Karen David Chats With Us About Her Fear The Walking Dead Debut

Long-time fans of actress Karen David were thrilled to learn the news that she would be joining the cast of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” as a series regular. Other than a few cryptic messages via social media, very little was known about the character that David would be portraying other than that her name was Grace.

This left fans to speculation in just what way she would tie into the series and now, with this week’s all-new episode we have finally received some solid answers. One thing we can say for sure is that David sure is a long ways away for her role as Princess Jasmine on ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” and has definitely traded in her magic carpet and princess crown for something a little more fitting to the zombie apocalypse with a hazmat suit!

We had a chance to catch up with Karen David to chat about her “Fear The Walking Dead” debut episode, exploring the character of Grace, the fandom behind the “Fear The Walking Dead/The Walking Dead’ universe and more!

**Note**  Article/interview contains spoilers from the 6/9/19 episode of “Fear The Walking Dead”

When speaking to us about her rather exciting entrance on “Fear The Walking Dead”, David comments with a laugh, “It’s exciting and nerve-wracking in a good way with me being the newbie to this universe. I hope you enjoyed the episode and everyone else did too!

Discussing Grace’s back-story and what it has been like to explore this character, David tells us, “Definitely everyone is going to learn more and more about Grace’s past and with me, I’m new to the “Walking Dead” universe so this is really exciting and my sister is a die-hard fan who has been watching “Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” from the very start, so she said in a way it’s refreshing because she sees the excitement of me going through this through a fresh pair of eyes.

Full disclosure, I am the biggest wimp, it doesn’t take much to scare me, so when I landed the role of Grace my husband had the biggest laugh because his dream for me was to either play a robot or to be in a show that is all “walkers”. His dream came true! He said, ‘Karen, what are you going to do? You get scared so easily?’ and I said, ‘I know! … I’m just going to have to come back home after filming and just watch funny movies that will make me laugh’. I’m a newbie to this world and that excitement just oozes right through me when I’m on set every day. This show is so special, because even I thought to be a newbie into it before I started watching “Fear The Walking Dead”, as I’ve had to catch myself up, I thought ‘oh, it’s all about the walkers’, but it’s not!  The walkers paint a fabric of apocalyptic life and especially this season it’s very much about hope and camaraderie, community and helping others and that is a healing journey for each and every one of our characters to cope and survive in this new world.

For Grace, coming into this, what I’ve been telling my fans who have followed me from “Galavant” and “Once Upon A Time” and I’ve told them, ‘Guys, there is no magic carpet ride and no gorgeous princess costume, at least that I’ve seen yet … just be warned you are going to see a very, very different version of me’ which is what I love about this character so much. She is by far the most different character I’ve ever played and it was the reason I had to take this role because it is out of my comfort zone and it is something so different for me and the fact that I’m not wearing a shiny crown, which I love by the way, but this very different and it challenges me as an actor and that is ultimately what you want. You want to throw yourself in the deep end and even though you might be thinking, ‘Oh, my god, what am I doing?’ you realize it’s the most thrilling ride ever and I feel like with Grace’s journey which she goes through, which we all see in episode two when she enters.”

We jokingly tell David she traded her crown for a hazmat suit, which she replies, “Oh my gosh! Let’s not even talk about that hazmat suit! It was very challenging to say the least, because every time, keep in mind it was quite cold when we were filming in December. so whenever I would begin to talk through my mask, it would keep fogging up. I seriously needed windshield wipers! It would fog up and I can’t see a thing! It was very challenging, but at the same time, I was very grateful to wear that hazmat suit because it was quite cold and I could wear layers and I was like if I’m going to be like the Michelin doll, now’s the time to do it because I’m in a hazmat suit. I’m on a mission now to clean up this mess that she feels very responsible for, but I must admit it allowed me to eat a few extra biscuits without having to worry!”

This was definitely the opposite from actor Lennie James in these scenes, as Morgan got quite a shower. David laughing agrees, saying, “I know! Oh, my gosh! I felt so bad because here I am snuggly and warm because the hazmat suit is like a glorified pajama, but poor Lennie had to decontaminate. It was Grace’s first concern and she is very determined to clean up the mess she feels very responsible for and that is kind of the guilt that is on her shoulders that she has to live with every day.

