The first season of AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. To celebrate the release, ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with star Alexa Mansour about the newest spinoff of The Walking Dead. Mansour discussed her thoughts on the first season, what it meant to join such a huge franchise, and even teased the upcoming Season 2.
Check out our full Alexa Mansour interview below.
Tyler Treese: I really liked the first season of the show. What really impressed me was just your chemistry with Aliyah Royale. Hope and Iris, they really feel like real sisters on screen. How did you kind of bond and how did it feel so naturally onscreen?
Alexa Mansour: It was really nice. Aliyah is really easy to get along with, so it wasn’t too hard to bring that sister vibes to life. We just hung out a lot outside of work and I think got to know each other really well. The first director of the pilot of the first version of the pilot Jordan Vogt-Roberts, he had us do improv classes once we got to Richmond. So Aliyah and I got to get familiar with each other in the beginning before the whole thing started.
One thing that really stands out about the show is the small moments where the cast is able to feel like teens. There’s a scene where you play Monopoly. There are these moments of normalcy during the apocalypse, which is so wonderful and different to see from the series. Do you feel like that really helped give the show its own identity?
Oh, a hundred percent. It gave the show this innocence that I think a lot of the other two, not necessarily lacked, but it’s a different perspective of what’s going on in the world and just like a fresh, naive little view on the apocalypse.
Hope has such an interesting relationship with Huck and they really bond throughout that first season, but eventually Hope figures out that she’s been used. From your perspective, do you feel like there still is a real connection there, or is it tainted with doubt? I would love to get your read on that.
I think it’s a little tainted just because Hope idolized Huck, and she was someone that she really looked up to and then she finds out that this whole time Huck has just been using her. So there’s definitely that bit of kind of like the, yeah, you’re right. The relationship is tainted, but as time goes on, I think Hope realizes that there’s more at stake than just her friendship with Huck and that she has to look at the bigger picture.
The theme of family in the show is so great. There’s an interesting development with Felix throughout that first season, where initially he’s unable to really feel like her brother and you have some really nice heart to hearts during the season. Eventually, we do see that that bond grow over the season. Can you just talk about their relationship?
I think Hope is really hardheaded in the beginning of the season and as the time goes by and she spends more time with all these characters and especially Felix, she realizes that he really does have her best interests at heart. Hope is just so stuck on her ways that she couldn’t see that in the beginning, but going through things that they all go through, she realizes like, “Oh, maybe he really does want to help me, and he’s just trying to protect me.”
Joe Holt does such a great job playing the adoptive father and we get to see some really great flashbacks because obviously, he’s not there with the journey. How was that connection on set? Because it really comes across as a real family and so lifelike.
Yeah. Well, Joe as well as all the other actors are just amazing. They’re so natural when it comes to everything. So it made it really easy to come off as being an actual family. And Joe is such a nice guy that even outside of set he acts like our dad. So it’s, it’s pretty close to reality.
Being part of The Walking Dead universe, that’s such a huge deal. Were you familiar with the comics or the TV show? How much did you know about the show before you came in?
I was familiar with the show. I had seen a couple of seasons of the original show. I’m not familiar with the comics. I actually did not even know that there were comics until I took the job. But yeah, I had been familiar with the original show. I watched it when it first came out and I really liked it. I was really young when it came out, so it was a little bit scary for me, but I really enjoyed it. I can’t say that I’m a hundred percent familiar with it, but familiar enough to say that it was a huge, huge, huge present for me when I booked the role.
There are so many great action scenes and your characters really seen as a bit of a badass, especially by the end of the season, you really just have some really cool combat skills. How awesome was it to film those action sequences?
Those are great. They are extremely hard to shoot. I think they probably take the most time out of everything just because sometimes the stunt double comes in and she helps a with things that could potentially injure us, but it was pretty cool. I did a bunch of stuff that I never thought that I was physically capable of doing, and it pushed me past my limits. So definitely a great experience.
Early on in the season, Hope’s kind of seen as being reckless, but there’s always a method to what she’s doing and she’s very smart. Her intelligence is really seen at the end of the season. What did it mean both physically and mentally playing such a powerful female character?
