Last Sunday, Fear the Walking Dead gave its gigantic audience a glimpse into one family’s life before the dead rose and devoured the world, but one major element of that familial unit almost didn’t sign on for the show.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, actress Kim Dickens – best known for her work on Deadwood, Friday Night Lights, and House of Cards (to name but a few) — admitted that prior to accepting the role as high school guidance counselor Madison on Fear the Walking Dead, she had some reservations,
It’s a totally new genre for me… When I first was presented with the option to audition, I thought, ‘I don’t fit in there.’ And then I read the script and was like, ‘that’s an amazing character. But still, I don’t know.’ And then finally it just became this much more universal story than just an apocalypse, and that’s what I responded to.

Based on the show’s premiere alone, her analysis seems fairly on point. Although, as an actress known mostly for her dramatic turns, her acting style seems to have coalesced with the minimalist approach of the show. As of yet, we have seen very little in terms of walkers, but instead have spent most of the time focusing on the equally riveting interpersonal drama surrounding Madison and her family.

Given the fact that the show centers so much on events leading up to the outbreak, Dickens has already been able to make her mark on the series, differentiating herself from The Walking Dead’s former matriarch: Lori Grimes. Indeed, true to Dickens’ own words, it’s more a show about the nature of fear itself rather than the nature of the undead.

If the franchise has proven anything at this point, it’s that deviating from one’s comfort zone can yield phenomenal results. While some actors on Walking Dead immediately felt right at home in their badass role – Norman Reedus was previously most known for the Boondocks Saints films – others have made genre leaps just as notable as Dickens. For example, Andrew Lincoln, who headlines the show as the intense, moderately insane Rick Grimes, was perhaps best known for his work in the quirky romantic comedy Love Actually prior to strapping on his revolver.

Dickens seems to have nailed the dramatic aspects of the show, but only time will tell if she meshes with the horror elements as they slowly creep in. Fear The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.

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