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Published On: Sun, Nov 11th, 2012

Danai Gurira talks Michonne, getting role on ‘Walking Dead’ and using the sword PHOTOS

“The Walking Dead” continues to be a huge hit for AMC in its third season.

Danai Gurira as Michonne Walking Dead season 3

Danai Gurira is a new addition to the cast as the sword wielding Michonne, a fan favorite from the comic book version of the series.

She’s a bit of a loner and Gurira explains her approach to survival in the zombie apocalypse.

“If they don’t sit right with her, she has no time. She’s not a people pleaser. She listens to her instincts. She’s not trying to be your friend. But, once she’s decided on her, like with Andrea, forget about it. That’s really her, in a nutshell, at least initially. I think she has a beautiful becoming. She’s on an arc. There’s a becoming that she goes through this season, that I love.”

Gurira admits that the sword was a bit difficult to get used to.

“…when I first started training with it because it was new. By the time we started to shoot, it had only been about six weeks, but it was very intense. I remember working on that scene with the director. I had my own swords that I’d gotten with my trainer, but then Michonne’s sword was a little bit bigger and heavier.”

The “Treme” actress then elaborated on the sword(s).

“The sharp end of the blade is not razor sharp, but it’s sharp enough. It could hurt somebody. The tip could really do some damage. These swords are worth about $20,000. They’re built from scratch. They’re no joke. But, they don’t make it razor sharp. It would make no sense to put a razor sharp sword in an actor’s hands. They’re sharp enough to do damage, if they’re wielded at full speed at someone’s neck. They would cut. There’s a half-sword I have to use for special effects, so we switch them out. In every scene that we shoot, I’ll use the full mama because she is so gorgeous and you have to get that full thing in there. And then, for another take or two, we’ll use the one that special effects needs because when it actually slices through things, we can’t be using the real thing. It is a negotiation, spatially. Thankfully, I just have an ability to know [how to judge that]. I have to keep it enough away from the body of the person who’s playing the zombie, so that it doesn’t actually do some damage. You have to swing it fully, but you also have to maintain spacial negotiations and spacial relationships. I don’t know if I was quite trained to do that. It’s just something that, when you’re rehearing it and putting it up on its feet, you just figure it out.”

Danai Gurira as Michonne Walking Dead season 3 photo

The casting was not a sudden or impulsive process.

“I know they were considering a lot of people, for a long time. They knew they needed a Michonne for a long time, so there was a long process. I was approached to audition, probably about three weeks to a month before I got the role. I did one round on tape, and then waited for some weeks. And then, I did another round with the producers. And then, I did another round with the producers and the network. And then, I did another round of that. So, it was a process. We didn’t just have a chat, and then they were like, “Oh, the role is yours.” It was a process, and I’m thankful for that. As a performer, this is my interpretation, take it or leave it. I don’t want you to take an idea of me. Take how she sits in me and choose that. I’m glad I had to go through the rounds. At the end of it, there were just a few of us in the test process where they were trying to decide between a certain number of people, but those were the only women I saw.”

Check out the entire interview here

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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