The Strolling Lifeless Morales actor on that surprising reveal


SPOILER ALERT: Learn on solely when you’ve got already watched Sunday’s “The Damned” episode of The Strolling Lifeless.

The newest episode of The Strolling Lifeless featured the alliance working to obtain weapons at a Saviors armory whereas additionally attacking varied outposts. However probably the most surprising second occurred within the closing seconds as Rick — distracted and despondent after discovering a child — had a gun turned on him by one of many Saviors. And the person holding that gun was none aside from Morales, final seen in season 1 departing from the group along with his household for Birmingham, Alabama, whereas the others made their method to the CDC.

Time (and future episodes) will inform what has occurred to Morales and his household since season 1, and the way and why buddy has now turn into foe. However we spoke to the actor who performs him, Juan Gabriel Pareja, to learn the way his return to the present occurred and what it was like coming again to the set seven years later. (Additionally be certain that to take a look at our episode Q&A with the person who performs Jesus, Tom Payne.)

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how and when did they attain out to you about coming again to the present?
JUAN GABRIEL PAREJA: As many individuals know, all through the years there’s at all times been hypothesis and the rumors yearly that I used to be making a return. I additionally tweeted an image as sort of a joke side-by-side to Negan saying, “The one factor that’s going to cease a nasty man with a bat is an effective man with a bat,” with an image of Morales from season 1. However then, I feel it might need been in April, I obtained a name from the casting officers up in Canada reaching out and mainly testing the waters to see if there could be any curiosity on my half to return to the present.

And as I continued as a watcher and a fan of the present, I maybe just a little too eagerly accepted! [Laughs] After they spoke with my reps for just a little bit, it was nonetheless sort of an up-in-the air factor. It was not a conclusive finished deal. It was mainly simply sort of like, “Effectively, perhaps in two months we is perhaps supplying you with a name, we simply wished to see if you happen to would have an interest if that had been the case.”

So we left it at that. It was sort of up within the air, and with that two-month leeway and hoping for the perfect, I made a decision to hit the health club laborious. I obtained a coach, who rocked my world and simply remodeled me into a brand new individual altogether. I used to be in a position to get about two months of laborious work within the health club to prepare for that second, after which certain sufficient, because the date approached, we obtained the decision saying that sure, it’s a finished deal. However I used to be nonetheless very a lot at midnight about to what capability and to what diploma, so it was only a blind step in that route.

Have been there some other factors over the previous seven years the place you thought you may come again?
Again within the day when [Glen Mazarra] was our outdated showrunner, I had heard that they had been engaged on a potential return story of mine, however it was very casual, sort of informal conversations right here and there. And there might need been one different time when it got here up, however this was undoubtedly the primary official out on this capability.

So what was it like going again to that set seven years later?
It was fairly outstanding. From the second I stepped foot on the bottom, it was simply all of the acquainted faces, and the manufacturing on all the way down to the solid, so it was outstanding to say the least, and a very brand-new location. Andy had a really welcoming, beneficiant spirit that made us really feel like we had been selecting up from the place we left off. It was very nice.

What was it like working with Andrew Lincoln once more?
It was terrific. It was like outdated occasions. We had a number of scenes that had been simply Andy and I early on within the first season, and he simply at all times had such a beneficiant spirit, and a kindness, and an openness that hadn’t modified, and hadn’t diminished or pale in any respect, in order that was very nice to select up with that dynamic. If you understand Andy, you understand that he’s obtained simply the sort of sweetest power, in order that was good. That was very good to be welcomed by that.

What’s it been like preserving the key that you’d be again on the present?
It’s been borderline insufferable. It’s been actually one thing. That’s been the toughest half, truthfully, having to chew my tongue for so long as I’ve, after which additionally simply seeing the episode myself only a day or two in the past. That was actually one thing to truly see that second up on the display that had been so a few years within the making and so a few years coming.

It’s been seven years. How do you get again within the headspace of this character once more, or is he so completely different now that it actually doesn’t matter as a result of it’s virtually like a very new character?
I feel in lots of regards that it’s a brand-new character ,as a result of as you noticed within the episode, the popularity sort of begins to settle into Rick’s eyes and he’s like, “Your title is Morales.” The one factor Morales has to say to that’s that was a very long time in the past, buddy. So he’s certainly a special man, and truthfully, at the same time as an actor, there wasn’t a complete lot of prep that I might do as a result of I used to be saved just about at midnight myself till it was go time. After which I needed to actually simply be taught the fabric in that manner and simply make it occur. There’s not a lot I actually might have finished to organize for that seven-year transition. It’s only a complete new man altogether.

So earlier than you bought this name, had you made up your personal story in your head for what occurred to Morales?
I had at all times badumed that Morales was surviving on the market and making it work, at all times hoping for the perfect, undoubtedly being a survivor. I feel we noticed that streak in him within the first season. Apart from that, man, I simply figured he was on the market surviving and doing in all probability some actually nasty issues to be able to survive. I’m sort of naive and optimistic that he was nonetheless being a household man, and taking good care of his household, and surviving on the market within the terrible world of The Strolling Lifeless.

Was it good to get again in that Atlanta warmth?
Oh, man, let me let you know: That’s one factor I did not miss.

I do know you’ll be able to’t say a lot, however what are you able to tease so far as what we’ll study Morales transferring ahead?
I can’t say an excessive amount of, however we’ll undoubtedly be taught just a little little bit of a backstory from Morales and what’s been happening with him through the years, and just a little little bit of what’s result in his transformation and transition into one in all Negan’s males as a Savior.

Be certain that to take a look at our episode Q&A with the person who performs Jesus, Tom Payne. And for extra Strolling Lifeless scoop, observe Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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