Exclusive Interview with Lorenzo James Henrie for ‘FEAR THE WALKING DEAD’

– by Gig Patta

It all started here.

AMC’s FEAR THE WALLKING DEAD first season is now available as a special edition on Blu-ray, DVD and digital HD.

The television series is based in the same universe with THE WALKING DEAD as it explores the beginning of the undead apocalypse through the perspective of a torn family in Los Angeles. As they’re trying to cope with civilization breaking apart around them—the family tries to forcibly evolve to survive, to reinvent themselves and to even embrace the darkness as the story unfolds.

The cast includes Frank Dillane (HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE), Mercedes Mason (QUARANTINE 2), Ruben Blades (SAFE HOUSE), Alycia Debnam-Carey (THE DEVIL’S HAND), Elizabeth Rodrigues (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK) and Lorenzo James Henrie (STAR TREK).

Latino-Review had the opportunity to discuss FEAR THE WALKING DEAD with Lorenzo James Henrie. Henrie plays Chris, a rebellious teenager, who is trying to adjust with his divorced parents, other family and the tragedies with the zombie apocalypse.

FEAR OF THE WALKING DEAD complete first season special addition is available on Blu-ray, digital HD and DVD today. The second season of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD will premiere on AMC starting April 10 with 15 new episodes.

Read the full interview below.

Latino-Review: I like the WALKING DEAD, so I wanted to know on how you felt when you first heard you got cast on FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.

Lorenzo James Henrie: Awww, man. When I first got the role, it was so secretive. I had no idea on what I got myself into. I love genre movies, but zombies movies….I loved WORLD WAR Z, and absolutely THE WALKING DEAD. It was something in my acting career that I’ve never thought to be a part of.

When I read the script for the first time after I got the role, in the backdrop with zombies, it was such a beautiful story. To be a part of this is so interesting and I’m so grateful. And I’m very happy with THE WALKING DEAD with that opportunity to be the mothership of this show’s launching by building an established audience.

Latino-Review: Talk more about your character, Chris Manawa, who was a rebellious teenager at the beginning and transformed a lot through the six episodes.

Lorenzo James Henrie: From the beginning in episode to the end of episode six, you do really see the transformation of this kid who was a rebellious teenager. He’s very wounded, because his father and his mother got a divorce. Just like every child, he really looks up to his parents. It’s kind of funny on how Chris feels about his father throughout the first season. His father tries to fix [things] with him, but he is really like his father. He’s hopeful. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel. So he has this huge transformation throughout the first season.

He is trying to become his own man. He is defending his new-blooded family. At the end of season one, it all turned itself on its head with Travis killing Liza in the end.

Latino-Review: Talk about your character having such a close relationship with his mother, Liza.

Lorenze James Henrie: If you want to know something about any child, the person who knows them the best is their mother. Liza knows everything about Chris. First of all, off-screen, Elizabeth Rodriguez really did treat me like I was her own son. She was very loving and nurturing by paying attention to me in real life. We got to play pretend. The chemistry on screen really did click for us in our characters. The back story is really beautiful. They did a great job showing the loving family system and treating their mom as their queen. I really think that Chris and Liza really had that good mother-son relationship.

Latino-Review: I’ve watched the entire season and I’ve noticed there is some kind of special synergy or comradery with each other. Could you talk about working with the rest of the cast and on how you got along with each other for this?

Lorenzo James Henrie: We’re very fortunate and very blessed to have that synergy you’re talking about. We’re all actors. We all take our crafts very seriously. We know on where it is to come along with an opportunity like this.

So if you look at Cliff [Curtis] and Kim [Dickens], they’re both veteran actors. When you’re on set with them, they work like there’s no tomorrow. They really are the captains of our cast. I really admire Cliff, because he can take a crumble and make a cookie for every scene in every movie. You look at all the classics like BLOW and you’ll remember Cliff. He really brings that energy to the rest of the cast.

It just humbles us. All of us, Mercedes [Mason], Colman [Domingo], Frank [Dillane], Alycia [Debnam-Carey] and Ruben [Blades], we’re all just fortunate to be working. It’s all hard for anyone of us to get a job, especially on how long we’ve been in this business. We really, really understand that. It keeps us on our toes. It keeps us wanting to make the best art. It keeps us wanting to make the best story.

And plus, it’s also the freedom from the showrunners and the writers had given us. You can write so much on paper, but if it’s written for that specific person—that person will bring their own take on it. They know that character inside and out. That has become their craft. This is something they’ve given us to play with.

So when you just really dive into those logistics and rationale of each character, we want to bring our best foot forward. We want to give the best play out there in a sports sense. We want to become that best team. We want to help each other. There’s really no better person—we help each other out.

