The youngest survivor of Fear The Walking Dead talks fame and fantasy
Few stars as young as Alycia Debnam-Carey can lay claim to being part of two TV phenomena. But at just 23 years of age, she’s enjoyed high-profile roles in both post-apocalyptic young-adult SF thriller The 100 and the first spin-off from horror mega-hit The Walking Dead – Fear The Walking Dead, now entering its third year. Yet the Sydney native sounds as though she’s handling her fame like a veteran pro when she speaks to SFX from her home in LA, assuring us that our timing is perfect since she has an episode off to chill. With her character (conveniently named Alicia) having shed her goody two-shoes image after killing a nasty human, Debnam-Carey tells us what to expect as she returns to the land of the undead… Your character grew tremendously in Fear The Walking Dead’s second season. How do you see this continuing?
I’m so glad you said that. I really do think she had such an extraordinary growth. It’s been quite a slow burn, I think. But what was really exciting was at the end of last season having her kill a human being for the first time to save Travis. That really did accelerate her growth and evolution. That is a great start to go into season three. Because of that we get to see things ramp up for her even further. What appeals to you about Alicia?
She’s such a great character in that she’s smart and she’s willing to adapt and she’s ready to confront this apocalypse quite self-sufficiently. She’s really embraced that. She can speak Spanish and she’s kind of handy with a knife, and she’s willing to save her family. It’s an exciting point to have left her at the end of season two. Madison’s always been very protective of her, which is why there’s been a difficult mother-daughter dynamic. It’s an interesting place to start off. In season three, she really gets to do some great stuff. I’m really excited for this season. It’s our best yet, for sure. Does potentially reuniting with her lost brother Nick change her relationship with her mother?
It does change it in the sense that now she can forgive her mother a little bit for her actions towards Nick and the relationship she had with Nick over Alicia. Now she understands and accepts that she needs family in these circumstances. It gives them a macabre bond in that they share a perspective that her and Nick don’t have. It does bring them closer, where they leave behind that motherdaughter uneasiness. But I’d love to see Alicia and Madison team up and become some sort of apocalyptic duo [laughs]. A zombie-killing Thelma and Louise?
That would be so awesome. A great dynamic. It could be like The Gilmore Girls in the apocalypse… Or the complete opposite – they could just be at odds with each other and fall apart completely. I would love to see either one of those things happen [laughs]. After The 100, this is the second time you’ve faced the apocalypse. Were you previously a sci-fi fan?
I really loved fantasy. I loved reading The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter and a lot of fantasy series. The 100 was much more sci-fi. But the horror-action thing was something I was new to. Horror wasn’t as much my genre. Between The 100 and Fear The Walking Dead, you’ve earned a rather large fan following.
It’s unbelievable, and something that I’m so grateful for. I didn’t realise the strength or the gravity of having support like that and what it means. I struggled to deal with it for a little bit, because it was so new and so foreign. It’s hard to even define. That support is so passionate. The wealth of love and generosity people give, it’s so beautiful. It inspires me to keep giving and keep delivering what people really want, and making sure I’m doing a great job. To get lost in this whole other world, everyone can relate to that… I kind of had to take a little bit of a break and reflect on what it meant. I needed to make sure I was still doing it for all the right reasons. Because you can get caught up in that quite quickly. But having that has been incredible. You’re now a Comic-Con veteran. Are you looking forward to going back in July?
Yeah [laughs]! Comic-Con is one of my favourite events of the year. My most memorable moment was seeing Hall H for the first time, when no one had even seen anything of our show. Our first panel was scheduled between Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead, and I remember just going out on stage and seeing 7000 people, thinking, “Oh my God. What are we doing here?!” It was the most nerve-wracking experience. But then people were so generous and loving, and excited to be there. That’s what makes Comic-Con so special – the people who go there really, really want to be there. So you only ever see this fun, lovely energy.
Fear The Walking Dead airs on AMC, exclusive to BT.