Gale Anne Hurd is a damn busy woman. She is now executive producing not one, but two Walking Dead shows for AMC and also has a new documentary about Wilma Mankiller that is currently offering up tons of Walking Dead-related goodies for backers on Kickstarter. But she spared a few minutes to talk to us about the recent developments in Alexandria and what we can expect on Sunday’s 90-minute Walking Dead season finale.
EW: This whole season seems to be about adaptation and the people from outside the walls trying to learn how to live alongside the people inside. What do you think: Did Rick go too far in the fight scene by pulling that gun out?
GALE ANNE HURD: I would say that he probably crossed the line, and luckily Michonne was there to save everyone from what could have come next.
Are people going to have to pick a side in this finale?
You know, we have a few surprises up our sleeve—I would throw that out there. But yes, we’re seeing more of the division, not only among the Alexandrians and our group, but within our group as well.
I was surprised at the restraint Glenn showed when he was having that conversation with Rick and relaying what happened with Nicholas and Noah.
When you think about it, this is the best shot that they’ve had at reproducing life before the apocalypse. But it’s difficult for Rick—and Carol, of course—knowing what’s out there, knowing that this Shangri-La is facing attacks from not only walkers but also the evil-doers that are out there. They know that they’re not prepared. They know that they need them and it’s very difficult for them to sit by and watch these ill-equipped people make bad decisions.
I was watching a scene from next week’s episode where Carol pulls a knife on Pete. Poor Pete thought he was done after the Rick attack and now he has to deal with Carol, which could be even worse!
Well, you know, he deserved it, as far as I’m concerned. Any guy who beats up his wife to the point that his son has to lock himself in a closet deserves that and probably a lot worse. But no one suspected it. As bad as Rick can be, Carol could actually be an even more dangerous foe because she’s undercover.
The show took such a big left turn in this back half of the season by taking these guys out of the wild, and putting them in and almost pristine community with pretty clothes and cleaning them up. Were you excited about this switch? Nervous? Both?
I think it was a mixture of fear and enthusiasm. Fear, because our team has been on the road so long. They have been surviving day to day. Really it was about: Will we have enough food? Will we have enough water? And can we survive the bad guys that we’ve encountered, too? An even, as it turns out, more significant question is, how can they survive civilization? And are they able to adapt? And are there enough stories there to keep it interesting? And as we found out, there certainly are.
What’s it like when you have to add not just one actor or two, but a whole new group like what you did here with Alexandria? Did that impose any logistical hurdles for you?
It’s difficult. You’ve gotta find the right people, the right actors who understand that this is a community of cast and crew who get along better than most families. They really do care for each other and have each other’s back and you want to make sure you don’t bring in a bad apple that’s going to ruin that feeling. Luckily everyone—even the people who play the “evil characters”— are just the most fantastic actors and fit right in. I think our line producer Tom Luce had the biggest headache, because obviously when the cast expands, so does payroll.
Where are you guys in terms of mapping out season 6?
As luck would have it, last week Scott Gimple and his fantastic team of writers pitched out eight episodes of season 6 and let me tell you, it is going to be quite the rollercoaster. It is really exciting and also caused our line producer to start pulling out his hair.
What sort of role are you going to have on this companion series?
I need to be in two places at once and I’ll figure it out. It simply means that the little personal life I have left will be sacrificed. Luckily, my daughter is all grown up and my husband is incredibly understanding. So I will be on the road a lot.
Give me one good tease for the 90-minute finale.
You can rest assured that not only walker blood will be spilled, but there will be a few surprises and some sad losses that no one, I think, will be able to predict.
For more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.