give her a bigger story here?

Oh yeah! I’ll tell you what – that was my first thought when I got this episode. I called her and said, “Danay, I have this episode. You’re front and center, and I’ll make sure the story is for you and for Luciana. As far as Daniel is concerned [Rubén Blades], so I wanted to make sure that we showcase Danay’s talent and character that I’ve known for so long. I really made a point of creating that around her in a number of ways. I really did. Because, yeah, he’s a character that’s been on this show for a long time and that I also wanted to see more of. I felt really grateful to have been able to have this episode and to do it.

And then Danay and I were able to work very closely to create a very good relationship story with Daniel. Much of this episode, for me, boiled down to performance-based storytelling. This is the facet of cinema and television that I understand best, as an actor. I was learning a lot of other skills on the fly and learning from people around me in terms of camera, lighting, framing and how to tell a story properly. But with her and Rubén and Colby (Hollman), I wanted to focus on that. And with Danay, especially.

fear of the walking dead, danay garcia as luciana, ruben blades as daniel

Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

When you first received this script, what scene were you most excited to shoot?

Oh my God. When I got the script, I was like, “You didn’t give me an easy episode, did you?” [laughs] I think it was actually [Fear’s production manager] Frank Hildebrand who came over and said, “Ooh, they didn’t give you an easy episode, did they?” And I thought, “What? What do you know?” He was like, “That’s pretty big!” So I found out about it before I even got it, and then when I got it, I was like, “Oh, my God.” There were all the catwalks, and it’s raised above the ground, there’s this cage, there’s all these horrible deaths. At first I was like, “Wow, that’s a big script.” I don’t know if I was excited at first – it was more like outright panic! [laughs] It was like, “Oh my God, how am I going to do this?” And I think it was really the cage. For me, the first thing I thought to myself was, “How am I going to make the cage work?” How do we build the cage, how do we mount the cage, how do we get them into the cage, how do we get them up and down the cage? I became quite obsessed with it. I knew it was going to be tough.

The scenes that turned me on the most were probably the intimate scenes with Luciana and Daniel. When you see Rubén emerge from under this huge tree and see this walker who has been melted to this playground equipment, it was a scene that I was excited to shoot because I could see it very clearly in my head. And then one of our last scenes, when Luciana betrays Daniel. That, I had a much more emotional connection with the characters and a very clear idea of ​​how I wanted to shoot that. I wanted to be able to play with Rubén and Danay and get to the heart of the matter with them, as actors. I was also thrilled to be able to film in a completely new environment and setting. This whole set was designed just for this episode. There were so many things that were so great and so exciting, and it was also the most intimidating thing when I first got this script.

fear the walking dead, danay garcia as luciana

Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

What would Alicia think of Luciana’s controversial decision at the end of this episode to cheat on Daniel?

Good question. I don’t think she would feel too good about it, to be honest. I think she would be suspicious of the choice Luciana made. I think she would think it was a dangerous decision she made.

It reminded me of a Madison-like decision from Season 3 that Alicia would have disagreed with.

Yeah, it’s very ruthless. I think she’s come to believe that you have to do certain things that you don’t want to do to get away with it, but I also think the idea of ​​manipulating someone who’s not doing well and it’s all there in this moment is dangerous. And those are my two cents.

fear the walking dead, colby hollman as wes

Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

BONUS: During the Fear Preview of 7B, Omid Abtahi, who plays Howard, asked you: “Do you feel more vulnerable showing something as a performer or as a director?” What is your answer ?

I’m so naive as a director because it’s so new. I’m probably more vulnerable as an actor, I guess, because I know how much I’ve grown and how much that’s part of me and I judge every moment and every detail. It’s been part of my life for so long, and I know the nuances of it all too well. The staging was kind of like “throwing paint on the wall and calling it art” and, like, “let me see if people like it!” [laughs]

A lot of it was so supported by so many people, so I felt really protected. I’ll also say there’s the director’s cut and the production cut, and the production cut is a version that’s a bit more designed for commercial television. It’s a little different. So I’m pretty excited for people to see. I’m sure I’ll be really vulnerable when it comes out, and I feel really nervous about it. I wear my heart on my sleeve in a completely different way and make completely new choices. But I will say that you’re protected by such a format and style of show that it’s a little different than what I’m saying, “Here’s a short that’s all mine. You are already supported by all of these other elements, and your job is to direct it as best you want and lean to your tastes. That’s all you can do. But yeah, probably the night it comes out, I’ll be so stressed and so vulnerable. But I’m excited.

Fear the living deadSunday, 9/8c, AMC

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