You can say that all you want, but even in the little time that I've been in this industry, I've learned that it isn't exactly what you expect, so you've got to have a level head. I thought people would dig it. I thought people would enjoy it. It's AMC. I thought people would be fans. But, I did not think we would be the best new show on television.
I was more into music, before I got into college. In high school, I used to play guitar and sing. I did a lot of that. But, when I graduated and went to college, I remember my freshman year and this girl from across the hall, who is one of my good friends to this day, had a brother who was in the school improv team. We went to go watch a show and it blew my face off.
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I know a lot of people who say, "I reluctantly watched the first episode because I don't really like zombies and that stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised by the characters and the drama of it all." I think that's what keeps people coming back and brings new watchers to the show. What the show does is cross many, many different viewerships.
There's no drama. There's nothing. Everyone is there to work, everyone is really kind and everyone is very helpful, especially to me. I went in there, hoping to learn. I could have easily been put on some project with somebody who really doesn't care about teaching or sharing. But, while I was there, all of the cast were very helpful. I would constantly ask questions.
Maybe it was just me shorting myself to hedge my expectations. As a fan, I was excited about the project. If you look at the body of work for the people involved, I was excited about the project, but I didn't really know. There were people saying, "I think we're going to be part of something huge."
Having read the source material, I had to have drawn from that. As a fan, I wanted to remain true to that character, but it was really cool because, as we were figuring these characters out, I realized that there was a lot more backstory, rather than what I had gotten just from reading the book. Glenn doesn't really get much of a backstory there. He's just seen as this kid who is put in this situation, not knowing where his mind-set is, but then you slowly see him start to develop.
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The book is about zombies, in that it is the over-arching theme, but what's going on is the story of these people and how these survivors deal. I think that's so much more of an interesting story, and that's what really gets and hooks these readers into the book and the show. It's a mix of fans of drama, fans of AMC, fans of horror and fans of Frank [Darabont]. It's a lot of people just coming together and realizing a genre doesn't have to be fixed in one specific detail.
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To be honest, at that point, just being so fresh to L.A., I was in the mind-set of just getting work, at all costs. But, if you take a step back from it, it's just such a blessing to be able to play somebody like Glenn. Me being Asian American, it's nice to have something to play that's not so very stereotypical. It's also nice to have somebody that I identify with.
It was so ridiculous. We were just sitting there, thinking about how ridiculous it was because we literally had stray hairs on us. The camera couldn't pick up all the details, but we had some crazy things. We had huge slabs of fat on us and bits of nails and hair. It was disgusting. But, there's also the beautiful parts of it.
If you ask any of the other actors, they'd probably say nice things because they're nice people, but I was always like, "Oh gosh, I hope I'm doing this right." I was very hard on myself, and I continue to be. That's why it's sometimes hard for me to digest watching myself on television. There is some pressure.