You might recognize Sarah Wayne Callies as Dr. Sara Tancredi on “Prison Break”. Sarah is currently co-staring as Lori in “The Walking Dead”. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Sarah to discuss her role in the show and her other upcoming projects.
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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Lori on “The Walking Dead”?
Sarah Wayne Callies: Probably the first thing she would say about herself is that she is Rick’s wife and Carl’s mom. This is a woman’s who identity is very much situated in those relationships. She is somebody, who in contrast to other characters I have played before it wasn’t really raised with a sense of a whole lot of possibilities or ambition for herself outside of the family. She lived a very ordinary/normal life. Then everything goes to hell. She starts learning things about herself that is actually surprising, encouraging and terrifying.
MG: Did you enjoy playing such a strong leading role?
SC: For me this isn’t a zombie story. This isn’t a horror story. For me this is a story about people. It is about what happens to us in the most extreme of circumstances. Not just a one off. This is a very protracted scenario of people living constantly in crisis. They are in a pre-industrial revolution. You really never know who someone is going to be and you never known who you are going to be in those circumstances. What I love about Lori this is a woman that six months ago who have told you that she is capable of all of the miraculous mundane wife and mother things. She discovers that she has enough inside to be able to help the people she loves survive.
MG: Were you familiar with the comic prior, or after did you check it out?
SC: Not only was I not familiar with the comic book. I had never read a single comic book. They have never come up on my radar. Now I am that deep in it. My husband and I got utterly hooked on it. We were back at the comic book store like a junkie. The guy at the comic shop told me if this is your first comic then I have struck gold.
MG: How was it playing Dr. Sara Tancredi on “Prison Break”?
SC: They are such different women. Sara was a woman who was very confident at her way to think her way through and out of things. She was very intellectual and very privileged. She is a woman who is not only a doctor but a doctor at a prison. Sara had a very limited sense of her own capability when it came to relationships, love, trust and family. Here journey in the story was about coming to terms with ability to open up and trust and make a family with someone.
MG: For a show that you were in for almost five years, how do you feel now that its over?
SC: I feel like we told our story. I feel good about it. It has a beginning, a middle and a end. There was controversy all throughout, some people didn’t like the beginning, some the middle and some the end [laughs]. I feel we ended the show where the show needed to end. I am really proud of it.
MG: How do you feel going from crime drama to zombie horror?
SC: What is interesting, “Prison Break” was more a romance for me. This is from experiencing the show through my character. It was a story of a woman learning that she could fall in love. “The Walking Dead” to me is the story of a woman learning what it means to survive. They are not as far about as you might think. Part of what I get off on as an actor is doing characters that are as different as possible. It is nice to do something different. I have never seen a zombie movie before this. The gore I am starting to see in the show is an important part of creating a world where you really do believe these people are constantly in danger.
MG: Congratulations on your screenplay getting optioned, what can you tell us about “Elena’s Serenade”?
SC: Thank you, I am so excited about that. “Elena’s Serenade” is a simple story about a little girl that crosses a desert to be become a glass blower. Her family is a glass blower but will not teach her. Her family is desperately poor and needs help in the shop. So she sets out who all of the competence of youth to save her family. It is infused with a lot of magical realism. Talking creatures, music and parts of it might be a dream. It is the perception of the growing world as it unfolds to a child’s eyes. I think it is realistic in the way that children see things. It is a children’s picture book that I have been reading to my daughter for like a year and a half. I thought to myself one day that I see the full length version of this. I have been in touch with the author and he and I talked a lot about it. It is has been a close calibration. We are just taking the next steps. We are also considering translating the film into Spanish and doing it as a foreign language film. Depending on which director we end up with if they think that will be the way to go.
MG: Tell us about the other projects you are involved in?
SC: I just did a movie with Milla Jovovich called “Faces in the Crowd”. It was great fun and a kind of crazy experimental type of film. The role I am playing I think there are six other actresses playing the role as well. It was a lot of funny and something I have never seen done before. I worked on this very cool Nigerian film about the Niger Delta, called “Black Gold”. That was an incredible experience. It has been an incredible year, I feel like I have got to work with some really extraordinary people. I am so honored by the work I have been able to do.
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