Eugene has finally made contact with someone over the radio that is not conected with their communities and that is a big development. Here to talk about that big moment of the episode and much more is Josh McDermitt.
We seen that Eugene has taken much interest in the satellite ever since it crashed down. Will some of the parts of the satellite be put to great use for the rest of the season?
JM: “Other than what he’s already used for the radio, Yes. It kind of got mangled you know, and a lot of it is on fire. He was trying to salvage as much of it as he could. And he probably had a singular mindset thinking he could just use it for radio parts. I imagine Eugene’s got like some sort of junkyard set up somewhere with parts that he doesn’t need right now but could need in the future. And anytime people are out scavenging are like ‘hey, I found an old radiator’ and he’s like, ‘go just put it out with the junk’. I kind of imagine him doing that. I think it’s really cool that we were able to kind of start the season with that satellite crashing to Earth because if you think about it, how many satellites are in outer space? I would venture to say hundreds, if not thousands. And it would be completely plausible that one of whom would just fall to earth. And I just thought it was just cool way to open the field. And so I hope that aside from the radio, we could see more of it.”
What do you believe is Eugene’s biggest character evolution since his debut back in Season 4?
JM: “I think every season he’s had a nice arc and has done a 180 from where he started off at the top of that particular season. I think the fact that he was a coward, he was scared, he was lying, he was not an honest person. And he is 180 degrees opposite of that now. He is a guy who is completely capable. to handle himself. He’s got confidence. I think that’s kind of the biggest evolution for him, is that he is kind of content with living in this world where before it was just constant fear.”
You also had great scenes with Christian Serratos and as well as Coco so far this season. Do you have any great stories on how the both of you developed those scenes together along with bonding with Coco?
JM: I love babies, man! And these kids were super sweet. And i’m not fussy at all. And it’s like I just wanted to do more stuff with them, you know? And it’s fun seeing Christian, who has a daughter of her own, take on the role of mother as Rosita and to really bring things from her own life to this character. We had a good time with that. I think everybody was always, all hands on deck, so to speak. Just trying to make sure that these these kids playing Coco were cared for and that sort of thing. We did use the dolls a couple of times. So I think we had more fun probably with the dolls than with the kids because you never want to get wild and crazy with with babies around because you want to keep their temperament kind of chill. Otherwise, it ends up being a really long day of trying to get them to stop crying. There’s certainly a science to when we bring them in like they’re fed, they’re changed. They’ve had a nap, like they’re ready to go. So we certainly cut loose more when the babies weren’t on set.”
Would you like to run down on how you went from yourself loving babies to now being in character to learn how to take care of a baby all over again?
JM: “He approached it with mathematical precision, you know, in science. That’s how he kind of approaches every situation and analyzes it. He has to completely wrap his head around it and understand it and do the math in the air with it. You know, count on his fingers if he has to. There’s not to say that he wouldn’t be a great father, its just seeing how well he handles the kid and he’s trying to burp Coco and he’s counting the times he pats Coco’s back to burp and it is around 21 times. So it was fun to kind of throw everything away that I know about children and babies and to be able to kind of approach it in a new way, like how Eugene would do it in a more mathematical, scientific, religious way. That was just fun. It was fun to kind of play with that. That part of his character.”
Eugene and Nabila (Nadine Marissa) talked about the radio supplies before you turned the radio on and she said that she was happy to be part of The Hiltop A.V club. How did Nadine react to seeing you do your lines the way Eugene does it?
JM: “We had fun doing that scene and Nadine is a great person to work with. I think she’s excited to do something different in Hiltop that doesn’t involve gardening or fixing a fence or like all the things around Hilltop that that kind of need attention. I think she was excited and she was like ‘oh, this is fun. This is exciting’. But, you know, at the same time, once he starts explaining everything that’s going on, she may have realized like ‘oh, I’m in over my head and so I’m going to have to do this test run another time and I got kids’. So that was fun to play with that. You see, it was funny because Eugene says, ‘you don’t parlay any Russian by any chance’. I was also coaching her for a brief time on how to say one line in Russian and it was just hysterical. We are all just trying to figure out how to say this this fairly simple Russian word that even if you don’t speak a lick of Russian, you probably know how to say.”
