The Walking Dead Season 4 returned with a big focus on Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), but Michonne (Danai Gurira) was the real zombie apocalypse superstar. There’s a lot of depth to the katana queen, and we’re going to learn much more about her in the second half.
Actress Danai Gurira and the episode’s director Greg Nicotero were on Talking Dead after the Episode 9 midseason premiere, and host Chris Hardwick asked Danai if she was discovering things about herself while playing Michonne.
"I'm discovering how deep my well of rage really goes," Danai said. "Like shooting the episode where she's waiting for The Governor [David Morrissey] and she's sitting with her sword on her lap [last year on Season 3]. Connecting with the aspect of really, really, really planning on killing somebody and trembling with rage and ready to do it — that's not something I do every day; like when I wake up in the morning, pouring my granola, thinking about 'I'm gonna kill somebody.' That doesn't happen!"
She said it was a revelatory process to find that much rage was in herself. Greg said we should see Danai’s scripts — she breaks down all the emotional beats, with little notations. He said it's just fascinating to see how much work she puts into it.
"Yeah, I'm a nerd," Danai said. "I envy Norman Reedus [Daryl Dixon] 'cause, he's like, you know, he's thinking about his character over a cigarette," she mimed his smoking, "and I'm sitting there poring over my words." She keeps notebooks and the words help her to zone in and focus on the scene. Danai is a playwright, as well as an actress, so it makes sense that writing helps with her process.
It would be great to see her scripts, though, and all of the casts’s scripts. Who writes what in the margins? Who has coffee stains on certain pages? What did Danai write when she saw Michonne’s rage-filled walker kill sequence of Episode 9 (which took a lot of work to choreograph), followed by sobbing?
When someone creates The Walking Dead Museum of Zombie Apocalypse History in Atlanta (and they have to), don’t you think one exhibit should feature all of the scripts?
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.