It was nice. I think it gave me a lot more confidence in myself than I had before because once when you’re channeling certain energy for so long, I mean, that was like six months straight of shooting that show, shooting that season. And you start to believe that you’re as powerful as the character, which was really nice for me. I think it was a really big blessing.
Nicolas Cantu does such a great job playing Elton and your two characters have quite the up and down relationship throughout that season. It’s very emotional, especially with the trauma of when the whole outbreak began. Can you talk about a little bit about their relationship and what it was like working with Nicolas?
Nicolas is great. He is so funny. He’s always so happy on set even this season. I mean, there are some scenes this season where you’re like, “How the hell are you still smiling and laughing right now?” And he’s just always just a ball of light in the air. It was great last season. He can turn on his emotion so easily and he just made the whole shoot easier. Granted everything that was going on, he really did make everything fly by.
The series does show that whole new side of the apocalypse since it’s taken place a little bit further on. From your perspective, was there anything that surprised you about the script that you didn’t really expect to see the show addressed but it did?
I definitely didn’t expect the show to be so diverse. Once again, I’m not super familiar with the original shows, so I don’t know the stories of the characters in those shows, but I didn’t expect the show to be so inclusive. Just in the sense that Aliyah and I were adopted, we come from an African-American family and I’m Hispanic, mixed Hispanic Hal [Cumpston]’s Australian, and we have members of the LGBTQ+ community, which I thought was really great. I just felt like it was a really fresh look at everything and something that people would watch and relate to on a much higher level.
I think that speaks to one of the themes of the show, which is people coming together during these terrible circumstances. When you’re fighting for life and death, you’re not going to let small things divide you, you’re gonna come together, and we see that really great sense of community early on. What was it like shooting those early scenes within the town there?
That was a lot of fun. It was kind of cool. It was almost like in college and I never went to college. There was a cute little experience of like, oh, I’m on the campus. We’re going to the dorms or going to this or go to that. It was really nice, like when I got to live out my little fantasy of being in school.
The scene with your mother is such an emotional scene and so many, the flashbacks are so emotional with Kari Bennett. Can you just speak to that trauma and what your character has been holding in? Because it really kind of serves as the basis for a lot of issues throughout the season and we see her kind of come to terms with it throughout the first season.
Yeah. She’s holding it, and she thinks that this is all her fault when in reality, she was a victim of her circumstances. So to go through normal life after seeing what she saw and doing what she did and not realizing that it’s not her fault. That in itself is extremely traumatizing. I think that as the show goes on, it resolves it really, really well and all that. No one’s ever going to get over something like that, but it helps Hope realize that she’s the victim here. She’s not the one that’s responsible for everybody else.
The first season ends and it’s all kind of a buildup to the second season, which is so exciting. We’re finally getting to the destination. We kind of saw a lot of the journey in the first season. What can we really expect from Season 2?
I think a lot of you’re going to see Iris and Hope kind of switched places. You’re just going to see her and be like, “Wait, shouldn’t Hope doing that, and shouldn’t Iris be doing that?” And there’s going to be a lot of questions that a lot of the fans have been asking that are going to be answered in this season. I can’t give away too much, but I can say that it’s going to tie up a bunch of loose ends.
There’s such a passionate fan base for The Walking Dead. Has it been great to see their support and to have such passionate fans?
Oh yeah. It’s been amazing. I mean, the messages that I get, like people relating to Hope and just saying, “Oh, I get how she feels, and “I don’t feel like I’m alone in this anymore.” And just with all the other characters, it’s been really nice. It makes me feel like we’re a part of a bigger something bigger than just yourself.
There’s a real inspirational aspect to Hope’s arc of how she comes to grips with her past. She’s able to use that as motivation. Can you talk a bit about just how you connect to the character personally?
Everyone has gone through their own struggles and some are bigger than others, but that doesn’t diminish your feelings or anything. I think that playing Hope and seeing how kind of disturbed she was inside, I got to let out a lot of things that I was feeling through her character. So playing Hope was in a way, a little bit of a therapy session for me.