Q: You’ve starred in classics likeIn the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood. Has your fame from The Walking Dead surpassed the recognition you get for all those other movies?
A: Certainly I get recognized a lot, that’s a new condition of life. It’s not totally new, but to the degree it is now, it is new. I’m probably more recognizable with the beard and the ponytail. A lot of people in airports recognize me too — a lot of the agents when I’m passing through. And you have more of people stopping and wanting to take pictures of you and you saying, “I have a plane to catch.” The fans are really nice and they’re upfront and the people that talk to me are certainly pro-Hershel. I’ll hear things like, “Ah, you grew your leg back!”
Q: Have you been getting interesting fan mail or seen any tributes to Hershel that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
A: People respond to Hershel everywhere. What’s really neat is that people have said they watch it with their families. Fathers and sons watch it together and it gives them some common ground to have conversation together.
Q: Hershel has changed a lot from the farm owner we met in Season 2. Do you prefer the new Hershel, or the old one?
A: It’s been a fun journey. From the beginning on the farm, he was much more of a tight character. Everyone in the show has lost enormously; they’ve lost family members and daughters and sisters and loved ones. But because of being on the farm, his losses were as physical as anyone else’s. That was his farm, where he lived and raised his family. So you saw him lose something that had been in the family for a long time.
Q: What were you told about Hershel going into Season 4?
A: The only thing I was really told was that I would have a prosthetic leg. So that made me happy.
Q: Things get pretty ugly for Hershel at the prison. Did you ever petition for a return to the farm?
A: I had always thought that I would like to have that return. It would be a good journey to have him going back to the farm to see what was left of it.
Q: Last year you spoke to us about how your golf game needed work. After another year going up against Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey, did it get any better?
A: I have seen improvement, but it was on their part. They keep getting better, and the distance keeps getting further between us. They still enjoy playing with me; I guess it helps them realize how much better they could be. They could be not as good as they are, and I point that out.