- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for Season 10, Episode 19 of “The Walking Dead”.
- Robert Patrick joined Sunday’s episode playing twins marked and changed by the zombie apocalypse.
- Patrick told Insider it was fun filming 20-minute takes with Seth Gilliam and Ross Marquand.
Robert Patrick debuted on “The walking dead“, play not one, but of them characters from Sunday’s episode.
His time on the show didn’t last long, however, as the twin brothers he played were killed at the end of the episode.
Insider spoke to Patrick on Friday afternoon by phone to find out how the “Terminator 2” star got involved with the show, which he’s been a fan of for years. He was good friends with some of the show’s early stars, including Laurie Holden and the late Scott Wilson.
With the star at her home in Atlanta, Georgia, where the AMC series is filmed, the pandemic helped Patrick finally appear on the series. Patrick told us how he called comeback episode director Laura Belsey and learned that they would be filming his scenes with Ross Marquand and Seth Gilliam in one long take, so it was like playing a play.
Patrick was able to join the show while they were filming during the pandemic because he lives in Atlanta. He has also always been known to producer Gale Ann Hurd for his work on the “Terminator” franchise.
Kirsten Acuna: Your casting caught me off guard. When I first heard that you were going to be on the show, I was so excited. I figured there was no way Robert Patrick would join “The Walking Dead” and not play some sort of villain. I am so curious. How did it happen? Have you been a fan of “TWD”? Are you friends with some of the people on the show?
Robert Patrick: A bit of all of the above. I was a fan of the show. I watched the show. Shot in Atlanta, it’s my birthplace. The whole concept interested me a lot. So yes, I knew about it. Of course, I know Gale Anne Hurd from the “Terminator” franchise, so I was curious what she was doing. Glen Mazzara was one of the screenwriters and showrunners for a while. Scotty Wilson was an old friend of mine. Laurie Holden, who I worked with on The X-Files, so thematically I was very curious about it and I was a fan.
I have often wondered, well, maybe one day I would have a chance to go. I have also been busy doing other things. And I’m just glad it finally fell into place where I actually could. They wrote such a great role that I read it and I was like, “Oh my God, how can you not want to do this part?
Acuna: I’ll come back to Mays in a second, but I forgot – of course you and Gale Ann Hurd come a long way back. I have to ask myself then, have you ever thought about playing a villain earlier in the series?
Patrick: If there was, I never heard of it.
Acuna: I had to ask because I could have seen you being – I don’t know – the Governor or bringing some of that other energy elsewhere on the show.
Acuna: Mays seems like a character study of what can happen when you’re isolated for too long. Something that I think a lot of people have experienced over the past year during the pandemic. What were the conversations you had with Angela Kang or the “TWD” team during the development of this character?
Patrick: They didn’t really come up to me with a lot of forward notes or character comments. I really had such a visceral reaction when I read it. It struck me on all of these levels, what you just mentioned, the isolation. I also looked at it from a spiritual point of view. I am a practicing Episcopalian. I go to church. Letting you wander around and think your faith is challenged to the point of turning your back on God was a really heavy concept for me and something that I wanted to play, you know? It struck me on so many different levels. I was pretty glad that they didn’t come and go over a bunch of stories and other things that I had to think about while I was preparing for the performance.
I’ll tell you what – they kind of gave me a rope and let go, and let me go hang myself.
Patrick said shooting his scenes with Seth Gilliam and Ross Marquand was like doing a play. It was a long take.
Acuna: I was wondering how much they let you improvise here, if at all.
Patrick: There was no improvisation. Maybe a few times I maybe slipped a “padre” in there. There must have been a few little things I slipped in there.
When I read it I thought to myself, “Oh my God, how are they going to turn this?” I have contacted [episode director] Laura [Belsey]. I said, are you planning on having any cut beats here where we’re going to reset and do that part of the scene and then do that part of the scene? She said, “No. We’re going to turn it into one.” Beginning, middle and end, it’s a great act. It was a bit like doing a play. And once I realized that was what was going to happen, Seth and Ross, we were all off the book and we were ready to tear it up. And it was just fun, you know, 20 minute take after take.
Acuna: I have to imagine that some of these concerns were due to the pandemic?
Patrick: Yes. My thing was for the prop mechanics. We had a gun that we had to shoot, we had the bullets, moving Aaron out of this room. [You had] all those practical rhythms that were in there. I was worried we couldn’t do it all at once, but we did. And it was so much fun. I can’t think if I’ve ever done a TV show where I took a scene for that long. It was like a 20 minute take.
Patrick says Gabriel made the wrong choice in killing Mays and that he proved Mays point. He’s a murderer.
Acuna: I like a good guess. If Aaron and Gabriel let the maze live, do you think it could have turned out good and be an asset to Alexandria? Or do you think he would have put the group in danger? Did Gabriel make the right choice in killing him?
Patrick: I think Gabriel thinks he made the right decision. My claim is, no, I was a lost sheep. I leave myself vulnerable before the Father. Help me bring myself back. For example, you would go to a priest – take me back to the flock. And I looked at him for that leadership, and I exposed it to him like that.
You don’t know yet about my brother who is up there in the upper crawl space. I did some things, but I want to come back. Please forgive me, let me come back. And he doesn’t. He’s a judge, jury, and executioner there. He takes me out. I said that to Seth the other day – I think [Gabriel] fair. I really do. I think he should have taken me back to the herd, let me bring my brother back. Let me find redemption with him. I could be an asset, and he said to me, ‘No you are, you are just too crazy. You would have been a threat to the group. “
Acuna: Asking Gabriel to kill Mays, it feels like Mays ends up being right. His worldview was that the only people left in this world were murderers and thieves. Was Mays right?
Patrick: I think you’re right. I think Gabriel proved he was a murderer in this episode and this episode was in the service of his character, to be honest with you. And Aaron too. He proves he’s a murderer. Mays is ready to take this step. I think right now Mays is just tired. He’s sort of finished and is just stressed out about the whole situation. So leave yourself vulnerable. He let his guard down.