Spoilers below for the fifteenth episode of The Walking Dead Season 10.
While it sucks that The Walking Dead Season 10 is officially over for the short haul, since production on the season finale hasn't yet been completed, I'm so happy the creative team gave Paola Lázaro's Juanita "Princess" Sanchez a proper introduction in the second-to-last episode, rather than saving it for the end. The live-action Princess is just as poppy, quirky and loopy as she is on the page, and adds a smack of color to the show's palette.
Star Paola Lázaro recently spoke with CinemaBlend about joining the show as Princess, and it was a joy to discover the actress' personality is a lot like the character's is. Below, we'll go over her thoughts on her favorite line from her big introductory episode and her emotional connections to the character, as well as some insights into the whole landmine scene, its Godfather moment, and whether or not she actually has candy.
Paola Lázaro's Favorite Princess Line So Far
Similar to how it went with Kevin Carroll's potentially one-and-done appearance as Virgil, Paola Lázaro had a lot of ground to cover in the first episode that gave Princess her name, as well as the time to make everyone wonder how full of shit she was. Turns out she's only somewhat full of shit, but doesn't appear to be nefarious, as shown to audiences through her emotional breakdown in the midst of the group's bonkers trip through that random-as-hell minefield.
That was the scene that came up when I asked Paola Lázaro what her favorite line or moment from the episode was. She told me:
Oh, man, that line where I say, about my past in the rain, and I say where I was told that I was hard to love. That line just kills me. To be told that, it's so specific, and that line just... I really love that line. It really hit home.
Seriously, that's not the kind of line that someone writes as a fluke. Those are the kinds of very damaging words that people actually unleash during troublesome relationships, making TV lines like that so much more relatable to viewers. You instantly feel where Princess is coming from when she says that line, and you feel bad about it.
Paola Lázaro's Emotional Connections With Princess
It would be daft of me to bring up the fact that Paola Lázaro and Princess happen to share some similarities when it comes to how they look and sound, but it's more insightful to remark on how the two compare when it comes to their personalities and their emotional connections to the past. In talking about how hard she worked to nail down the role before being cast, the actress first noted how she related to Princess.
We're very similar. I think also, you know, I would be Princess if I hadn't found what I'm passionate about in life, and if I hadn't pursued this. If I hadn't found a welcome environment where I could just be myself.
Had Paola Lázaro not found paved a creatively rich path through life that led her to writing plays and acting and more, she indicated she might have gone down a path that resembled Princess', though with 100% fewer walkers / rotters around. When I asked about how far she'd read into and thought about the character's background, Lázaro revealed that she was fully aware of where Princess' story goes in the source material, saying:
The comic book fans who have read further into what her past is know that it is really dark. . . . I had to read ahead [in the comic book], and a lot of it was part of the callback. It just showed a whole different side of the character that wasn't all fun and laughter and defensive. It was really real. I just related to it, because I used to get in trouble all the time as a kid, and I think that's what her life was, too. To get punished for those things, and kept apart from the world because of who you are. It just really hit hard, and hit home. It was very emotional for me to be able to live these things out. So yeah, I just connected with myself and what I've been through and put myself in her place and what she had been through, and I don't know, it just came together...hopefully.
Everyone will have their own opinions, of course, but I found that Lázaro has so far done a winning job of bringing Princess' sometimes overbearing personality to life in ways that feel natural and human. Even when it comes to sitcom-esque plots involving landmines.
On Princess' Minefield Plan And That Semi-Godfather Moment
The average person likely wouldn't try to pull off a semi-duplicitous plan to gain someone's trust by taking advantage of their unfamiliarity with an area and sending them through a literal minefield. But then no one has dealt with the kind of big city solitude that Princess has, with only sporadic walkers around to keep her company as gruesome art projects. She'd clearly lost touch with any semblance of how people used to make good first impressions, but it was all to try and win Eugene, Ezekiel and Yumiko over.
Here's how Paola Lázaro reasoned with Princess' decision to walk them through the mines.
I think what Princess was hoping for at the end of the minefield, once they passed through safely, that she could turn around and say, 'Hey, guys. So, that was a minefield, and y'all should trust me because nothing happened, see? So I've got your backs. I know things.' And I think that's what she was hoping to say, just like, 'You guys can trust me, please.' But you know, and then things exploded, and that's life. [Laughs.] What are you gonna do?
I had to bring up the fact that everyone realized there was an issue when they found the post-explosion head from one of the horses that Princess scared away, which felt like a vague nod to The Godfather's scene where producer Jack Woltz finds his racehorse's head in his bed. It turns out Lázaro had the same thought when she saw the horse head prop.
The horse in Godfather, its name is Khartoum, remember? And when I got there, I was like, 'Oh, Khartoum!' When he lifts the blanket, and he's like 'Khartoum!' I was like, 'Yeah!'
Luckily, things went better for the human group than they did for either The Walking Dead's horse or Khartoum.
Does Princess Really Have Candy Or Was That Also A Lie?
Considering all the half-truths that Princess told Eugene, Ezekiel and Yumiko, I had to confirm with Paola Lázaro that her character wasn't fooling about having more candy stashed somewhere. My worries were soothed. In the actress' words:
No, I don't think she would play with that. I'm so sorry, no, there are no jokes when it comes to the candy. I cannot joke around with that. I have to have it. Please, I have to deliver candy to Eugene at least!
Thank all that is holy and chocolatey and sweet or sour. I hope she's got some classics like Oh Henrys and Fifth Avenues. And since this whole trip was already for Eugene's benefit, I'd also be amused if Princess only had candy that he wasn't fond of. Poor Eugene.
A Few Words About Episode 16
When I asked Paola Lázaro if we would be seeing more from Princess in Season 10's official finale, she wasn't really allowed to say much. But here's what she did say:
I don't know if I can answer that, but what I can answer about Episode 16 is that it really gives us something to look forward to as fans of the show. It just excites us and gives us something to really look forward to.
If only Princess and the others were aware of what was happening back on the home front with the Whisperers attacking the group at the hospital. Speaking of...
How Princess Would Handle The Whisperers
If Princess did happen to know what Beta and the Whisperers were all about, she might have something to say about their particular masks, given her particular taste for walker-related visual arts. When I asked her about Princess' potential Whisperer reaction, here's what she told me:
I think as soon as Princess would find out that they're not dead for the crew, she would just not have it. She would just not have it. She would eliminate all of them, and then she would take her mask, and do like a sculpture, or like a mosaic on a fence with all their masks. [Laughs.]
The Walking Dead (AND PRINCESS) will return to AMC at some point later this year with the Season 10 finale, titled "A Certain Doom."