The Walking Dead: Steven Ogg on Simon's big move
SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s “The Lost and the Plunderers” episode of The Walking Dead.
Well, this could get messy. Even with the recent turn of events, the Saviors appear to have their hands full dealing with the Alexandria-Hilltop-Kingdom uprising. But there is now an internal battle they may be fighting as well, as we learned on Sunday’s “The Lost and the Plunderers” episode of The Walking Dead.
Frustrated by mounting casualties and rampant insubordination by communities that used to be under their control, Simon the Savior wanted vengeance in the form of blood. But it was Negan, of all people, who insisted on patience and a more measured response. That did not sit well with Simon, who argued openly with his boss and then directly disobeyed his orders by slaughtering the Scavengers.
We spoke to the man who plays Simon, Steven Ogg, to get his take on his character’s bold disobedience. (Also make sure to check out our episode Q&A with Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Jadis.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, walk us through this disagreement we’re seeing — the first real big one we’ve seen between Simon and Negan in terms of a difference of opinion on how they should be responding to their enemies.
STEVEN OGG: I think it’s nice we get to finally see this. Since we’ve seen Simon there hasn’t been a lot of seeing Simon. A lot of people ask, “What’s that all about? Why aren’t Negan and Simon together more?” Well, it’s this. There’s a trust. There’s all these outposts, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to get done. So off Simon goes and does his thing. Well, now we see them together more and as we see them together — because things have not been going the way one wants in regards to amassing numbers — debating getting people on their side. Who’s for, who’s against? “Okay, well, we’ve been doing it your way Neegs for a little bit, and really nothing’s happening. So, how about we try this to get the results?” “Well. No. I disagree.” “Well, I disagree with you.” “Well, I disagree with you.” A little civil discourse. It’s nice.
What I find even more interesting than Simon disagreeing with Negan is the fact that he is so willing to openly disagree with him. There’s definitely a boldness in Simon really standing up to him.
You make choices sometimes as an actor. So I’m going to make a choice. “You know what? I think Simon would really stand up to Negan. If he’s going to die, this is maybe his last source of pride in this world that he’s surviving in, in a sense.” So, you make this choice of, “You know what? I’m not going to look down. If you want to take that bat and crush my skull, go ahead, man, but I’m going to do it looking you in your eyes, and I’m going to go down being the person I want to be. And that’s someone who stands up for what he believes in. Right or wrong, here I go.”
That’s how I think that had developed. I think it was part, let me try this as an actor, and then it became the reality and Simon’s thing is “Okay. Do it, man. This is what I believe. You believe that. Let’s do this, but I’m not going to be like everyone else.” Even when we took the knees for the first time— when Father Gabriel came back to the Sanctuary — everyone just dropped. I really wanted Simon to take the knee out of respect for his number one, but not go all the way down. It was a pretty lame ass take-a-knee. I wanted to start dropping that idea of, here’s a guy who’s going to stand up to the boss. To say, “Hey, man. You want to take me out, take me out. It’s on my terms, so not on your terms.” So, again, it’s that whole cat and mouse thing.
Who’s right? Should they continue to try to utilize these people as resources like Negan says, or are they too much of a threat that needs to eliminated per Simon? Because me thinks Simon might actually be right about this one.
Whether or not one agrees with the philosophy of it all, it is about surviving and it’s about these numbers and so this is what he’s choosing to do because this hasn’t worked. “We’ve tried this for how many outposts? How many new worlds that we’ve been into have we tried your way, Negan? It’s just getting more confusing and more jumbled. So why don’t we just try this, man? Let’s try this. Let’s try Simon’s way.” Again, it’s about the survival and it’s about getting further ahead, keeping alive in this world. That’s Simon’s choice is “Let’s do this. Your way hasn’t worked, man.”
We get to see Simon peacock again when he visits Jadis and the scavengers. How much fun was that scene to film?
Actually, it was awesome. The scale of that scene was very exciting, not only to be in that amazing, amazing location, but then obviously getting to work with Pollyanna. Awesome. It was exciting because, as you’ve seen, the enormity of that scene. It was huge. I had a lot of people, and there’s a lot of her people, so it was fun to sort of have this — I don’t even want to compare it to a Braveheart scene or anything like that — but to have this crowd at your disposal, just step into the gladiator ring. That’s how it felt. It literally felt like stepping into a big gladiator coliseum with all these people and going, “Hey, everybody,” and it’s so much fun to connect with as many people as I could. I look at all of Jadis’ people, and I turn to look at my people. I’m trying to look every take. Every time I’m doing it, it’s someone different.
Is Simon purposely provoking her by shooting not one but both of her two lieutenants? Do you think he drives out there with the intent of looking for a reason or any provocation to mow them all down?
I think there’s definitely a game plan in his head. Again, spontaneity is not always the best way to survive in that world, so I think you have to have a game plan. There’s always room for some changes and some things that differ, but I think he had a pretty fair idea of what he was getting into and what he wanted. Again, it is a sense of peacocking. It’s control. “I can do whatever I want, man. Now, you gonna tow the line here? Okay. Cool.”
All that said then, at the very end, why does he leave Jadis alive?
Well, that’s the thing. That’s what I found interesting too, is why would you do that? Again, you send a message. Why is she the leader of that group? There has to be a quality, there has to be something that has made all these people come together. So I think sometimes you have to also think, “Well, the leader of this group, what could they help within my world? How could they help me survive in the world? They must have qualities that make them the leader. There’s got to be a greater purpose for this person if they’ve got this far in the world, so let me just, maybe, you know, see what I can do with them or see what happens. See if they come around.”
Simon has now directly disobeyed an order from his superior in going and just wiping everyone out, so that seems a bit dangerous. I’m a little worried for this cat.
Simon is just saying, “Hey, man, it’s not worked your way. Time to try something different.” Ideally, it’s better to do something and ultimately get the results and then have to explain yourself, than continue down something that he doesn’t feel is working. Is it thin ice? Yeah, of course! You go against your leader, but also that’s giving it a shot, man, because if it works, it’s going to be great.
What can you say about what’s next for Simon?
There is certainly more. We get to see what’s been going on at these outposts. We get to see Simon out there in the field doing his thing. We haven’t really seen a lot of that. We’ve seen stuff inside, but now we get to join Simon a little more when he’s out on his own doing his thing.
AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.