One of the biggest question marks heading into the remainder of The Walking Dead season 5 is the status of one Eugene Porter. After the follicly-fantastic deceiver admitted he was not actually a scientist, he was on the receiving end of a fist from Abraham. And we basically haven’t heard from him since. So what’s in store for Eugene coming up? How will the rest of the group treat him in the wake of his lie, and how will he rebound and figure out how to add value to the team. We spoke to the man behind the mullet, Josh McDermitt, to get the inside scoop.
EW: So Josh, let’s get right to the question on everybody’s mind: Which characters are you going to creepily watch having sex in the back half of the season?
JOSH McDERMITT: [Laughs] I’m hoping it’s a three-way between Carol, Rick, and Daryl. I think that’s what Eugene’s hoping for at this point. Yeah, that was a really fun thing to do and it’s funny that everyone is kind of like calling me out for being a liar and everything, but it’s like, are you guys forgetting that Eugene’s also a pervert? Which I think might be kind of fun, because I literally do have people screaming “Liar!” at me on the street. You know, and it’s all in fun and everything. I would rather have them screaming that than “Pervert!” But yeah, I think I need to talk to Scott Gimple and company and see if we can make something happen, squeeze something in into like a post-edit on the back half, just so that Eugene can watch some sort of three-way or something.
It should totally be a thing now, whenever anyone is getting remotely intimate with anyone, you just see Eugene peering out from behind bushes or whatever.
I know! The fans are awesome because they make all these edits of photos and everything and they’ve gone all the way back to when Shane and Lori were like making out and stuff and then they’ll just insert Eugene’s face in the background or something. They’ve had a lot of fun with it. I think it’s great.
The thing I find really interesting going into this sort of back half of the season, is that we clearly saw how Abraham reacted to the news of Eugene’s lie and how he’s been processing it. But we haven’t really seen Eugene’s reaction, and how he’s going to handle this sort of information coming to light and the group’s reaction to him and his reaction to the group. What can you say about that going forward?
I mean, Eugene isn’t everyone’s favorite person at this point, you know? I think he’s on everyone’s s—list and it’s going to be fun exploring how he’s going to kind of fit himself back into the group. He certainly needs to do that because that’s going to be his best hope for survival. Previously it was lying and making up that story to get the protection. So now that that’s gone it’ll be interesting to see. Because each person is invested in that story differently. Obviously Abraham and Rosita are much more invested than say someone like Michonne. And even in her reaction, after Glenn tells her in one of the last episodes, “Yeah, it was a lie, Eugene was lying,” and she was just like “Dammit.” You know she kind of had that look of “Crap, this sucks,” you know? But she wasn’t obviously going to kick his ass the way Abraham did. So, everyone’s got a different reaction. It’ll be interesting to see Eugene’s point of view, because that’s all we’re focusing on as the viewer is like, “Oh, how are these people going to take this information now?” It’s really going to be fun to see how Eugene processes it and, you know, he’s still a very smart guy, I mean that’s the thing that people have been kind of saying, like “Oh, he’s not so smart, he was lying.” That’s actually quite the opposite. Eugene is still very smart, he’s still very intelligent, and so once he kind of figures out that that’s going to be his strongest chance for survival, it’s going to be a rocky road for him.
And the fact remains that, lie notwithstanding, D.C. is not necessarily a bad idea.
Well, yeah, he said that he felt like that would give them the best chance for survival. Now whether or not he’s still able to convince everyone that that’s going to be a good option remains to be seen. But at least that’s kind of what he was thinking initially and why he lied about it. But I think everyone kind of has a different take about what’s best for survival. As for me, personally, I would love to get to the beach. You already have one side that’s going to be fortified with the water and then you’ve got great weather and what not. Like, if we’re going to be going through hell, might as well live in a paradise a little bit! But everyone’s going to have a say in what to do, and that’s always kind of been the struggle with this group and the direction they need to head in, is that everyone has an opinion. I don’t know that Eugene has the strongest voice at this point.
Everyone has said how these back eight episodes feel really different. Do you agree with that?
Oh, absolutely. Gimple even said it: It’s gonna get weird. But it’s weird in the greatest way. That’s the cool thing that Kirkman and Gimple and company have been able to do is keep reinventing the show. Instead of waiting for it to get stale and then trying to come up with new ideas, they’re keeping the show fresh by constantly coming up with new situations and new ideas and just messing with the tone, messing with the themes of the things that these characters are going to have to deal with. I think it’s awesome. Like I said, we keep throwing around the word “weird,” but it’s weird in the greatest way. I love it.
I know there are a lot of new faces in the back half of the season. You used to be the new guy so what’s it like now to be the old pro hazing these new Walking Dead rookies?
The moment a new person steps on set it’s now my job to get them in a headlock and give them a noogie and welcome them. It’s fun to play with new characters and new actors, because anybody who comes on the set, they’re instantly welcome and they’re quickly put in the family. I think that’s awesome, to just sit back and see all the new people in a scene. Because it wasn’t so long ago that I was the new guy.
I know you come from a comedy background, so has new cast member Ross Marquand done some of his celebrity impressions for you?
Yeah, there was one day, we were all just kind of sitting around waiting for the camera to get set up and I’ll admit I Googled him to find out what his deal was, and I saw he did all these impressions and no one else knew that. He had said, “Oh yeah, I do impressions,” so he did it and everyone went nuts. Like I think he did his Jon Hamm impersonation. Everyone went nuts. And I said, “Why don’t you try Harrison Ford?” because I knew he could do Harrison Ford. And he does an amazing Harrison Ford. People went nuts, so I said, “You should try Kevin Spacey.” So like, I had my phone out and literally went down the list and I was kind of reading them. I think he got that I was reading off a list, but then other people started throwing out names that he obviously couldn’t do the impersonation of—but for a moment they’re like, “This guy’s amazing!” Ross is awesome, man. I think he’s a great actor and I’m just blown away by anybody who can do impersonations like that and he’s certainly at the top of the field in that category.