Companion series 'Fear the Walking Dead' takes audiences on a different journey

Jesus Figueroa
Written by Jesus Figueroa

The new "Walking Dead" companion series "Fear the Walking Dead" doesn't try to copy the original series, but rather it starts a new story in a new location more than 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles, California.

"Fear the Walking Dead" premieres on AMC on Aug. 23.

From the trailer it can be seen that this isn't the gritty Georgia setting filled with walkers, or the infected as "Fear of Walking Dead" refers to them.

Executive Producer Dave Alpert.
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
"I think there is alot of big differences," producer Dave Alpert said. "Obviously we are underneath the same universe, the same world, the same rules, but everything from our location to our point of entry are (different)."

The show looks at the situation from a more scientific point of view which is why the walkers are referred to as the infected.

The look of the show is different although it keeps the essence of the universe it is set in.
Creator and Executive Producer
Dave Erickson. Photo by Mike Yarish.
 Courtesy of AMC Global.

"We definitely wanted an urban environment as opposed to rural Georgia," producer Dave Erickson said. "The idea of being able to see a city begin to disintegrate, to see things evolve into chaos and panic and everyone regressing into their own neighborhood, their own class, their own family that was something that was interesting as well."

As creator of "The Walking Dead" comic and TV show Robert Kirkman wrote in the beginning of the comic how the comic was about the people who are dealing with the extreme situations and it includes the infected.

"Fear the Walking Dead" continues with that notion and uses relatable characters — a guidance counselor, an English teacher, a troubled addict, a smart student wanting more out of life and other characters — to attract the audience.

"I wish to reach a wider audience. That would be fantastic," Alpert said. "We just don't want to repeat the same beats and we want to come at it from a totally unique angle."

The characters are not meant to be seen as authority figures or people who will become heroes.

The characters are meant to progress as regular people would progress throughout impending doom.

"Part of what we want to explore with this show is really seeing that spread happening because we miss that in 'The Walking Dead,'" Alpert said. "We didn't get to see what happened. We see the real world, Rick gets shot, he wakes up and everything has gone to hell. So we really want to see society fall, see society crumble, see what happens when you have your cell phone working, you are able to get your loved one on the phone and all of a sudden it stops."

"Much like the original show, it's never going to be from the perspective of the CDC, the politicians or the generals. It doesn't have a 'World War Z' vibe," Erickson said. "It's always through the family and their neighborhood sort of looking out. They will encounter national guardsmen and women."

Frank Dillane (Nick).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
Nick, played by Frank Dillane, is an addict and is forced to deal with addiction, family issues and the infected, which Nick is unsure of what they are.

"My first experience with a walker was, funny enough, quite harrowing," Dillane said. "In order to hit the marks that were required, for me to hit in the first episode, I had to set the bar of how the fear of the walking dead was. So I had to do alot of back story stuff. All of the big things that I think informs Nick's journey happens in that first scene."

Dillane felt the feeling of being faced with the undead as alien. He was unsure how to deal with it or what amount of emotions would be justifiable.

It is through Nick that the audience gets to experience what is suppose to be the first infected in the entire universe of "The Walking Dead."

Alycia Debnam-Carey (Alicia).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
Alicia, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey, is Nick's younger sister, who compared to Nick is perfect — brilliant student with sights sent on graduating to be able to get out of LA. The strained relationship with Nick adds family drama to the impending troubles with the infected.

"You have time to develop these dynamics between characters, so you actually so you care about them alot before you get to a place where their lives are actually in danger," Denam-Carey said. "That was a huge thing for me. I loved the fact that we got to explore a family dynamic. It is in the end, all of these shows are about relationships."

Alicia isn't only troubled with her family life, she has goals which she is determined to reach. Her character is more independent and head strong.

"The hard thing with her is that she comes from a very fractured family. She has a plan. She is going to get herself out of the situation and she's ambitious, she's smart, she's got alot of hope and she is ready to start her life, but of course when this happens she is left with nothing and she falls very quickly and very hard," Denam-Carey said.

Kim Dickens (Madison).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
Their mother Madison, played by Kim Dickens, who is a guidance counselor worries for her children, like a mother would, more so about Nick because of his struggle with addiction.

"I was blown away by the story and the characters," Dickens said.

Dickens said that for her it was so much fun to go to work every day and so exhilarating that she didn't even notice how tiring it was to be a part of the show.

Cliff Curtis (Travis).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
English teacher Travis, played by Cliff Curtis, is Madison's romantic interest, even as though they each have a past family, and all-around nice guy who tries to look at the positive side of life.

"What a relief that we don't know that this apocalypse is coming, for the
first few episodes. For my character, for as long as possible he doesn't want to believe there's an apocalypse at all," Curtis said.

Curtis said it's hard to know what they know about zombies as its all really confusing. He thought that filming and getting into character was a really enjoyable process. He was happy to become a part of this "Fear the Walking Dead" family.

Nursing student Liza, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, bring more family drama as Travis' ex-wife who has issues with Travis and their son Christopher, played by Lorenzo James Henrie, not getting along.

"She (Liza) wanted to be a doctor, but then she had this beautiful kid (Christopher), so she put her dreams on the back burner," Rodriguez said. "Sixteen years later she's in nursing school for awhile. Ultimately it ends up playing a really important roles."

Rodriguez said that her character gets thrown into situations that her character doesn't feel prepared for, but out of her need to help she has to learn quickly.

Lorenzo James Henrie (Chris).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.
Henrie said he wasn't expecting to get the part. He's been in the entertainment business his whole life and has been passed up on many roles.

"I'm just extremely fortunate and blessed to be a part of this AMC family, all these amazing cast members," Henrie said.

Henrie said he is thrilled to be a part of a show with such a huge following, but what was more important to him was to be a part of a show with a great story.
Mercedes Mason (Ofelia).
Photo by Mike Yarish.
Courtesy of AMC Global.

The Salazar family, played by Ruben Blades, Patricia Reyes Spinola and Mercedes Mason, are introduced episode two and Mason said that through the need to help each other out, the families become one big makeshift family.

"I was a huge 'The Walking Dead' fan to begin with. When I found out (about this), I was over the moon, Mason said. "It's amazing to walk into a show that has such an amazing fan base."

Mason said that the fans at the San Diego comic-con were so supportive and excited even though they had not seen anything.

"Fear the Walking Dead" premieres Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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