The clock is ticking as far as she is concerned because she has been in the plant and this part of the world and has been exposed to heavy amounts of radiation, so she feels she has to contain this mess, a mistake that she made and she feels responsible for and of course when the gang lands and the plane crashes in the area she cordoned off, as she blatantly put out as many signs as she could that say stay away this is a radiation zone, she finds Morgan and her main concern is I have to make sure these people are okay because the last thing she wants is more lives lost. Her main thing is to have them decontaminate and stay away from the area. Now if they had only listened to the signs in the first place (laughs)”

If things couldn’t get any worse, we say, we are now dealing with nuclear walkers and Morgan lost his stick! David replies, “Right! It just raises the game even more because these are very dangerous walkers and if you come anywhere near them you are exposing yourself to dangerous levels of radiation and it poses a heightened threat all together to everyone.”

We once again touched on David’s fan base and her social media postings about joining the show and have to wonder how many of these fans will now open their eyes to checking out “Fear The Walking Dead” if they have never watched before. David reveals, “That’s been really exciting for me in that I am truly blessed to have fans that have followed my journey, especially my American journey, where they followed me from “Galavant” to “Legacies” and “Once Upon A Time” and all these other characters and this universe is also new for them. Some of them, of course, are big fans of “Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” anyway so that was great, but for the rest of them, it’s new for them as well, as it is for me and I feel like we’re on this journey together and some of the tweets say, ‘I’m scared as well of watching anything with zombies or whatnot’ and I said, ‘Listen, I’m the biggest wimp, so if I can get through this, it’s going to be a piece of cake for you!’ We are in this together! We are enjoying this at the same time and that really, really excites me. I’m very grateful for them and I feel like I have the best cheering squad ever!”

When speaking to us about witnessing the fandom for both the “Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” universe with the fan theories and more, David tells us, “I’m still new to it, so there’s definitely more to come. We are just starting to do press events and it’s like I’m the new kid and some of the other cast members are like, it’s really nice to see, as they are reminded of what it was like when they first joined because they see it through my excitement and my giggles. It’s been very lovely over the past couple of months to be embraced and welcomed so warmly by the whole “Walking Dead” universe.

I think I kind of fan-girled when the “Walking Dead” comics welcomed me and I just felt, ‘wow, this is really real!’ and I just started watching “The Walking Dead”, so I have all these seasons to catch up on. It such a fun and amazing adventure for me. I’m so very grateful and this character Grace is so different for me, it’s a role I’ve never played before and I just love everything about her and the challenges as an actor with this character and what she’s going through is something that is really thrilling for me to play.”

We asked David if there was anything she could tease us with for the rest of season five or anything she was excited for us to see coming up on “Fear The Walking Dead” to which she replied, “You know we can’t give anything away (laughs)! This season really truly is epic, gosh, there are so many exciting episodes and it’s big, and I mean, epic big! As far as Grace goes we are going to learn more and more about her backstory and how she comes into the fold, but what we do know now and where this starts off the basis is that she does work in a nuclear plant in upper management, she feels when the apocalypse happened was to call in all her workers to help keep the plant running and to make sure that the generators were all okay and she called in their families so she could house them and protect them from the outside elements, what was happening, and they have enough food and supplies. She thought they were all going to be safe and of course, we see that quickly dissipated when one of the generators failed, radiation leaked out and it was like a mini Chernobyl happening and what a nightmare that was and the amount of guilt she felt because people that she cared about and worked with and had friendships with, she was the person in charge of all that and it was through her choices and decisions she made that ended in disastrous results.

She feels responsible for all this and I’m sure it’s not her fault, but she is the person of authority, she took it all on her shoulders. Her extreme focus is what saved her from having a breakdown. She has to make good and clean the mess that she made, she’s got to cordon off the area and keep it contained. She also has to make sure that she disposes of those walkers, who remember, were also her co-workers, so you have to imagine that every time she sees a dosimeter around their neck she’s reminded over and over again of her choices and the decisions she made and it’s a big, big weight on her shoulders trying to clean up as quickly as possible without infecting others.”

We can’t wait to see just how Grace’s story will play into season five of “Fear The Walking Dead’ and what it will mean for the rest of the group of survivors. We certainly welcome her to the cast with open arms!  “Fear The Walking Dead” airs on Sunday’s at 9:00 pm only on AMC!

 

 

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