Eugene finally makes contact with someone on the open channel over the radio. Being that I am also a comic reader of The Walking Dead, I am excited for what is to come. Do you believe that Eugene is also happy with this development?
JM: “Right now, he’s kind of a lonely and depressed place after having a sad realization that things would never work out with Rosita. He was trying to figure out what he’s going to do with his life. And so he’s just buried himself in this work. Working with the radio and doing duties around Hilltop. But I also think that he wasn’t necessarily expecting a voice to come out at that moment. I mean, he was trying and certainly down the road. He was probably wanting to reach out further than the communities that he’s already in contact with and just see what else is out there. But, you know, it was basically just Rosita standing him up. You know, obviously for good reason. She’s sick and had to go to the infirmary, but he doesn’t know that. So he was just kind of like ‘I’m alone, This is not a fun place to be so let’s just see what else was out there’. So I think he’s extremely happy and extremely surprised that this voice came on the radio and he was also able to share some personal details about himself that we’ve never really seen that out of him. We don’t really know too much about his life pre-apocalypse and he was able to kind of talk about that with someone.”
Will we see Eugene interract with other characters he has not interract with yet for the rest of the season?
JM: “I think there’s a great possibility of that. At the start of every season, we have a conversation with the show runner and this year, I did speak with Angela and said ‘you know, maybe there’s some people that I would like to work with if we can make that happen’ because there’s people like Lenny James (Morgan) and I never interracted with him. And both Lenny and I talked about that. And it was kind of disappointing because obviously, our storylines didn’t intersect as much. I mean, we were in scenes together, but we never did a scene. And obviously Rick left and I didn’t really do a scene with Andrew Lincoln until Season 9. And so this year, I said, ‘hey, you know, there’s some people that if the opportunity comes, I would love to work with them and come to find out these people said the same thing about me’. So I will say yes, There are some moments where I get to interact with other people, but we’ll just leave it at that and we’ll let the audience be surprised.”
Everyone has a signature weapon except for Eugene. Why is that?
JM: “I mean, he’s got his trusty knife, the big blade he got in the time jump between the front half of Season 9 and then in Episode 6, when the time jumps like six and a half years into the future. He has become proficient in knives and that’s kind of become his signature weapon. But he’s still not first person to jump out to the front lines unless you absolutely have to. And it’s not out of fear. It’s just, Eugene have other things that he is also doing and he will get out there if he is needed. But in the meantime, Eugene is just being here. I don’t know that he’s gonna have a another weapon.”
Eugene has had any memorable lines throuought the series. How many lines have you improvised for Eugene?
JM: “I do not improvise a lot. Eugene is a lot smarter than I am, and I think it would be really obvious if I improvised a line because it wouldn’t sound like you. You know, in the end, I give credit to the writers. You know, Corey Reed always writes for Eugene really well. Scott Campbell was amazing at writing for Eugene. And, you know, it’s kind of fun to see the writers get to come throw out their knowledge because I’m having to look up half of what they say or what he’s saying because they don’t necessarily understand it on the first read. But in terms of me improvising anything, the percentage is so small. I think I improvised one line where I was fighting alongside Rosita this season with the horde and she says something to the effect of like, ‘you know, you want to give up or do you want to call it a night?’ And he says, ‘I can go all night’. I improvised that line. But, you know, I don’t even remember what the original line was. You don’t ever want to improvise. This isn’t a sitcom or anything. So you don’t want to just be throwing out lines. Most improvised lines are going to be funny though, but you want to make sure you stick with the tone. So there’s really not a lot of room for improvisation. But I remember talking to Jim Barnes and he had said ‘hey, you know, if you have something else you want to say, go for it’. But yeah, I did improvise that line for sure!”