'The Walking Dead': Steven Yeun on what's next for 'resilient' Glenn
Good news, Glenn Rhee! You have survived the killer virus that was spreading throughout the prison! Congratulations! Oh, but just one little thing: your girlfriend’s dad was just beheaded and a giant tank escorted by a one-eyed lunatic and flesh-eating zombies pretty much destroyed your home. Oh yeah, and one other thing: WHERE ARE YOU?!?
When we last saw Glenn, he was waiting on a bus to evacuate the prison, but where is he now as the action picks back up again this Sunday with The Walking Dead‘s midseason premiere? Judging by the photo above, it doesn’t look good. We made like a pack of zombies ourselves and cornered the man who plays Glenn, Steven Yeun, and forced him to share some intel as to what we can expect in the back half of season 4. So share he did. (Also make sure to check out our ‘Walking Dead’ preview interviews with Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, and producers Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So judging from that preview that AMC released, I guess we’re going to be Glenn back in some riot gear.
STEVEN YEUN: Well, actually, we don’t know that. [Ed Note: Nice try, Steven! This picture pretty much ends that debate.] I think what we do know at this point is he was last seen on the bus with the group and I think it’s a matter of what he’s done to contribute. Glenn’s not one to really sit back and let stuff unfold in front of him, but he was in a pretty sick position. So we’ll see what happens on that front.
EW: We’re going to start the back eight episodes with everyone being splintered off into smaller groups, and we’re going to be finding out how everyone makes it out of the prison – who they’re with, how they make it out. Just expanding on what you just said, what can you tell us about Glenn, how his story is going to unfold?
YEUN: I think we can’t count him out. He’s a man of action, and he’s a man of heart, and I think you should expect what you normally expect from Glenn. He definitely has a lot of things up against him, but Glenn is tough and I think the word that I could always use for Glenn is resilient.
EW: What is the aftermath for everyone in terms of seeing Hershel executed? Obviously there’s been a lot of death on the show but this one wass so brutal — this kindly creature to be killed off in a savage way. Plus he’s the moral compass, plus he’s your fiancées father, and everyone had sort of a front row seat to watch it happen. What is that loss going to do to Maggie and Glenn?
YEUN: Glenn doesn’t actually know that Hershel is dead. He’s probably the only one who doesn’t know. And for him, where he last left off with Hershel is…a lot of people have helped shaped Glenn into the person he is at this point and he’s taken bits and pieces from all of them, but none more than Hershel. And the last episode, where Glenn almost dies, the action that happens between Hershel and Glenn kind of solidifies that relationship and solidifies Hershel’s legacy as being passed on to Glenn. Just as easily as the symbolism of the watch was, just passing it onto him saying, “You are now part of this family. I accept you,” it’s that same thing. Glenn really felt like things were over. He was in dire straights and kind of subjecting himself to the negative portions of that. He was saying, “Hey, what’s the point of living? We’re going to get taken out by a glorified cold,” and Hershel is the one that keeps hope alive for him. Hershel is the one that instills in him to sacrifice himself for others, for the sake of life and love and for the sake of doing all that you could to help your fellow person. And I think that episode definitely drilled home all of that for Glenn. I think that now, even though Glenn doesn’t know, he’s taking it upon himself to keep that part of Hershel alive.
EW: Let’s talk about the back eight episodes. I’m hearing they will feel tonally different than the first eight. Would you say they feel different to you?
YEUN: I think what’s beautiful about this whole season in general…[showrunner] Scott Gimple really plays a really great complete opus. He plays a whole kind of sonata. It’s not this mashing of action and craziness all the time — it’s moments of silence, it’s moments of quiet and calm, it’s moments of hope juxtaposed with moments of incredible action. So he’s playing every single note just to make sure this whole thing is very beautiful and put together, and I think this second half — its going to feel how it is, which is, they’re all separated. And it’s definitely going to feel like that. It’s definitely going to have these moments I couldn’t see before because we had a large amount of people on screen at the same time and I think now we’re going to be able to focus on individuals and see where they’re coming from. We’re testing every character at this point.
EW: How do you as an actor on the show feel about moving on from the prison? This was your base of operations for a season and a half. What’s it like moving on into unchartered territory again?
YEUN: It’s exciting as an actor. The beauty of this show is the setting. It changes itself all the time. If we were locked into one place, it would be very easy to settle in and lose sight of how intense and horrifying their lives are as characters. But as we continue to move to different places, or be exposed to the outdoors, you can only kind of keep that action alive and I think that’s vital for the show. As an actor, I welcome it, I really do. It’s really fantastic that way.
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