*** SPOILER ALERT: There are some minor Season 5 premiere spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk! ***
Last we saw the "Walking Dead" gang, the majority of them were held captive at Terminus, a supposed sanctuary for the remaining members of humanity. The Season 5 premiere title, "No Sanctuary," indicates that that is definitely not the case.
HuffPost Canada TV spoke with Cudlitz about the crazy s**t that's about to go down in the Season 5 premiere and beyond. He also talked about his character's back story finally being revealed, his favourite kill (so far) and the importance of maintaining facial hair post-apocalypse.
HuffPost Canada TV: Well, that premiere was intense.
Michael Cudlitz: Oh, yeah. I'm a fan of the show, not just a part of the cast, and I think this was one of the best -- if not the best -- episode of this entire series. From a fan standpoint, I find it to be one of the most satisfying episodes I've ever seen.
Does the intensity of the first episode continue as Season 5 goes on?
Yes, in different ways. Every set-up has a huge payoff. I think it's the most intense season we've done so far.
You don't sit around at Terminus forever, either. That was a nice surprise.
I think it's fantastic. I think the audience is expecting us to be there for a while, to negotiate, and for some of us to be lost. We're not just stuck at Terminus. There's an immense satisfaction to the characters that come together -- Judith is there, the Daryl/Carol. When Carol says, "I'm going to kill people," you have no doubt in your f**king mind that that is exactly what she's going to do.
So you said you were a fan of the show before you auditioned. You must've freaked out when you actually got the role!
Not really. And I don't say that because I'm like, "I'm so cool. I'm not freaking out." But if I knew what I was actually auditioning for at the time, I probably would have been freaking out. But what they do, because everything is so secretive and they don't want to spoil anything for the fans, is they don't let anyone know what they're auditioning for specifically. If you're a crazily intense comics fan and you follow what's going on in the press, you can kind of put two and two together and figure out what roles are being filled.
Playing Abraham, this badass guy, has to be awesome.
Absolutely. It's been a blast. It's so much fun to do this from an actor's standpoint.
Do we learn more about Abraham in Season 5?
That's one of the cool things about the way we tell these stories. We learn about everyone over time. This season, we learn about Abraham and what makes him tick -- along with just about everybody else. We learn it slowly through major, intense conflict and the situations that arise. Specifically with Abraham, we go back and see what drives him, what he's lost in the apocalypse so far, and what he's willing to lose to move forward.
Of course there are going to be deaths this season...
There are always deaths! [Laughs] That's what's going to happen! People are gonna die! That's a fact.
... so should we brace ourselves?
Absolutely. Always. Brace yourselves.
Last season the characters all branched off into their own separate storylines. Is that going to happen again?
I'll say that different situations arise that allow for the isolation of certain characters and for certain stories to be told. It worked effectively to do all that separation last season. In Season 5, you're going to get similar storytelling, but in a different way, in terms of how we get to those places. It'll be different. It'll feel familiar enough, though, to be satisfying, but it's not like watching last year again.
Have you had a favourite kill so far?
Yes, and I can't talk about it! [Laughs] My favourite kill from last season was the rifle butt against the truck. That was my introduction to the exploding head bag. [Laughs] You will not be disappointed this year [with the special effects], I'll tell you that.
How do you maintain such amazing facial hair, post-apocalypse?
[In gruff voice] Because I'm Sergeant Abraham Ford! [Laughs] That actually touches on something important -- it can't be said enough: there are markers in our show that remind us of the source material. These are comic book characters. These are superheroes without any superpowers. These iconic images that [Robert] Kirkman has created ... I love that they carry into the TV show. I love that they hold onto those images so that, at any point when you're looking at these characters, you know who they really are. Otherwise we'd all look like a bunch of cavemen and cavewomen, with enormous amounts of hair everywhere.
Does Abraham have any ulterior motive to keep gingers alive and well on Earth?
[Laughs] He's trying to prove they do have a soul!
I guess you'd need a ginger woman, though. There isn't one.
"The Walking Dead" Season 5 premieres on Sunday, October 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.