Since her arrival in the world of The Walking Dead, slaying zombies and saving lives, Michonne has been a firm fan favourite. We spoke to Danai Gurira, who plays the sword-slinging enemy of the undead, about life as a survivor…
The Walking Dead: interview exclusive
Michonne is such an intense character – what’s the most fun aspect of playing her?
“I do love playing a woman who’s that able and that strong – but it is really fun to do the sword stuff. I can’t lie!”
Were you a natural with the katana, the traditional Japanese sword Michonne uses, or was there a lot of training?
“Quite a bit. I did some training at the very beginning and that was the most intense period. Now it’s more sporadic – when I ask for it.”
Things can be bleak in the show. How do you lighten it up?
“There’s a lot of love and I think that’s what mitigates everything. We live in whatever the moment was, but there’s so much love on set that it makes everything go down easier. Also we can be very goofy, even in the midst of the trickiest stuff. Just by being ourselves.”
It must be nice experiencing your character’s shift – any chance you’ll form a proper family with Carl and Rick soon?
“Haven’t we done that? Isn’t that happening?”
Remember we’ve not reached the end of season 4...
“You just never know what’s gonna happen next! But that’s just The Walking Dead, right? It is great to play Michonne in this transformative stage, allowing her to get through some of the things that shut her down in the beginning. This young man and the man she has connected with… it’s a very cool thing for her that she found them, after Andrea.”
Michonne may be the only thing keeping Carl sane...
“I’m such a huge fan of Chandler Riggs, I adore him. He’s an astounding actor, an amazing young man to work with – and kind of the most mature person on set!”
And killing The Governor – that must have been an amazing moment…
“It was, but I was caught up in what was happening to Rick! They were playing that so fully, I was thinking… ‘Ouch! He’s really hitting him!’ Andy [Andrew Lincoln] looked like he was about to die! I wanted to stab The Governor earlier. It was time. It was time for The Governor to meet the katana!”
That’s English actors for you. They’ll go for it if you let them...
“Oh, yes. I certainly have observed that. I love my Brits.”
If you could choose one other survivor to be with you in a zombie outbreak, who would it be out of the cast? We’d go for you. Or Daryl…
“I can’t say! Everyone has a power and that’s why they’ve all survived so long. Right now, I have to say, I’m a severe fan of Carol.”
On another note, we recently saw Michonne entertain Carl by sticking loads of processed cheese on her face. What on earth was that stuff?
“It’s a WRETCHED American food which honestly is truly not food – God knows what it’s made of. Which is why I had a spit-bucket! In the show we called it ‘Crazy Cheese’ but it has another name. Oh, whatever! You guys have Marmite! What the HELL is Marmite?!”
Now Danai, Marmite is amazing.
“That stuff is so nasty. So Crazy Cheese is some nasty stuff like Marmite and it was disgusting, but that moment gave her some lightness and enabled her to be that much of a goof to help someone she cares for. Remember, at the end of that episode he offers her some more and she says ‘No!’ Crazy Cheese is not what she enjoys. Michonne likes soy milk for God’s sake...”