ENTERTAINMENT WEKELY: When Eric sends Aaron back to the fight, do you think he knows it’s the end for him there?
JORDAN WOODS-ROBINSON: You know, that question never really came up. I think there is that feeling of wanting to grasp onto saying: It’s going to be okay. I’m going to hold out and we are going to make it back to the Hilltop and we’re going to make it to a doctor and there are people who are trained to do this. And the exit wound through the back, that’s a good sign. As long as I can make it without bleeding out and without being attacked while I’m here, then we have a shot.
But at the same time, I think he probably knows that it is going to be the end. But either way, it’s just such a beautiful final moment. And they don’t have closure. When Aaron comes over to the tree to try to find Eric later and he’s not there and we see Eric walking across the field — you can still see that relationship there being stretched out. I think that is equally beautiful and horrifying that Aaron didn’t get that sense of closure. We did get a nice goodbye and I think at the end of that we were both prepared to have that be our final goodbye. But then it all comes back around and we see him not getting to get that final act of closure, and I have such mixed feelings about that. I think it’s so beautiful and I think it’s awful.
I feel so bad for Aaron because that’s just something that can break a person. And we might see that in the next couple episodes with the character wrestling with that knowledge — kind of like we saw with Lennie James’ character back in the beginning of the series, that he’s out there and he’s looking for his wife and he’s a broken man and he doesn’t know where to turn next because he knows that his partner is out there, even if it’s not the real version. Even if it’s just imitation, that person is still out there and still roaming the world.
It leads to some really interesting questions in terms of what is worse? I remember watching Daryl have to put down a zombie version of his brother, or you see Spencer having to do it with his mother Deanna, and you think: What could be worse than that? And it’s like, well, maybe what’s worse than that is not being able to do it.
Absolutely. Just knowing that it’s out there and you could encounter that person.
So did Greg Nicotero and his team put any zombie makeup on you for that shuffle off in the field or not?
I was in full zombie makeup for that, believe or not. They had actually filmed that scene with another person in my place because I was filming some other stuff and so they said, “Okay, well, we’re going to get an extra. We’re going to get a body double. We’re going to match him to you and he’s going to walk through the fields.” And then after that happened, I was a little disappointed and I just mentioned it once or twice and they believed so strongly and they wanted me to feel so strongly so they shot it again with me.
Like, no one else is going to know except for now me saying this. No one else would know that that wasn’t me walking across the field, but I would know and they listened to that and they said, “Yeah, you’re right. It should be you.” And so we went back on another day and re-filmed it and it just warms my heart. That’s not something that anyone would have had to do, but they agreed to it because I felt strongly about it and so yeah, that is me walking through the field. And just in case, the front of my face is in full zombie make-up. And for all of Ross’s reactions though the rest of the episode, I was there off-camera walking away from him in order to give him a visual reference. Because, you know, we’re there to support each other.
What are you going to miss most about working on The Walking Dead?
The people, really. Every day on set there were lots of jokes. There was a couple times in season 7 when it got a little tense and there weren’t many jokes. But other than that, people are just having great conversations. There’s an added challenge and excitement to working on film and TV projects where you show up and you work on one scene for a couple hours and then you move on to the next scene. I’ve missed having that long arc of getting to know a family of people over four years and really getting to create something great with them.
For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.