‘Walking Dead’: Glen Mazzara talks ‘long-term’ plan for The Governor

Oct. 28, 2012 | 6:19 p.m.
twd gp 303 0611 0061 Walking Dead: Glen Mazzara talks long term plan for The Governor

Laurie Holden as Andrea and David Morrissey as the Governor in "The Walking Dead." (Gene Page / AMC)

twd gp 303 0607 0429 Walking Dead: Glen Mazzara talks long term plan for The Governor

The Governor (David Morrissey), left, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) in "The Walking Dead." (Gene Page / AMC)

twd gp 303 0607 0225 edit Walking Dead: Glen Mazzara talks long term plan for The Governor

Andrea (Laurie Holden), left, and the Governor (David Morrissey) in "The Walking Dead." (Gene Page / AMC)

In Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” the hit AMC series will finally arrive at a destination plenty of fans of Robert Kirkman’s comic book have been clamoring to see on screen: Woodbury. The idyllic Southern town isn’t quite as perfect as it seems, of course — it’s under the control of The Governor, the legendary bad guy who’ll be played by actor David Morrissey, and whose presence will surely spell trouble for Rick Grimes and the other survivors.

Speaking on the Georgia set of the show earlier this year, showrunner Glen Mazzara emphasized that the iteration of the Governor on the series will be more nuanced than his comic book counterpart, a monstrous villain who would force prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for sport, among other sins.

“We were looking for a talented actor who could play a lot of nuance,” Mazzara said of casting Morrissey, a Liverpool native best known for his turn in the British miniseries “State of Play” and the noir-inflected “Red Riding” murder mystery film trilogy. “We didn’t want just an archvillain, someone who’s just going to be a mustache-twirling sadist. David’s a very versatile accomplished actor, he’s a total gentleman. What was great was he really was very open to our approach to the character. He was interested in playing this character with some humanity but not shying away from playing a character that develops into a brutal dictator eventually.”

“He does need to have a complexity,” Morrissey added in a separate interview. “If he was just an out and out baddie, I think you would hit a ceiling creatively very quickly. I think giving him these levels and colors and fears, hopefully that will give him more longevity.”

That notion of longevity is an interesting one — and might well mean that the Governor could go in a very different direction from what he did in Kirkman’s original text.

“The Governor in our show has an arc, hopefully a long-term arc,” Mazzara said. “He begins in one place and goes through, like any thought-out character, ups and downs and developments and back steps and all of that. Our Governor is not just a full formed villain who is hiding that fact. He is more complicated than that. There are things that he’ll eventually do that he may not do immediately; there are things that he may do immediately that he realizes don’t work.

“What’s important to understand in this character, he sees himself on a historical stage,” Mazzara added. “That’s really how we look at that character. David’s interested in that. Sometimes you try to cast someone, you might feel they’re not fully committed to playing a villain. He’s fully committed to playing a layered complex character.”

Click through the gallery above to see scenes from Sunday’s episode.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


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13 Responses to ‘Walking Dead’: Glen Mazzara talks ‘long-term’ plan for The Governor

  1. Cheri says:

    Please get rid of the Governor, I did not like last nights show at all, he is a psychopath that is now going to mess a great show up.

    • sander cohen says:

      nah,the governor is a great story for a mystery behind woodbury. What would a show be without a good mystery behind it?

  2. Chris says:

    Sorry, Cheri, the show needed a break from the drudgery of the group killing zombies to stay alive, and the introduction of the governor and Woodbury jolted it out of predictability. Plus, Morrissey is a terrific actor who at some point will be counterweight to Rick/Andrew Lincoln's character. Contrast this to the farm episodes last season, which were good for character development but slow in action. Now things are getting interesting….

  3. Lemmer says:

    Cheri – you have to give it a chance. The Governor was a huge part in the comics and it will all pay off later in the season. You can't have a show without plot or character development. The show needs to branch off into seperate storylines or the prison part of the show will run its course very quickly. The Governor is brutal, just wait and see him battle Rick. Going to be great.

  4. sander cohen says:

    Agreed, a show is nothing with so much predictability. I’ve been watching this show from the beginning and this is the biggest mystery other than how this virus started.

  5. Julio says:

    No one has mentioned the one thing I truly diliked about yestarday’s episode, which fortunately is the first and only thing I have seriously had a problem with.

    The attack on the National Guard when none of them reacted or fought back was simply unrealistic and dumb

  6. Randy says:

    You'd think in a Zombie Apocolypse, Military Men would know how to Hamdle Themselves

  7. sean says:

    i just dont think they had time to react,it looked like 10 attackers firing simultaneously at pre-picked targets.without multiple cameras and displays it would not be possible to fit the timeframe of a couple of seconds into the scene,they were only part timers but even hardened troops would have had no chance,thats how ambushes work dont they?

  8. sundance says:

    I liked the governor he is an important twist in the story line. Like other people have said it gets boring just watching the same people do the same thing every weekend. I just want to see what happened to the guy and his boy from episode 1

  9. ChilliDog says:

    I was hoping for an eventual Merle/T-Dog rematch- Merle had a score to settle with him. Guess TWD missed a golden opportunity there.

  10. Tony says:

    I live very near woodbury and I know this is just a show, but the people in that town would kick the govenor and the zombies asses quick.

  11. Sarah says:

    I do not like the Governer. If you replace Rick for the Governer, Thats it for me. I quit watching.
    Governers role is evil.

  12. Joey says:

    The Governor is wanted dead by most followers. Therefore, he must not be killed! He should be run out of town but we all know the Governor shall rise again and not as a walker. He must be allowed to live in order to torment the living.

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