Former Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs identified with the feelings of depression and anxiety expressed by A Million Little Things’ Rome (Romany Malco), propelling his decision to board the ABC drama.
“I read it and instantly loved it. It was just me,” Riggs told Us Weekly.
“Everything just felt very natural and real about it. Right after I got the audition, I started watching the show and I fell in love with it. I knew I had to be a part of it. It’s so real and so impactful.”
In his first post-Walking Dead gig, Riggs’ character, PJ, bonded with Rome over shared feelings of depression.
“That’s something that me and many others in the world have gone through,” Riggs said.
“It’s something I can relate to pretty strongly and I think that’s kind of the main reason that I wanted to take on PJ. He’s a character that is going through stuff that I’ve gone through before in my life, and I think that it’s really important for people to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is life after what you’re going through, that you can get through it. It’s something I really wanted to be a part of and help share a story like that.”
His debut on the series in a February 21 episode marked Riggs’ return to television after a year away. Riggs’ Walking Dead character, Carl Grimes, was killed off the zombie drama after eight seasons in an episode that first aired Feb. 25, 2018.
The 19-year-old actor in recent months admitted he “got lazy” and “sucked when it mattered” on The Walking Dead, explaining in a Reddit post his last four years on the show were spent putting more focus on schooling.
“These last few months have been extremely productive for my craft, and I feel my performances have become so much more powerful and include an amazing amount of depth,” Riggs wrote in the November post. “I’m super proud of them and really can’t wait to show you guys.”
Riggs previously revealed he underwent acting lessons in his efforts to better his craft before landing his Million Little Things role.
The ABC drama aired its first season finale on Thursday. Emerging as ABC’s highest-rated new series and its third highest-rated drama, A Million Little Things will return to the network for a second season.
The Disney-owned network is also now home to Riggs’ former Walking Dead co-stars Lauren Cohan, whose new spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier dropped a sneak peek Sunday after the Oscars ahead of its official Wednesday premiere, and Michael Cudlitz, who headlines comedy The Kids Are Alright.
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