Cooper Andrews definitely had a memorable role as Jerry in the previous episode of ‘The Walking Dead’. His character brought a lot of humour to the show in a very minimalistic way that lightened the mood after the traumatic premiere. He’s now spoken about he managed to get the role on the hit series.
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.
It sounds like the producers of the series are extremely dedicated to getting each character’s portrayal absolutely perfect as Cooper Andrews explains the way he and Scott Gimple pin-pointed the character’s mannerisms.
“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.”
He certainly has the balance between being calm and collected to “badass” on ‘The Walking Dead‘. And this might be from his experience playing Yo-Yo on ‘Halt and Catch Fire‘.
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.
Is Jerry your new favourite character? Cooper Andrews certainly brought warmth and humour to lighten the audience’s mood in the second episode. And it’s obvious that that wasn’t the last we’ll see of him.