The Walking Dead‘s Lennie James has revealed that he “hated” filming the first half of the show’s controversial seventh season.
James, who plays Morgan, only featured sporadically in the first eight episodes of the zombie show’s latest season, which kicked off in October with the brutal opening episode ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be’. After achieving its second-highest ever viewing figures in the US with that episode (17.03 million viewers), ratings plummeted to 10.4 million viewers by its sixth episode – the lowest since November 2012. Some fans of the show were critical about the slow pacing of the current season, as well as the brutal slaying of main cast members.
Speaking to NME prior to the resumption of The Walking Dead‘s seventh season in the UK on February 13 (it premieres in the US the day before), James revealed that the narrative of the opening block of episodes made for a bad experience in terms of filming.
“[It was] horrible, just horrible – I swear to God, horrible,” he laughed. “But it was the same for everybody. Everyone’s had more time off this season than they’ve ever had, but it’s horrible. I hated it, and I complained about it – and I’m not a complainer – every day, like: ‘How you doing Lennie?’ I hate it! ‘You want tea or coffee?’ I hate it! It was horrible, because you just didn’t see anybody.
“And because we filmed The Kingdom in a completely different area to where they were filming Alexandria, the Hilltop, or the Saviors, it meant that no one was close to each other. When we starting filming the first episode, there was a moment where everybody sort of came together – and then everybody split up. I didn’t see Andy [Lincoln, who plays Rick] for six weeks because we weren’t filming in the same place. We live kind of close to each other [in Atlanta], but we weren’t either filming at the same places or at the same times, and in the end the only time I did see him was when we were both on a plane back to London to see our families. I hated it, it was horrible.”
As well as also revealing that he complained to showrunner Scott M. Gimple about the filming schedule (“I told him: ‘I see what you’re doing, I respect what you’re doing, but don’t ever do this to me again because I hate it.’”), James also said that he would only meet new cast members from the show after filming had finished at the wrap party.
“There’s whole bunches of people that you meet at the wrap party who you’ve never met before! You’re like, ‘Who are you and what are you doing on my show?'” James said. “There were just loads of people going: ‘Hi, I’m such and such and I play…’ I don’t know you, go away! Where’s my mates? It was horrible, I hated it – meeting people at a wrap party and they don’t even look like themselves. It’s just stupid.”
The Walking Dead continues in the UK on Monday February 13 at 9pm on FOX.