Interview on Garret Dillahunt about the tv series fear the walking dead by Hype in 2018
Now in its fourth season, Fear The Walking Dead is both a companion series and a prequel to the AMC hit The Walking Dead. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard, the first episode of Fear The Walking Dead attracted 10.1 million total viewers in the United States alone. Garret Dillahunt has joined the cast of the show, following roles on plenty of shows, including Burn Notice, Raising Hope, ER, and The Mindy Project. Dillahunt portrays John on Fear The Walking Dead, whose last name I will not reveal for spoiler purposes. Dillahunt has also been filming with Viola Davis, Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell on an upcoming film project.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dillahunt — whose wife, actress Michelle Hurd, you may recognize from Gossip Girl, The Glades, Hawaii Five-0 and/or Daredevil — by phone in advance of the April 15th return of Fear The Walking Dead. The actor can be followed on Twitter via @GarretDillahunt, while more on the acclaimed series itself can be found on the AMC website.
How long did you have to keep being in Fear The Walking Dead a secret?
Garret Dillahunt: Maybe a month or two and then they just let us make the announcement, and then it comes out in Deadline or whatever.
You’ve been involved in so many different projects, but have you ever been involved in anything where the fanbase has been as fanatical as Fear The Walking Dead?
Garret Dillahunt: I doubt it, you know? Deadwood sort of accumulated one over time, and it’s not the size of this, so I’ve never experienced anything like it… I’m still sort of peripheral, so it will be exciting to see if they let me in.
Have you worked with anyone from here Fear The Walking Dead before being cast on the show?
Garret Dillahunt: Yes, Kim Dickens was also on Deadwood with me. I spoke with her a lot before taking this job. Dayton Callie who was in season three, she also was on Deadwood. Ray McKinnon was also on Deadwood. In effect, it’s like Fear The Walking Deadwood. (laughs)
I think one of the most exciting things about you and your career is how many different kinds of programs and films you’ve done. Soap operas, comedy, all sorts of things… I would say it’s tough to typecast you. Is that something you have heard before?
Garret Dillahunt: I have and now that I’ve been around now long enough to see like it used to be a disadvantage and now it’s an advantage, you know? I remember people before; they would say, “we don’t know what to do with him.” But now it’s like, “oh he can do anything.” Whether true or not, I’ll accept it, so I’m glad it’s panned out that way.
When you came out of Tisch, what sort of actor did you want to be?
Garret Dillahunt: I’ve always enjoyed disappearing into other people, which I guess plays right into the previous question for whatever reason. Just my taste… I remember as a young, young guy in Seattle, I had Gary Oldman up on my wall and Daniel Day-Lewis. I love Sean Penn‘s ability to transform and take on different things, you know? Montgomery Clift, I really dug his presence. Alec Guinness… I just really was interested in those people that just can do so many different things, so I guess I have tried to emulate that as best I can.
It just met my criteria, just try to do something different than the last thing I did. Sometimes you have more choices than others. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but if you do, you know you like the writing, you like the cast, you like who is involved in it. Is it challenging? Something different than you’ve done before?
Speaking of writing, I read that you did your undergraduate studies in journalism. Was that a serious path that you were going to take? Was acting a backup plan?
Garret Dillahunt: I was kind of a big shot on my local high school newspaper, and I worked for the local town newspaper where you are your photographer. You learn how to lay out the sheets of the paper; you know what I mean? It was still printed that way, and I loved it, and that is what I went in thinking I was going to do.
There was a tragedy in my family right about that time. I was transitioning from high school to college, and it really threw me for a loop and left me pretty dazed for a few years. In college, I sort of stumbled into acting class as an elective and I found it very therapeutic to just hide in other people’s skins for a while. I got real hooked on that. I did that a lot, and I did for five plays at once or did scenes for the directing class and scenes for the acting class. I barely slept. I remember just running from one rehearsal to another, but I loved it…
Getting back to Fear The Walking Dead, do you ever worry about getting confused with your character John?
Garret Dillahunt: I don’t worry about it. That’s out of my hands… There are too many people in the world to worry about something like that. I don’t know what else they have to go on… I’m not John, although I think we share a lot of qualities.
I’m also curious about your old project A Minute With Stan Hooper. Was that your first long-term television project?
Garret Dillahunt: It was one of them, yeah. I’d come to I come to L.A. only recently. I was doing theater nonstop and starving to death; then I got to change this up, so I came to L.A. I booked a bunch of pilots… Then I got Stan Hooper right about the same time that I got Deadwood. The first season of Deadwood I just was a recurring character, Jack McCall so that I could do both…
Stan Hooper ran, I guess, only about 13 episodes, so it didn’t conflict them with the second season of Deadwood. But yes, Stan Hooper was fun for me. I’ve gotta say it was great to hang with Norm MacDonald and great to sort of get my feet wet in series television… That was me fairly green, you know?
Aside from Fear The Walking Dead, do you have any other upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Garret Dillahunt: Well, I’m honored to be part of Steve McQueen’s little stable. He’s got a new movie coming out called Widows that has a lot of people, and Viola Davis is the leader of that one. I have a fun part in that… I guess I’m working on Fear and have a couple of movies in the can.
When you’re not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your time? Do you have any surprising hobbies?
Garret Dillahunt: I don’t think so. I’ve got to get one. Nick Offerman told me, “you’ve got a get a hobby.” I wish I were a good woodworker like he is, but I’m such a workaholic I have a hard time taking breaks. I have a hard time taking vacations to my wife’s chagrin; I need to get better at it. So you know when I’m not working, I’m either looking for work, or watching movies, or hanging with my wife, or I do like to road trip, I love looking around the desert and stuff, going to the mountains… But I need to start building furniture or something. (laughs)
It sounds like it’s all about the craft in one way or another. So in closing, Garret, any last words for the kids?
Garret Dillahunt: Let me know what you think, I can’t wait for you to meet John.