Former Fear The Walking Dead lead Kim Dickens, who played Madison Clark, opened up to Entertainment Weekly about being "shocked and disappointed and heartbroken" to learn she was being killed off the Walking Dead spinoff series after three-and-a-half seasons.
"Well, I went in about a month before we started production on season 4. I went in and talked to the producers and showrunners about how the season was going to work, and they sort of broke it to me that they had their story line, and that vision was for Madison to meet her demise in the midseason finale," Dickens said. "So I knew about a month before going into production."
When she learned the news, Dickens admitted "it was shocking."
"Obviously it was shocking to me and it was disappointing. It was heartbreaking," Dickens added.
"I have loved this character, I've loved playing this character, I've loved this show, and I'm so proud to have been a strong female empowered lead of a genre show. They're usually led by male leads, and it was just such an honor to have this special experience of being that lead female calling the shots. And also, I'm not in my 20s or not in my 30s, mind you. She was a mother too — a mother who was ferocious, and I just thought it was just such an honor to get to play her."
"I also thought there was so many more stories to tell and so many more places to go, so I was initially shocked and disappointed and heartbroken," she explained.
"But you know, it's in the hands of the writers and the producers, and that's the fate that befalls so many of the characters in this genre. Basically, the message is, no one's safe. And these kinds of deaths will ultimately propel the story of the other characters into other places. It's part of the genre, it's part of the storytelling device, and I just have to wrap my head around it and go into production."
Dickens dubbed the shocker "a bold move," saying "they had the courage to do that and the vision to do that, but it certainly sends it into a spin."
The actress said she discussed the exit with newly minted season 4 showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, who she previously revealed had decided to move the show in its Madison-less direction.
When she found out, "I immediately spoke to Andrew and Ian about that, our new showrunners, and we sat down together after that initial meeting, and once we were starting production we sat down and I expressed my concerns and they were very open, and they obviously had the story line already plotted out, pretty much," Dickens said.
"So, we knew basically how it was going to look and they took my concerns to heart, and I feel like they addressed them in the script, and for that I was grateful."
And of her last months on set, Dickens said, "I certainly went down to location with a bit of a broken heart, based on my character as well as Frank Dillane's character, Nick, so we went into it with a little bit of a somber feeling."
"It was different than the other seasons I'd gone to work. That last day, even though my character was succumbing to the fate, I wasn't really ready for that, but of course I just gave it my all, there was no question," she said.
The move also proved a let down for new season 4 cast members Garret Dillahunt (John) and Lennie James (Morgan), who expressed his disappointment in not getting to work with Dickens on Sunday's episode of after show Talking Dead.
"We were all sort of licking our wounds. Lennie James and I were upset to not get to work together, and Garret and I didn't get to work together and he's, of course, my old dancing partner on Deadwood, and we wanted to play again as these main characters," Dickens said.
"So you carry it with you into production, and I was playing some real moments there that had truth between Alycia and Frank and myself. Everybody knew, so it's there in your heart and in your performance."
Asked about what she would say to the viewership who have decided to stop watching as result of Madison's death, Dickens said such heartbreaking losses come with the territory of the franchise.1comments
"I'd say this is part of the journey with this genre. It's part of the storytelling, and it's the risk you take, I guess, investing in it," Dickens said. "Characters will meet their death untimely and it may not feel fair, but it does try to play truthfully, our story. So I understand the heartbreak, trust me, but I just think it's part of it."
Fear The Walking Dead returns with the back half of season 4 Sunday, August 12 on AMC.