Jayne Atkinson Describes Joining 'The Walking Dead'

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(Photo: Gene Page/AMC)

The Walking Dead welcomed a new cast member to the family on Sunday night as Jayne Atkinson debuted as Georgie.

Episode 8x12 set the stage for the character to be pivotal in the future, but left much of the character's real story a mystery for the time being. As much was also the case for Atkinson, who was given very little information regarding the role. As it turns out, the information is given out on a need-to-know basis.

Shortly after Atkinson was offered the part, a move influenced by her political role background on House of Cards and Madam Secretary, she spoke with The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple to learn more. "They keep everything very close to the chest," Atkinson tells ComicBook.com. "Scott keeps everything close to the chest. And so basically when I spoke with him, he gave me a quiet overview of the kind of person she was, but no back story, no front story. But he gave me enough to create, I think, a very dynamic and interesting person. And of course the way it was written."

Atkinson typically doesn't participate in titles like The Walking Dead which are heavily associated with violence. "I didn't have a choice," Atkinson said. "Our son Jeremy just loves it, loves it. And so I had to see some of it. I have to admit that it's very hard for me to watch knowing that someone's going to get their head, you know, clubbed off or shot off or axed off or whatever. I'm a girl. I don't like that sort of thing."

Such a preference in films might actually help Atkinson in performing the part of Georgie. The actress and the character might have the avoidance of such scenes in common. "Wherever she's from and however things happened, she has not been touched physically in the way that everyone else has," Atkinson said. "So I wouldn't say psychologically she hasn't, but, however, she has come out of this more than just surviving."

Initially, Atkinson was going to keep the role on The Walking Dead a secret from her son but learned she would have to inform him to ensure he was watching. "I wasn't going to tell him, but he started his freshman year of school," Atkinson said. "I said, 'So are you going to watch Walking Dead?' And he said, 'Mom, I don't think I have time this year. I'm so busy.' I was devastated because I couldn't believe that I was going to be on a show finally that he would watch. He doesn't watch House of Cards; he says it's too real. That scares him but Walking Dead doesn't. Go figure. And so I had to say, 'Well, wait a minute. You have to. I'm going to be on it, but you can't tell a soul.'"

As it turns out, Atkinson's son Jeremy might actually be the one responsible for revealing Georgie's true role in The Walking Dead to the actress, as she heavily mirrors an important character from Robert Kirkman's comics.

One might imagine joining a family of cast members so tightly knit in the Georgia backwoods for so many years to be a daunting task. Atkinson, however, may have never felt more welcome! In fact, she brought the spark of levity many cast members have been waiting on.

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"As I went in to the table read, I saw Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and he just put his arms around me and said, 'We're so excited to have you. Welcome,'" Atkinson said. "And that was essentially the meet and greet that I got from everybody at the table read. And when we sat down to read, I felt like I had been there for eight years. And when we went to work, I felt like the same way. And I think it's because of my reputation in the industry, but I also think they really are so... Lauren [Cohan] said, 'It's just so wonderful to have a moment of hope. It gets very dark in here.'"

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.