Jenna Elfman Discusses Unity As A Major Theme For ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season Five

Fear The Walking Dead

By now, we are sure that nearly everyone has tuned in for the highly anticipated season five premiere of Fear The Walking Dead. Now, we are on the edge of our seats, waiting to see just how this season will play out. We will be seeing a few changes, especially with the overall tone for season five. Rest assured, however, it will still keep that same level of grittiness that the series has established. Seriously, this is the zombie apocalypse after all!

We recently had a chance to catch up with actress Jenna Elfman whose character Naomi/June joined the cast of Fear The Walking Dead last season and certainly plays a pivotal role going into season five. When speaking to us about the overall theme for the new season, tonal change and what she is excited about, Elfman comments,

“The unity of all these characters on their mission is really exciting. We’ve all come together in these very unexpected ways from all different walks of life and through the adversity have found a united kind of purpose or a renewed purpose. You get to the point where you realize the apocalypse isn’t going anywhere, so what are you going to be to it, rather than have it just destroy you. I think that’s cool and I think there are bold choices. They just decide to go bold or what are we even doing, so we might as well try and I think that’s exciting. It makes for a lot of great action scenes and I like the sincerity of their purpose. I think that is kind of lovely and says a lot about them … that they haven’t turned vicious.”

We have always looked at Fear The Walking Dead as a very dark series. Of course, the writers have done a fantastic job and trying their best to lighten things up a bit. Speaking about how the showrunners break up some of the tension, Elfman reveals,

“I just came in on season four and the new showrunners came in then and I think some of that levity may have come in at that time. I can’t really comment too much on the first three seasons because I wasn’t part of it so it’s not my place to comment, but I like that there is a blend of levity, as I think it gives meaning to the darker stuff and you get a good contrast going on.”

Fear the Walking Dead

Image via AMC

Actors and actresses continue to grow and develop alongside their characters. When asked what she learned about herself in the process of playing Naomi/June, Elfman says,

“That’s a good question. I think that I am finally getting to do things that I have always dreamt of doing as an actor, so I think it’s rather fulfilling. The joy I’m getting out of it is surprising me. I am feeling really fulfilled and I’m having a really good time doing it and exploring the journey of her, exploring her changes and portraying how someone can dig themselves out of a very dark and sad place. What is it that does that? The benevolence of John Dorie and the dedication of Morgan and the fearlessness of Morgan. Those two characters really set an example for her and helped rekindle her original purpose, which was to help others.

She was a trauma nurse and you are definitely not a trauma nurse if you don’t like helping people. The cross-influence of goodness and being able to portray the journey of that and the influence of that has been really fun and surprising to me. It is a lot deeper and spiritual than I was expecting the experience to be and I feel really committed to the storytelling and I’m enjoying the sensation it’s giving me!” 

Elfman has had to play a very multi-layered character with Naomi/June. Now that some of those identity layers have been peeled back, new revelations are coming. She comments,

I think we are going to see the beauty of her soul. The benevolence of John Dorie is very healing and I think she is blossoming into a new version of herself that she needs to be in order to survive.” 

When speaking about the fans online who have been “shipping” John and June for quite some time and the overall extreme fan base of The Walking Dead universe, Elfman tells us,

I’m glad it’s landing in their hearts. It’s cool because I really enjoy what Garret [Dillahunt] and I are creating with this relationship. He and I enjoy acting together and it’s really easy us and its’ effortless doing scenes together. I think we just get each other and I don’t know, I think it’s just one of those lovely things that happen now and then where it just slips right into a nice groove of alignment and you know we have great chemistry. I think we both enjoy our characters … we enjoy working independently and we enjoy bringing those two characters together. He and I just fall right into step with one another and I think the fans react to that so positively and it makes me really happy. I don’t do this just for myself, I do it to give people an emotional experience, so when I see that they are responding to what my goal is that makes me happy.”
Fear the Walking Dead

Image via AMC

We know that season five opens up with a plane crash. Ever since then, we’ve been curious to know just what other obstacles will be in-store for our survivors this coming season. Elfman responds,

I think that we are going to come to a real challenge when it comes to trying to help people and what does help mean, really? There are different interpretations of what help is and I think we see some people think of help as betrayal, some people think help is selfishness and to our group help means help! Lend a handout and don’t be selfish. Whenever you see the emergencies like the hurricanes or the disasters, it’s like that beautiful Mister Rogers quote, where he said his mother used to always tell him, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’. I feel like that’s what our group is and then we are going to encounter people who have other ideas of what that means and the conflict that is going to result out of that.” 

When speaking about the fan connection to Fear The Walking Dead now that it has found its’ footing and The Walking Dead universe overall, Elfman comments,

I can speak for myself as a fan I think the fact that the storylines are about humanity and you get the full dose of humanity when you push humanity to the cliff of survival and begin the storytelling there. It’s like humanity concentrate! I think those stories are rich because everything is heightened with things like love, health, betrayal, selfishness… all these buttons we have as human beings, we are seeing them in their full dosing. I think it makes for thrilling story-telling.”

Be sure to tune into an all-new episode of Fear The Walking Dead this Sunday at 9:00 pm! In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Season 5 of the series so far? Let us know in the comment section below!

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