Sarah Wayne Callies explains why she doesn't keep up with The Walking Dead despite starring on the zombie apocalypse drama for its first three seasons, where Callies played the eventually estranged wife of Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes and the mother of Chandler Riggs' Carl Grimes. The actress, who also starred in Prison Break and Colony, has moved onto NBC's Council of Dads — a family drama in the spirit of tear-jerker This Is Us — choosing to participate in storytelling highlighting the warmth of humanity as opposed to the "depravity and desperation and fear" playing out in The Walking Dead, currently headed into its eleventh season.
"I never watched The Walking Dead. It scared me," Callies told Assignment X. "But ten years ago, the world was different, and that kind of exploration of depravity and desperation and fear was subversive, and it was interesting, and it was new. And now, we have such a glut of shows about what a sh-tty, dystopian, f—ed up world we're in — including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, which are reality shows about the sh-tty, dystopian, f—ed up world we're in — that I think it's actually now kind of subversive to say, 'Maybe we're all going to be okay. Maybe we can get through this by reaching out to one another.'"
While promoting Council of Dads during the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this year, Callies admitted she once considered quitting acting over concerns she "put a lot of violence into the world" by appearing in violent shows like The Walking Dead.
"I've been waiting for this show for a long time. I hit a point a couple of years ago where I thought maybe I don't want to act anymore, and part of that was because I felt that I had put a lot of violence into the world," Callies told press. "There was a time where the world felt like a relatively safe place, and so to tell stories that were more dangerous and a little bit more bleak felt right."
Callies continued, "I kept getting letters from fans about, 'My name is so-and-so, and I'm suffering from anxiety and depression, and I'm struggling in the following ways.' And I realized I wanted to be a part of something storytelling-wise — whether it was as an actor, director, producer or writer — that left people with the sense that they could do it. They could get through it, they could be there for someone else, they could challenge the parts of themselves they didn't like, they could uplift."
The actress will next launch a podcast thriller, Aftershock, which she co-wrote, produced, directed, and will star in alongside David Harbour (Stranger Things, Black Widow) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Supernatural, The Walking Dead).