Home Interviews Cassady McClincy talks The Walking Dead, Lydia and Love, Simon – Exclusive Interview

Cassady McClincy talks The Walking Dead, Lydia and Love, Simon – Exclusive Interview

by Conor O'Brien
Cassady McClincy

Atlanta-based actress Cassady McClincy is perhaps best known for playing Lydia on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Cassady joined the long-running apocalyptic horror-drama in 2019 as a recurring cast member, becoming a series regular for the following season.

Aside from TWD, Cassady also appeared opposite the likes of Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel in 2018 feature film Love, Simon based on the novel Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

Thank you to Cassady for very kindly taking the time to chat with Courageous Nerd over email.

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.

Cassady McClincy (CM): Thank you for having me!

How have you been finding life in the pandemic?

CM: It’s been unreal to say the least! It’s like life imitating art; beginning to take on aspects of this apocalyptic show. I just hope, like the show, it’s in its last season.

Do you have a favourite show or movie that you’ve watched during quarantine?

CM: I think I am addicted to The Great British Baking Show (Editor note: also known as The Great British Bake Off). I also rewatched Avatar: The Last Airbender a couple of times and it was wonderful.

At 20 years of age, you already have an impressive resume. How did acting start for you?

CM: Oh, thank you! I started dance/theatre when I was 7, decided to get an agent when I was 9 and I was hooked from there. It took a decade of rejection and sacrifices before The Walking Dead came along for me. So, I am very thankful!

Outside of your work as an actor, what are your other hobbies/interests?

CM: I just love spending time with my family and friends. Plants, painting random things, singing, dancing, listening to music, watching thing, baking, cooking, eating.

As already mentioned, you’re known for playing Lydia on The Walking Dead. Going into Season 9, your first on the show, how much did you familiarise yourself with the character?

CM: I read Lydia’s storyline in the comic books beforehand to get a feel for her character, even though the TV show Lydia is quite different. I also did a lot of research about PTSD and the effects of living in the wilderness.

One of the main aspects about Lydia that I was really excited to delve into was her body language, because she has spent most of her life mimicking a walker. So, when she’s first introduced in the show, I think her body language was animalistic and almost dead-like. Now she’s been part of a community of humans that actually act like humans, it’s been fun to change her characteristics.

What scene did you film first on The Walking Dead? If you remember, how did you feel on that day?

CM: The first scene I shot was when Michonne (Danai Gurira) leads Lydia into Hilltop, bound and blindfolded on a horse. I remember I was so happy and excited to be there. It was a super hot day so everyone was kind of miserable but still so welcoming. It was just so surreal.

As the title implies, The Walking Dead has a long list of killed off characters. Are there any deceased characters that you wish Lydia could have interacted with?

CM: Yes, I was a huge fan of the show before booking it. I stopped watching after Glenn died because Steven Yeun is my favourite. And I’m still so sad about it. I would’ve loved to work with, or even watch that man work.

A big part of Lydia’s initial storyline was with Henry (Matt Lintz). Did you read at all with Matt during the audition process for the show?

CM: No. The very audition process was very strange for me; it didn’t feel real. It was a long process of sending in self tapes, so I didn’t read with anyone. When I was told I got the part, I couldn’t let myself believe I’d really booked it until I was physically on set, filming.

Another important scene partner was Samantha Morton as Alpha. How was your experience working opposite her?

CM: Sam is such a fascinating, talented and kind person. I learned so much from watching her conduct herself as an actor and a person. She’s just lovely, the complete opposite of Alpha.

It was recently announced that The Walking Dead will be coming to a close after Season 11. If Lydia survives to the series finale, what would it mean for you to be at the closing of this long chapter?

CM: It would be such an honour. No matter what happens, the show has been such a huge part of my life. I’m just so thankful to have been able to experience the love and family that is TWD! But they would really be doing Carol dirty by killing Lydia now… just sayin.

Aside from The Walking Dead, you also appeared in another Georgia-filmed project, Love, Simon. How was your experience of working on that film?

CM: Yes! I was very excited about that, because I got to slow dance with my childhood crush. I was probably painfully awkward to be around, but it was a great time!

The world is obviously in a tough situation right now, with COVID. If you could send a message to fans of your work or you personally, what would it be?

CM: Take the time to really enjoy the little things. Be more understanding and empathetic towards each other! Take care of yourself and others.

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