Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with actress Danai Gurira (Michonne) at Hyundai’s The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Event during San Diego Comic-Con 2013, and she told us all about approaching such a unique character, the pressures that come with playing such a beloved role, and how Michonne will continue to evolve during Season 4.
Fresh off of Andrea’s grisly death (RIP, girl) Danai promises that some of Michonne’s layers will be peeled back this season as she makes a sincere effort to be involved with Rick and his ever-growing group, which now includes the remaining population of Woodbury.
Check out our chat with Danai below!
Wetpaint Entertainment: Isn't it nice to be a girl sometimes?
Danai Gurira : It is very nice to be a girl. I have a tough girl in me, and I have a little girly girl in me. So the girly girl's happy.
What's going to be happening with Michonne in this next season? From the preview, everyone looked unhappy.
Well, you know, that's The Walking Dead. But, yeah, Michonne is really connected to becoming part of a community, but she's also having some trouble with that because she's a loner. And Michonne also has some unfinished business to take care of, so there's some stuff she's handling.
Do you feel sort of a responsibility because this character's so beloved in the comic books?
Well, I mean the responsibility is to many things. The responsibility to myself is doing the best I can do. The responsibility is to Robert Kirkman and the fact that he created this awesome character and my desire to actually make sure that she is embodied in a way that is palpable. But the responsibility is also to, of course, the writers and the to the team of actors I'm working with. And it's to the fans, but it's also really, to me, when I'm locked away and working on this show in the sticks of Georgia, it's really about creating a character that I can trust as functioning from her truth. And it might vary from whatever people pick up from the page of her, but that's coming through the truth of coming through a human being. So that variance might be there, and the essence of her, I think, definitely was still retained. So it's really about that navigation, that you have to go with the fact that you are veering from the comic book, but she still is the chick in the comic book. But at the same time, as Michonne is, I'm not a people pleaser. So, deal with it.
How is Michonne affected by the new threat?
Good one. No answer. No comment. But the point of the matter is, it's something that everyone has to deal with, and she's going to deal with it. But that's good.
Can you tease anything in broad strokes for the fourth season as far as Michonne is concerned? Will she find peace finally?
Well, I think she's come quite a ways with that I think already, but there is a lot more of a journey to do with that. But she has come a long way, I think in terms of just being able to open up to a group in terms of being able to start expressing herself, like really connecting her heart to people again. You know what I mean?
In a way she's even able to show grace to Merle. There's a whole other way the Michonne in the beginning of the season would have handled that circumstance. So I think there are ways she's actually really able. Like she can see his brokenness, and she speaks to it. I think there's a lot of stuff she's actually already starting to do in terms of being able to sit comfortably at the core of things that are even vulnerable.
But there's so much more that she needs to deal within herself. There are other layers, and I think that's what's really exciting because then I get to navigate those layers, and I have this obscenely amazing group of writers who are allowing that to tweak out. But we're not going to give it all to you in the first hour or the first season, you know what I mean? It's so fun that she started off closed off and just hard and fierce, and you're like, ‘Who is this chick?’ And then you get little — you know what I mean? And that's fun to play. And then there are times I get to really let her . . . and then she goes back to that thing. So that's kind of really fun to get to do. So I couldn't ask for more, honestly.
The Walking Dead Season 4 premieres October 13 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Will you tune in?