Madison Lintz of 'The Walking Dead' Shares How Hard It Was To Keep Quiet About Sophia's Death

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The Walking Dead defies all TV genre expectations and last Sunday’s ‘Triggerfinger’ episode proved just that. It clocked in a whopping 8.5 million viewers and still defies expectations. With ratings like that, and a third season green-lit by AMC, all that’s left is for fans to sit back and see where the rest of the season takes us.

Last weekend’s episode showed the survivors trying to move on post Sophia, and the wreckage of the walker massacre outside the barn. “We bury the ones we love, burn the rest,” summed up the overall theme as the importance of each member becomes more apparent as we learn about their individual motivations. Hershel (Scott Wilson) seems to be finally getting it, and sobered up in record time to back up Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) when things got heated. Glenn discovered he’s still a kid and rocking his love bone for Maggie( Lauren Cohan), while Rick’s moral latitude made a serious jump after shooting the two guys in the bar. Shane (Jon Bernthal) once again saved Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) after her smooth move, dumbass roll-over that had her facing a walker coming through the windshield. That tangent of the story line was probably the only weak part of the episode; But the walker’s face tearing off as he tried to push through the busted glass more than made up for it.

I’m wondering… whose baby is it, and is the chick on the bed infected or just nuts? Daryl’s I-don’t-give-a-shit-anymore attitude is going to wear thin if he keeps insulting people who obviously care about him and the quip about Lori being “Olive Oil” (from the week before) still has me rolling. Finally, when are we going to see some more T-Dog, played by Irone Singleton. The actor hinted to me in an interview a few months back that there was a story of redemption there, and it’s about time we get to see it.

Sophia's short return ends with a bullet to the head.

In another move that rocks the Hollywood tradition of predictable TV, writers went ahead and killed off a key character at the closing of season 2’s mid season break. The opening scenes of the episode had us revisit the tragic and bitter-sweet death of Sophia.

I had a chance to speak with the enthusiastic young actor who played Sophia, Madison Lintz on The Walking Dead.

Allie Hanley: What’s your nickname?

Madison Lintz: People call me Madi!

AH: Ok Madi… tell me about how you got your start in acting.

MD: First of all, my mother has been an actress for a really long time, and one day she had to take me to the set. I was about six, and I got to see how cool it was and I really wanted to do it. So one day I asked her if I could do it, and she said yes.

[Madi’s mother is Kelly Lintz (The Mist, The Hunger Games).

AH: How old are you now?

MD: I’m 12.

AH: So you are almost a teenager! Now Madi, I am going to ask you a little bit harder question… How did you figure out, how you were going to play Sophia?

Madison Lintz as Sophia on The Walking Dead

MD: So when I first got to set I had read part of the first comic – until my Mom said I couldn’t read them anymore because they were a bit intense. So I had read the first comic and knew sort of what was going on, and then I sat down and talked to my Mom. We sat and we figured out what I was going to do and how I was going to play. Then when I got to set, and started shooting it just sort of came naturally.

AH: So tell me more about why you didn’t read the comic?

MD: They are a little bit more intense and bad wordish [giggles].

AH: So your Mom didn’t want you to read the comic not because she didn’t want you to be influenced by the comic version but because it was a little bit grown-up?

MD: It was just a bit too grown up for me!

AH: So think about when you were back on set and tell me what it was like for you.

MD: HOT! And HUMID! But it was fun because we all messed around with each other on the cast, and we all helped each other, and then we drank a lot of water [deep breath] WE HAD TO! ‘Cuz if we got dehydrated then our acting would suck!

Norman Reedus and Madison Lintz at New Orleans Wizard World Convention

AH: Did you make a best friend on the show?

MD: NORMAN REEDUS! He’s my very best friend and I love him with all my heart!

AH: Now this is a little bit harder question. How much time did you have, or advance notice that your character was going to die, you were going to be a Zombie, and that you would be finished with your role on the show?

MD: Probably a couple weeks, maybe a month in advance.

AH: Was it hard to keep quiet about it or did you want to tell people?

MD: OH MY HEAVENS! It was SO, SO HARD. I went to Dragon-Con and it was a couple weeks after I found out, and it was so hard! My Dad said that I couldn’t say A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G  AT ALL! At the panel I was so freaked out that I was going to let something slip out. The next convention I went to was the New Orleans Convention, and I was able to tell everybody everything.

AH: Were you surprised that they decided to kill the character off even though she lives on in the comic?

MD: I was certainly surprised because she was in the comic but I realized that it was going to be good and to be very big for the show. Every good character comes to an end.

AH: How difficult was it for you to go from being the little human girl on the show to being a zombie?

MD: Being a zombie has its ups and downs but it was a really – really – really – good experience.

AH: Why was it a good experience?

MD: At first I didn’t want to be a zombie, but it helped me learn how to be another character.

Madison as "Sophia" comes out of the barn and looks into the camera, and people were shocked.

AH: So this is a personal type of question Madi. What were your feelings on the character being killed off?

MD: It’s all about telling a good story. I guess I was upset though because I wasn’t going to be able to hang out with the cast and I wouldn’t be able to be Sophia. So when I died, I had to commit to being that character.

AH: What will you remember most about playing Sophia?

MD: I will probably remember the cast. Everybody was so – so nice!

AH: What can fans look forward to seeing you in next?

MD: Well in a few months I have a film called After and next November I have a new movie coming out called Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Marisa Tomei.

AH: Now are you getting ready to shoot that or are you finished?

MD: Just finished shooting that and Maresa Tomei was really nice. And my sister is going to the premiere of The Hunger Games in March. She’s really excited and she plays the District 8 Tribute so look out for her in that. [Mackenzie Lintz]

AH: What Comic Cons will you be going to next?

MD: The very next one is Cherry Hill New Jersey… and then Dallas Texas. You can check our website for the exact information.

AH: How do you like participating in a Con where people can come and meet you – what’s that like?

MD: It’s really – really fun. I like it because me and my Dad can do it together. We have our system and it’s very very fun and good experience. I also get to meet up with some of the cast like Chandler, is going to be at some of them, and Norman and I can see all them. So I am excited about that.

Here’s a sneak look at next week’s episode. So what do you think is going to happen?

http://youtu.be/hiDB_itkQy0

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