Newest The Walking Dead star Paola Lázaro, who first appeared as the purple-haired Princess in Sunday's "Look at the Flowers," fell to her knees and cried when she learned she won the role. The actress, whose past credits include SMILF and Lethal Weapon, made her debut in Season 10 episode 14 when Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) traveled from Hilltop to meet with Stephanie (Margot Bingham), Eugene's so-far unseen radio contact from a new community, at a rendezvous point set in Charleston, West Virginia. The colorful new character, real name Juanita Sanchez, will next fully introduce herself to our heroes in the opening minutes of episode 15, "The Tower."
"Princess, to me, was me when I was six years old. I had that realization the night before I shot the first day," Lázaro said on Talking Dead. "I had one of those cries [sobbing], and I hadn't had one of those in a while. But I realized it was me when I was a kid when nobody understood me or my energy level, or my hyperactivity, whatever you want to call it, ADHD, whatever you want to call it, and nobody understood it except my parents. And I was creative, but I was always getting kicked out of everything."
"So for me, Princess is who I was when I was a kid," Lázaro added. "When I got the news I got the role of Princess, I fell to my knees and I started crying. And my agent and my manager were like, 'Are you crying?' And I was like, 'Yes! You don't know how hard I worked for this.'"
Lázaro's co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, called the character's surprise appearance "one of the greatest character introductions I've ever seen on this show."
"It was awesome. It was so good," Morgan said. "My wife, who never watches the show, she about fell off the bed laughing because we were so intrigued with the diorama stuff. That was so fun to see, and then her coming out with that big 'howdy' was awesome."
The traveling trio were met with the sight of walkers posed in silly positions throughout the city, displays crafted by Princess, who confesses she hasn't seen living people in over a year.
"Not many rotters left in the city, so I put these up as my decorations," she tells the group in a scene from "The Tower." The displays are a "pain in the ass to put together, but they make the place feel more alive."
Lázaro is a "wonderful" addition to the cast, says showrunner Angela Kang.0comments
"For comic book readers, they know that this is Princess. She's a really fun character, and here's this person who has been stuck in this city and she has forged her own path in life to try to deal with everything that's happened," Kang told EW. "And I'll say that she is in obviously some sort of strange confrontation with our people, and we'll learn a lot more about her in the episode to follow. And she becomes an important catalyst for some of the things that are to happen. But we love this actress we cast, Paolo Lázaro. She's wonderful. Just folded right in with the cast, is incredibly funny, but has a great dark sense of humor. And so I'm excited for people to see what she brings to this mix going forward."