'The Walking Dead' star Sonequa Martin-Green on Sasha's big mistake and a 'gut-wrenching' midseason finale
I don’t blame her. After all, that Grady Memorial Hospital cop named Bob seemed like a decent enough guy. And he shared the same name as Sasha’s boyfriend Bob, who got…you know, eaten. So Tyreese’s sister maybe wasn’t thinking completely clearly when she agreed to help her prisoner by putting his former friend out of his zombie misery — only to get bum rushed and knocked out, allowing said prisoner to escape. Whoops! We caught up with the woman who plays Sasha, Sonequa Martin-Green, to get her thoughts on what the heck happened. She also breaks down the other big moments of the episode for Sasha and previews next Sunday’s midseason finale, which she promises will run “the whole gamut.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, congratulations on being a mom-to-be, Sonequa. Did all your Walking Dead cast and crew friends give you disgusting zombie onesie baby gifts and stuff
SONEQUA MARTIN-GREEN: The head of the costume department, Eulyn Womble, and the rest of the department put together this fantastic shower for me and yes, I got amazing zombie gifts. I got this one little onesie that says something, like, “Zombies, please. My mother’s got this.” [Laughs] It’s the cutest thing ever.
Let’s get to Sunday’s episode that we saw. You turned your back on this guy to do him a favor after he fed you this sob story about his zombie buddy and WHAM-O! — he knocks you out cold. How did you fall for that?
You know what? It’s an isolated moment for her. It definitely is, because we know how distrustful Sasha is. She has a very hard exterior. She doesn’t trust easily, she doesn’t connect with people easily. We know this about her. We know how practical she is. But she’s grieving right now, so of course she’s irrational. And she has this beautiful moment with Tyreese at the back of the car where he convinces her that she doesn’t have to keep tormenting herself about not being able to be the one to stab Bob once he dies. He helped her see that she actually did help honor his memory by allowing Tyreese to help her because that’s what Bob stood for in a sense — that kind of community and connection. And so she’s on cloud nine for just a moment, which was really, really needed for her. Then this man’s name is Bob! So it’s like he’s speaking to her. And so it’s a momentary slip and she suffers for it.
Like you said, Sasha has been so cold and tough and hardboiled since Bob died, and then she finally decides to let her defenses down for a second and it ends up costing her.
Just a second. My goodness. It’s really sad, actually.
Now one practical question I wanted to ask you: Considering you had a baby in your belly when you shot this, was there any concern or extra precautions taken when you filmed that scene at the end with you getting bashed in the head and then falling to the ground?
Oh, yeah, everyone was extremely generous and extremely cautious and they took really good care of me because we had to be extra safe. Thank goodness I was able to do everything, but we did have to be safe about it — super safe. No hard falling. No hard bumping — that kind of thing. But I went all the way to the edge of what I could do.
Yeah, nobody wants to knock out the pregnant woman. Okay, we talked about the last scene, now let’s go to the very first scene and you taking apart the church pew. That must have been fun, but also pretty tiring after a bunch of takes.
Yeah, it was actually what you just said — it was fun, but tiring. I was so excited about it. When I read it in the script I said, “Yes! Yes! I want to chop up some wood!” So I was all for it. I was gung-ho. And then we did do it quite a few times. We did it from lots of different angles and everything and I was really happy because according to everyone else my form was great. So that’s the biggest thing I cared about was my form. I just wanted to make sure I was chopping wood correctly. So I had that under control, which was great. But yeah, by the time we got to my close-ups, of course, I had to move to the rubber ax because the cameras were so close to me. So they were like, “Okay, we’re going to go to the rubber ax now for your close-up.” And I was like, “Are we going to the rubber ax because I’m pregnant and you guys think I’m tired?” And they said, “No, no, it needs to be done. We don’t want that ax near the camera equipment. The camera’s going to be a little close to you for you to use the real one. So it’s actually for our safety.”
So they didn’t care about you. They were just worried about themselves and their fancy camera.
Well, they were like, “We got all the other stuff. It’s all in the can. We’re good to go, but at this point, the camera’s too close and we’re too close so let’s just go for the rubber ax.” And I said, “Touche, you got it.”
You talked a bit earlier about that scene between Sasha and Tyreese. She rips Bob’s coat, which she has been wearing, and Tyreese tells her she has to say goodbye. It looked like the Bob situation was maybe driving a wedge between Sasha and her brother for a while, but now it seems like she is finally allowing him to offer her some help and some comfort. Tell me about that sibling relationship through the whole Bob tragedy.
You’re right about the wedge that started to form between them because Sasha and Tyreese have always been different in terms of how they see this world and how they choose to operate in this world. That’s for sure. But it has definitely been exacerbated by the recent past and what’s happened. Not just with Sasha and Bob, but with the girls at the end of season 4. So it’s pushed him closer to his view of humanity, and then losing Bob has pushed Sasha closer to hers, so as a result of that there’s this new distance between them. And it’s interesting because even with that they were able to still come together and have that brotherly-sisterly connection. She drew comfort and peace from him like only your sibling can give you. And so it’s great that even though there was this disparity between them and even though this distance has been growing a bit, they there were still able to come back together, and it’s really a testament to how close they are. So it’s going to continue to be interesting to see how it plays out, and see if this wedge continues to grow or if it gets smaller as a result of that moment. We’ll see.
I know you’re not allowed to tell us what happens in Sunday’s midseason finale, but you can at least describe the types of emotions it might elicit. What sort of adjectives would you use to describe what we are going to see on Sunday?
Gut–wrenching. I think its just going to take you through everything. And not to be cliché and say something really simple, but it is going to take you through everything — fear, suspense, you’re going to laugh, you’re going to be really sad. It’s the whole gamut, the next episode. It really is. You can expect to experience everything.
You guys just wrapped production on season 5. That is pretty perfect timing a far as maternity leave goes, right?
Well timed! Well played, Sonequa!
The season shoots from May to November, so it’s pretty fantastic. My husband and I were not planning to have a child. He was a surprise! So I’m really happy it all worked out in general across the board, because it’s not something we did on purpose.