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But I suspect it might be a bit different next year, because there were an awful lot of people dressed up as Rick Grimes.” For the time being though, I have the pleasure of lunching discreetly with the actor, who, in person, though definitely a thinker, is actually quite frivolous. The only sign that he might have poshed up a smidgen is when he orders a “lahhhtay”; otherwise his dry Merseyside accent stays firmly in place.He is also delightfully down-to-earth, eschewing the fancier items on the menu (“Seafood sausage? For the past six months he has been filming The Walking Dead in Atlanta, Georgia.Based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, the series, which also stars fellow Briton Andrew Lincoln as policeman Rick Grimes, is made by the cable network AMC, home of Mad Men and the hit drama Breaking Bad, and has established a loyal following of deeply committed fans.“I went to Comic-Con [the San Diego convention which celebrates graphic novels, sci-fi and horror] for the first time recently.So, when they offered this to me, Esther said: ‘Just go for it’.” “It’s a grown-up show – it’s not really about a zombie apocalypse – it asks questions of its characters that the audience can ask of themselves,” he says. His character, The Governor, is also more complicated than he at first appears.“When we see someone in trouble, do we run towards that fight? “In the comic books, when you meet The Governor, he is this bad-ass.
“American movies seem to be most interested in franchising these days,” says Morrissey.Morrissey’s latest incarnation – and the reason for our slightly surreal conversation – is as The Governor, a menacing new character in the post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Walking Dead, the third series of which begins this week on the digital channel FX.“I knew it was a great show, but I didn’t quite realise how huge it was in the US,” admits Morrissey.“We all like to think that we would be able to defend our community, and that we would run towards a crisis rather than away from it.But you just never really know, and I think our real character is revealed in our spontaneous actions.” Such gravity on a fairly fantastical topic might be what many would expect from Morrissey.
“In August, I would come out of my trailer and it was like someone had hit me with a baseball bat,” he says of the brutal Deep South heat.