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FRANK DILLANE on “Nick Clark”

Who is Nick?

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Nick is a 19-year-old guy whose father is dead and he lives with his mom and sister – well, he sort of runs away from home every now and then. He struggles with addiction as well. Nick is in a constant state of life and death, and I think that’s what life is like for addicts. Everything is life and death, chuck that into the end of the world, and you’ve got a very unstable young man.

What was intriguing about playing this character and being a part of this world?

I haven’t seen the original Walking Dead. I like the fact that there’s not a lot of blue screen and stuff like that. Acting today is so much about empty entertainment, and this show is dealing with something important because the world will end one day. All the themes in the series seem to be really important and real. That’s what intrigued me. Family is a theme, death, morality, what it is to be a human being, what it is to kill someone and what effect that takes. What happens to humanity when the walls fall down? What are we actually doing here? These are real, human themes.

What’s the story behind this series?

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It’s before the apocalypse has been established so we’re still in the question phase of is this a sickness? Can this be cured? The government I believe will take a bigger role in regards to what do they tell us, what don’t they, and how brainwashed we are or aren’t.

How is the family/Nick relatable?

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I think this family is just “a family.” I think they’re relatable because they are one.

What is different in Fear vs. The Walking Dead?

The difference is it is establishing the apocalypse, versus being in the middle of it. Is it right to kill or not? These things are still being determined. This is much more dealing with the morality of what it is to kill a zombie.

What is Nick’s relationship like with his mother, Madison?

Nick trailer
I think it’s just mother/son. I know to some mothers, their kids can’t do anything wrong in their eyes and I think that can be a fault of a mother. Sometimes they can’t see that their babies are not only self-destructive but destructive, and so they refuse to believe that they could have created a monster. Not that Nick is a monster, but sometimes his actions are monstrous. A mother’s love can be so overwhelming and so hard for boys to take, because they can be such selfish little rats. How can this woman stand by him? And I think that’s difficult too. Nick is still dependent on selfish ends, so I’m not clear about how he feels about his family. He is still stuck on need and immediate gratification, so how his actual soul is doing, I’m not sure yet. He still seems to be in a haze of need. The absent person in the whole equation really is Nick’s father, so I think Nick is still reeling from the shock of that loss. And I think that’s what gives Nick leave to not care so much because his dad is dead.

How does Nick react to the zombies?

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I think he knows what he sees. I think if people doubt you, doubt creeps in. I think junkies are sometimes hard to believe. Maybe he’s inconsistent in his language or emotions and he can appear mad. I think that trait existed before the heroin did. It’s like the madness exists anyway. I think with Nick, it’s all life and death. And I tried to make myself as childlike and not concerned with social conditioning or social expectations of what it is to be a human being. I think if you’re a person like Nick, you like to stay on the outside of society.

What is the world in its pre-apocalyptic state?

The world is as it is – pretty fucked, pretty bad. We live in a capitalist society. Community is dead. We’re all in it for ourselves, and I think that’s the world we will find ourselves in at the end of the world. What happens when Nick can’t be self-centered, when he has to take care of his sister or mother? I think it might be then we’ll realize how silly we’ve been.

Will Nick understand this world more?

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Addiction is a physical thing in the mind. They did a test with a rat where it would hit this button, and if you injected the rat with the addiction gene, it will keep on hitting the button until it is dead. So the food is not the problem, the gene is the problem. So once the heroin is out, perhaps he’ll become addicted to something else, like love. I think an addict is someone who has a close relationship with God, and he is aware that God is missing in his life. The drugs at least give him or her a religion, gives them something to live for. I think Nick will find that once the heroin goes, but for now he’s got nothing to live for, I don’t think. And that can be a great thing. If you’ve got nothing to live for, you don’t care. He is fluctuating between life and death constantly. I think he’s seen the devil already.

Source: AMC Press Kit, Frank Dillane Interview

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