In between takes, I’m always asking Cliff. I’m always asking Kim. How did I do? Was that okay? You just to have the trust and faith in the director and the other cast members to make sure they’re really helping you.

Latino-Review: You mentioned before on the secrecy of being cast into this TV project—were the stories themselves also very, very secret? Did they only hand you parts of the scripts at the time so you don’t know on what happens for the rest of the season?

Lorenzo James Henrie: Well, when I auditioned for this….[pauses and laughs] It’s funny. The audition they gave me for this was fake mock up scenes. When they offered me the role and I said, “I really need to read the script before I do this.” It’s like going into something blindfolded. My future career path is something very important to me. So I would never take a job blindfolded.

It was crazy on how I got the role before I was ever sent the script. It spoke for itself. The promise was delivered when I was given the script. I spoke with the showrunners and they gave me a good outline of the series from episodes one through six of the first season. They’re very good talking to us about our character arc and with us having input on the story. They know on what’s best for us.

Latino-Review: Aren’t you afraid that they’ll one day and surprise you to kill off your character? It seems to be the norm these days with these TV shows.

Lorenzo James Henrie: [Laughter] No, no. It’s really not that scary. Well, I’ll speak for myself. It doesn’t really scare me, because we have a really good system with our showrunner. If something did happen and it serves the character the best for the story—I’m all for that. It may the end for this, but it’ll be an upward platform towards something else in a career path. I’m not going to let a closing chapter to be the definitive to stop my career.

Latino-Review: Talk about being on location on the set. You have the post-apocalyptic types of sets. It seems lonely and quiet, but you know there will be some kind of action on every corner.

Lorenzo James Henrie: Yeah, it’s fun. I don’t really focus on these things, because I know it’s fake. It’s kind of hard going into it. That’s why it’s fun acting [in these things] and making them come to life. It’s tough to take it serious when you know the cameras are rolling. People are going in and out. There are makeups being applied to the infected. It’s all part of the job and the duty. You just become so used to it. It’ll be different if you’re there for the first day of work. Some people can be, “Oh, what is this? This is creepy.” After a few seconds, then it’s normal.

Latino-Review: Can you give us a preview on what’s going to happen in Season Two for us?

Lorenzo James Henrie: Yeah, of course. So obviously you see that Travis had taken Liza’s life. That really opens up Season Two for Travis and Chris as a journey. They’ll have to reconcile. For Chris, it’s going to be a tough one since he lost everything he loved and deal with his father. No he’ll have to resign himself at the dinner table with this apocalypse. Everyone is going through this tough journey with the new laws of the universe and on whether there is hope. There are so many things coming into this second season like blood versus bond. Do you trust your family or do you trust those who aren’t your family?

There are going to be so much symbolism like with the water as rebirth and a new life. Again—is there hope out there? Season two will have many story arcs that will unfold greatly.

Latino-Review: Have you guys completed the production for Season Two?

Lorenzo James Henrie: We haven’t. We’re midway through. The first episode airs on April 10. We’ll back [on set] after first episode of Season Two premieres.

Latino-Review: Terrific. Are there any other projects out there for you besides FEAR OF THE WALKING DEAD?

Lorenzo James Henrie: My brother, David Henrie who starred in WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE, and I have a production company. We do TV and film development with our father, Jim Henrie, who is our producer. We’re doing a project, which is an independent film, to be produced this year. My brother is currently writing it right now with his writing partner Bill Call who is in the new Discovery Channel’s HARLEY & THE DAVIDSONS. I’ll be starring it and my brother will be directing it. It’ll be a good independent coming of age story.

Latino-Review: I have one last question for you. Hopefully, it’s a fun question. So if you were caught up in a zombie apocalypse like in FEAR OF THE WALKING DEAD, what would you be doing?

Lorenzo James Henrie: Aw, man. I would try to get a cell phone and find out on where my family is. So find my love ones, shelter and gather as much ammunition as possible. And lots of food! [Laughter]

Actually, I take that all back! I would just find the nearest Costco.

Latino-Review: And just hole up in there? [Laughter]

Lorenzo James Henrie: Yeah, just go to Costco and survive.

Latino-Review: Awesome. It’s been a great pleasure in speaking with you. Good luck with the new season.

Lorenzo James Henrie: Thank you brother. I really appreciate that.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD complete first season special addition is available on Blu-ray, digital HD and DVD today. The second season of FEAR OF THE WALKING DEAD will premiere on AMC starting April 10 with 15 new episodes.

Source: Latino-Review.com

Interviews, TV, LRM Exclusives Lorenzo James Henrie, Fear of the Walking Dead