The Walking Dead's longtime leading man Andrew Lincoln says he turned down starring in action and horror scripts before signing on for family drama Penguin Bloom, his first film role since 2010. Lincoln exited the television zombie drama after eight years in 2018, taking a hiatus from the Rick Grimes role that took the UK-based Lincoln away from his wife and two children for long periods while filming in Georgia. After his new Netflix movie Penguin Bloom, which he filmed with Naomi Watts in Australia, Lincoln returns to the Walking Dead franchise when its first feature film begins shooting later this year.
"I have a young family, and the industry is littered with people that don't make it as a family. I had spent eight months away from them for a lot of their childhood, and it was becoming more unbearable. So when I was home, I was playing catch-up as a parent, and as a husband, as a father," Lincoln told Collider about his decision to decline film work in-between seasons of The Walking Dead. "Also, unfortunately, what you have to do is you have to change people's perceptions of what you're able to do as an actor."
Across his more than eight seasons as the zombie-slaying Rick Grimes, Lincoln said, "A lot of the scripts I was receiving were great scripts, but they were action and they were horror. I was waiting for the right story to chime and then [Penguin Bloom] came along, and I instantly loved it and knew I wanted to be a part of this beautiful story of the Bloom family."
In the drama inspired by the powerful true story, Lincoln plays Cameron Bloom, a photographer who becomes a full-time dad and carer after his wife, Sam (Watts), is paralyzed in a near-fatal accident. With the support of her husband and children, Sam learns to adapt to her new life as the Bloom family finds inspiration in an injured magpie named Penguin.
During a 2017 appearance on Walking Dead after-show Talking Dead, Lincoln revealed he's "always fancied the idea" of appearing in a Star Wars movie:
"Dave Morrissey and I, we used to sort of joke that we were the only actors in British Equity that hadn't been in the Harry Potter franchise," Lincoln told Chris Hardwick when asked what might have happened if he never starred as Rick Grimes. "So maybe I would have been wizarding about Hogwarts [in Harry Potter] or hobbit-ing about Middle Earth [in The Lord of the Rings], and I always fancied the idea of getting my hands around a lightsaber."1comments
Starring Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln, Jacki Weaver, and Rachel House, Penguin Bloom is available for streaming on Netflix starting on January 27. Lincoln's Walking Dead film remains undated.