Jayne Atkinson Advised Laila Robins to Audition for The Walking Dead

Laila Robins reveals Jayne Atkinson recommended she audition for the role of Governor Pamela Milton on The Walking Dead. Atkinson guest-starred as Georgie in Season 8 episode "The Key," trading Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan) the book "A Key to a Future." Robins, known for parts on The SopranosThe Blacklist, and The Boys, auditioned for her role as leader of the Commonwealth with Atkinson's encouragement. (Worlds collide in Season 11 episode "The Lucky Ones," where Maggie mentions Atkinson's character when meeting Robins' Governor Milton for the first time.)

"To be honest, I didn't watch the show. I'd obviously heard of its great success, and I actually had a friend who had worked on the show," Robins told AMC.com. "She said she had a really nice time, that all the actors were wonderful, and the whole environment was really warm and inclusive. So of course she said I would have a good time if I did it. My agent sent me the material and I auditioned. [Showrunner] Angela Kang liked it, we had a meeting on Zoom, and that's how I got the role." 

Atkinson is "a very dear friend of mine," Robins said. "We went to school together. She was my maid of honor when I got married back in the day. So I know Jayne very well. We'd recently seen each other up in Toronto; she was shooting Clarice and I was shooting The Boys. We had a really nice few days together catching up again and she said, 'Yeah, do it, do it, do it. It's great fun and the people are really nice.' That's what she encouraged me to do, so she's partly responsible for my being here!" 

The eleventh and final season of The Walking Dead cast Robins opposite series newcomers Josh Hamilton (13 Reasons Why) as Lance Hornsby, Michael James Shaw (Blood & Treasure) as General Mercer, Margot Bingham (Boardwalk Empire) as Max, and Teo Rapp-Olsson (Blue Bloods) as Governor Milton's son, Sebastian Milton. Based on the comic book character created by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Robins' Pamela Milton belongs to a political dynasty as the daughter of a former U.S. president

"I thought this would be an interesting lady to play, especially seeing as it's the finale season. There's such a huge following, and that's a pretty formidable spot to try to jump on a moving train," Robins said. "It's been a show that's been going for over 10 years so you think, 'Well, how do I jump on that train? How do I participate? How do I hit the right tone?' On top of that, the status of my character is pretty high, so I have to walk in with a certain amount of oomph, you know? It was a challenge, but I was really happy that I took it and I had a really good time."

New episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season Part 2 of 3 air Sundays on AMC and AMC+. Follow @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and @NewsOfTheDead for TWD Universe coverage all season long.