Originally published in VultureHound Issue 20, March 2018

Jadis and Simon have become solid fan-favourites in The Walking Dead over the last few seasons as characters we have truly come to love to hate. We caught up with the actors behind the dastardly villains, Pollyanna McIntosh and Steven Ogg, as they geared up for the Walker Stalker festivities to talk about vengeance, mass murder, and Scott Gimple’s Blue Period…

I’ve got to start by saying what an amazing episode ‘The Lost and the Plunderers’ was…

Pollyanna: Thank you!

It was so nice to have these two characters that we’ve been loving in the side-lines finally having a spotlight episode. How was it for you guys?

Pollyanna: We hate each other, so it was awful! We don’t get on at all. You’re not taking this down, are you? No, no, we’re old friends, so it was really fun to go at it together.

Steven: Yeah, I think any time with this show, these events are generally our opportunity to be together on the show. We don’t always get to work together, so any time you get to work with someone else it’s like “Oh my God, finally! I get to fucking work with someone!” ‘Cause you know each other personally so long…

Pollyanna: You got a break from Austin (Amelio), which must have been great!

Steven: He’s m’ girl… It was wonderful! It was fun! It’s interesting ‘cause you don’t really know what’s gonna happen. I was just excited to be in that environment. You do it some different ways, and you never know what they’re gonna choose.

Pollyanna: It’s great. Having that opportunity to have that big speech, really being eye to eye. We were joking before about who was gonna break first. It worked out really well. I was really mad at you!

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Steven: When I was on the ground after she clocked me, I wanted to have my nose broken or a cut on my face, just for the sense that this woman clocked me, and fucking clocked me good! We really wanted it, but then of course there’s this thing of when you go back to The Sanctuary, if you have a cut face it’s harder to play it up that nothing went wrong. But I have a bright blue fucking boot! So you can see it for miles! We can’t do a split lip, but the blue boot is fine? ‘Cause he doesn’t even ask about it! I literally step out of the truck and it’s a beacon!

Is that gonna lead to anything do we think…?

Pollyanna: I was just about to not say that…

Okay, good…

Pollyanna: Surely that’ll come up!

Surely that’ll come up!

Pollyanna: But I didn’t say that, you did!

Steven: Well, Rick has the blue boot…

Pollyanna: So maybe it’s just a call-back to that. But the handprints were blue! Carl and Judith’s handprints were blue. Scott’s got a thing for blue. He’s having a Blue Period…

Steven: Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff we can’t say. But there’s a lot of stuff we seriously don’t fucking know…

I guess for you guys especially, since you’re both original characters for the show. Well… Or are you…?

Pollyanna: (laughs) Yeah… I dunno…

Is that more frustrating for you guys, or is it more interesting not knowing?

Pollyanna: I think things are as they should be. The show is wonderful, and as an audience member I love it. So, it clearly works. As an actor, coming in this way was scary and confusing because I’ve always known what the ending was for me. Whether it’s a series or a film, I’ve always known what her end game is, so then I work back from that. Of course, I know stuff…

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(Pollyanna raises an eyebrow)

Steven: There’s a good and a bad to it. The good is that if you wanna really talk about working in the moment, you have no fucking choice, because you honestly do not know! There’s no blueprint you have to stick to because they’re not in the comic book. You literally have what’s in front of you because you don’t know the next script. So you are just dealing with this moment and there’s something exciting about that. With Simon though, people are like “Oh, we love to hate him!”, but a lot of that is not necessarily about me being a great actor, it’s me being “Okay, I’ve got this to do. I don’t know what came here or what came after, but let’s keep the playing field open.” So you make choices that hopefully work. If you end up being this in the future, that worked, or if you have to be something else, that worked, so you kind of keep it open. Maybe he has a sense of humour, maybe he’s dangerous… You don’t know! I didn’t know which direction was gonna happen when I went to see Jadis, so the character evolves through having to make a choice as an actor without knowing, which is weird!

Pollyanna: Well if he has a sense of humour, he can get away with anything because maybe he was just fucking with people!

Where do you see Jadis going forward?

Pollyanna: Well, it’s kinda fun to go for a bit of revenge, isn’t it? I think eventually I’d like her to find a bit of peace. I’d like her to be peaceful with what’s happened, but I think she’s feeling a want for revenge right now.

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Steven: I loved that whole transition in that scene with you. When you turn into a real person, that was wonderful.

Pollyanna: Thanks, babe.

We all assume that Rick’s team will win, but where do you see your characters in a world where Negan comes up top?

Steven: Simon’s gonna play along, right? He’s gonna survive. Maybe making some choices that aren’t the best at times, but he’s also trying to be proactive in the world. What we’ve seen so far from Negan hasn’t really produced results, so I dunno if Simon is really that psychotic mass-murderer guy, or if he’s really just “okay, that didn’t work, so let’s try this…”

Pollyanna: Well he is a mass murderer, whether he thinks he is or not! He killed aaaall m’ people.

Steven: That’s why it’s interesting! Why did he keep you alive? Why did he spare you? What’s your answer?

Pollyanna: I don’t have one! I don’t need to tell you anything.

Steven: Why do you think Simon kept you alive?

Pollyanna: Well, I know! So, I’m not gonna speak about it!

Steven: Oh…

Pollyanna: (whispers) I’ll tell you later.

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