INTERVIEW: Chandler Riggs

Published on, Oct 2017

Why The Walking Dead’s Success Is Surprising

The Walking Dead has become one of the biggest TV shows of all time, but as Chandler Riggs, aka Carl Grimes, tells Daniel Cribb, he didn’t think the venture was a good idea at first.

“I’m just working on some music,” The Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs begins, revealing an EDM release in the works. “The past year I’ve been producing music with the help of one of my friends and I’m hoping to put out an EP towards the end of the year.”

Scheduled to appear at the world’s largest zombie, horror and sci-fi convention, Walker Stalker, in Sydney and Melbourne early next year, perhaps we’ll see the actor do some gigs, especially considering he turned 18 this year. “I’m trying to focus on getting a big enough following that the shows I play will actually bring out a crowd. You never know, [Australian shows] would be a lot of fun.”

In the US, he can fight zombies, but can’t drink yet. “It’s ridiculous,” he laughs. With The Walking Dead’s eighth season fast approaching, his arrival in Australia alongside other fan favourites Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) and more couldn’t come at a better time. “Season eight is going to be more about the war and actually fighting back against Negan,” Riggs says.

The seventh season sent shockwaves throughout the Walking Dead community after killing off two integral characters in the premiere, and it sounds like, if the showrunners follow the trajectory of the comics, super-villain Negan – portrayed brilliantly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan – won’t be leaving the show anytime soon. “From the comics, there’s a lot of stuff that I’m stoked for. The whole Whisperers story arc I know is going to be a lot of fun and I really love the dynamic between Carl and Negan. In the comics, there’s a time jump of a couple of years and Carl and Negan have this friendship and it’s really, really cool. Hopefully we’ll get there in the show.”

The beginning of that relationship was spawned when Carl decided to sneak over to the Sanctuary and take down Negan himself; one of many bold and arguably idiotic decisions the character has made throughout the show that has earned him polarising fan opinions. “In seasons two and three, [Carl] was definitely not liked much at all,” he laughs. “Especially when he inadvertently got Dale killed, but I think a lot of [fans] have got to sympathise more with him in season seven, sharing the same view as him in wanting to kill Negan.”

Having played Carl for the past eight years, Riggs has grown up on the set of The Walking Dead, but he initially wasn’t expecting such a lengthy stint on the show. “[My family and I] never thought in a million years that I would be super lucky and get on this super successful show and a zombie show would even be successful,” he reveals.

“At the time, in 2010, it was all about werewolves and vampires and no one really liked or cared about zombies, so the thought of a zombie TV show, I didn’t think it was a very good idea in the first place, but I was down to try and I’m very, very glad that I had this opportunity.”