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Interview - Gale Anne Hurd

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GALE ANNE HURD, Executive Producer

When does Fear begin and what do we start to learn about our world?

When we started The Walking Dead, we were four weeks into the zombie apocalypse. On Fear, we are with our characters as this is happening. We are learning as they learn at what point the world falls apart. What are the choices you make, and how do you maintain a family unit as the world is falling down around you? Initially we learn that things are a little “off.” There’s more violence, unexplained violence. People who should essentially be dead or injured seem to be coming back with a desire to feed, and we get to see what happens when they do and what that does to the living, to the people around them, their loved ones and total strangers.

Describe our hero family and how viewers might relate.

Our hero family is a blended family. The Clark family, plus a soon-to-be stepfather Travis Manawa, played by Cliff Curtis. Kim Dickens plays his girlfriend Madison, and he’s a teacher and she’s a guidance counselor. When we first see them in the pilot, we see them in their normal lives. It raises the questions right away about what kind of choices they will have to make and what they might have to do to keep themselves and their family safe. The audience may begin to think about that for themselves. To what lengths will you go to create a safe zone, and what will you do? Will you lie, cheat, steal, throw someone else to the zombies if that’s going to protect you and your family? And that’s what makes it so compelling – the question of “Would I do that? Is that the right thing to do?” They have real issues, issues we can all relate to outside of the backdrop of the apocalypse, and so they’re in a pressure cooker, dealing with their family issues along with the world falling apart around them.

How do things change for our hero family, as things get worse?

As things evolve, they’re going to need to find a safe place. Because of desperation, people will do anything to save themselves. We will see them search for ways to survive and encounter complications in that journey. They are at risk, and that is a big change from the world they knew before.

What were some of the most important things for you when putting together this series?

The most important thing for us when putting together this series was to make sure that it stood on its own. In the universe of Fear The Walking Dead, we wanted to tell a story that deserved to be told, that was character-driven, that engaged the audience as much as the original series did in an equally compelling way.

What is this world and where do we find our characters?

We find our characters in Los Angeles living ordinary lives. Unlike The Walking Dead where we pick up with Rick waking up a month into the zombie apocalypse, it hasn’t really even happened yet. We are in the normal world first. So we get to see normal life, we get to see the tensions and stresses on people when they think that those are going to be the biggest things they’re dealing with, and then of course… their lives begin to change. We get to see how it slowly crumbles, how the things we thought we could rely on — other people, other family members — maybe aren’t who we thought they were. And of course, they are not prepared. They don’t have a guidebook. They weren’t able to watch The Walking Dead and see how to deal with this. At first, like all of us would probably react, there is disbelief. There is belief that it’s an outbreak and the media is sensationalized and overblown until it comes to them, until they encounter this unexplained phenomenon and then their lives change forever.

What would you say is the foundation of Fear?

The foundation of the series is the family unit. It’s a family like so many in the world today, and people who are trying to make a family from people who have other parents, and there’s stress and tension because all of those issues haven’t been worked out and you can’t force that. There is tension with exes, and on top of that you have Madison’s daughter Alicia who seems like she’s perfect, and the son Nick who’s facing his addiction problems and addictive behavior of lying. You have parents who are soon-to-be stepparents who deal with kids who aren’t their own but are trying to help. So all that maelstrom is brought to bear this season, and further down the line we are introduced to another family, the Salazars, who have their own unique family dynamics.

How was the casting process?

With any series and especially a show like this, getting the right people to bring these characters to life is important. You want to see how they cope with the stresses and care enough that what happens to them seems like it could be something that is happening to you – and we found the ideal cast.

There’s been lots of talk about family dynamics playing in the midst of the craziness going on around them. What makes this an interesting aspect of the show?

The family has conflict, and now they’re faced with greater conflict. How they come together or don’t will be interesting. The fact is you need to trust people and you also need to trust strangers to get through this, which is where our blended family begins to get even bigger. The truth for the characters is, they don’t know the rules. No one does. The army doesn’t know the rules, the medical community doesn’t know the rules, the police don’t know the rules, so we see quickly something we’ve never examined before in The Walking Dead. Just being close to someone might put your life at risk or in a situation where you don’t even know you’re infected, and the default has to be – you are. The answer soon becomes shoot first, don’t ask questions. There is a great deal of adjustment in a very short period of time.

Source: AMC

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