One week after the The Walking Dead's most brutal hour in over six years, the show introduced Carol, Morgan, and its audience to the Kingdom. The new community was home to extravagant King Ezekiel, his pet Shiva, and loyal servant to Ezekiel's army, Jerry.
Jerry, played by Cooper Andrews, brought a layer of humor to the AMC series which fan have been unfamiliar with. After all, this is a show which earned its popularity on the mantra of, "No one is safe."
ComicBook.com caught up with Andrews to hear about how he landed The Walking Dead's comic relief role.
CB: Let's start at the beginning. Just walk me through getting this role, filming this episode, and anything else that is coming up, and keeping it all a secret for this long.
CA: Keeping the secret of the one book in it, that was a hard one to do because I just told people that I was going back for Halt & Catch Fire, that they were doing re-shoots and stuff. They all thought I was in Atlanta for that because I'm on that show.
I got a call from my manager and said that Scott Gimple wanted me to read for this character named Lester, and I was like, "Okay, that's an interesting name." They said he was like this zen-like guy with this toughness around him. I'm reading the dialogue and the lines that they gave me, but it felt like a crime boss of some kind, and I was tying the dog, Santiago, to hush it up or chill it up. It was so funny because I'm like, "is this The Walking Dead? What is this dialogue? Is this The Walking Dead?"
I did a version and then he came back and said, "Let's try one a different way," so I gave him four different versions and then that was all Friday, Saturday. Then I was like, "Well, I don't know what just happened, but I'll just keep moving on." I was shooting a fight sequence with my friends. My roommates are stunt guys and they're working. I'm in the swimming pool with the camera and I get a phone call and they said "They need you on an airplane to get to Atlanta today." I was like, "What?" I was in a pool shooting this thing, and I'm rambling, I'm sorry. I went, "Okay, cool."
I go fly out and the next day I'm doing the table read with everybody. Then after, we're shooting.
CB: That's amazing. So very cool.
CA: Yes, it was fun. I did the table read and I played it like this tough Biggie Smalls type way of doing it. I wasn't feeling it. I had a Skype conversation that night with Scott, and he was like, "What are you thinking? The reason I picked you is you have this smile that when you smile you seem really happy, but when you're not smiling, you seem really dangerous." I was like, "Thank you."
He goes, "How do you feel if we play it a little more of that. So you're in the Kingdom. You're this happy guy, and then maybe when you're out where there are walkers, we'll just make you this f---ing bad ass." I was like, "Yes. I'm all for that."
CB: How does playing Jerry on this show compare to your other roles on shows like Hawaii Five-O, Halt and Catch Fire and Limitless? How do they all stack up?
CA: Halt and Catch Fire was the first of me trying to get used to being on television, but Yo-Yo was I guess the character I'm probably most known for at the moment, but no one's watching that show too much, even though I think it's one of the best shows ever. That's not even as a biased thing. I'm like, "I love this show. I'm sorry I'm in it because I feel like I'm ruining it, but I love this show." I'm just like, "Oh, God, here I am."
I feel like there's always parts of you, and this initial meeting with Jerry, it might seem like my Yo-Yo character. I almost always have a joke. It's like my natural deflection of things, but as Yo-Yo, he was actually a lot more serious. He has a lot on his mind even though he has this playfulness to him, but there was always something brooding with him. It's how I always played it. With Jerry, I am 100% happy to be there. He's just so happy to be part of the Kingdom. He believes in all this, and not in the sense that he believes this is a magical world, but to him, it is very much the Kingdom. This is how life is for him. I tried to play it like, when you guys get to see us a little more, he's almost more carefree about it than my other characters.
Hawaii Five-O... It's a pretty funny role because, one, I'm Samoan or half-Samoan, but I don't know a whole lot of the Samoan culture. I was raised by my mom, I was raised Jewish. I'm one of the very few Samoan Jews in the world, which is funny. She's in the Peace Corps, and that's where she met my dad, but I never knew my dad. I was raised by my mom, who is a New York Jew. When I get to Hawaii, all the locals are talking, "Where are you from? You're really educated. You sound really educated." I'm like, "Do I?" It's the non-regional accent, I guess. They're like, "Where are you from?" I'm like, "Originally, I'm from Atlanta, Georgia." Then they just looked at me for a moment, like "where is that?" It's just so funny because I love it there.
I got to play this character, Danno, who was trying to teach his kids about ... You know how this generation is more into their cell phones and being lost in all of that, and he is chasing these two guys down. He's on the side of the road and I pull over in this truck, this big blue pickup truck that was not too different than the one we were driving in the show, The Walking Dead, but I pull over. He's like, "Do you have a phone?" I'm like, "No. People are too obsessed with their phones." I give this whole speech where I play this guy who loves being part of nature, but it was a fun shoot and I had to relearn how to drive a stick shift which was pretty funny.
For more of our interview with Andrews, in which we take a deeper dive to his character of Jerry and the Kingdom from which he hails, click here!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.