The Zombie slayer speaks Afrikaans

What could be more exciting than chatting to The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes?

The answer is when the actor portraying the character starts the conversation in Afrikaans with “Hallo, hoe gaan dit?” – paying homage to his South African roots (his mother is a nurse from our shores).

British actor Andrew Lincoln has become a phenomenon since the debut of The Walking Dead, the post-apocalyptic TV drama about zombies and survival that has many viewers around the world on the edge of their seats.

Last week, American audiences got to experience the season five finale, as well as the announcement of a spin-off show – Fear The Walking Dead.

Ahead of season six, Lincoln spilled the beans about some of the show’s inner workings, especially touching on his character, Rick Grimes, and his development from protagonist to someone with the ebb and flow of a moral core.

“I generally just try to play the themes, they [the writers] put Rick into many different places and situations he needs to overcome.”

The actor adds he prefers not to know when characters are getting culled, which helps him portray the realness of Grimes.

“What I love about Rick, he’s forgotten about his past [as a cop] and tries to survive in a new future.”

MEET THE MEAT. Andrew Lincoln chats with one of the show's first zombies, the little girl in the pilot episode of the show that helped establish it as one of TV's most groundbreaking shows. Pictures: AMC

MEET THE MEAT. Andrew Lincoln chats with one of the show’s first zombies, the little girl in the pilot episode of the show that helped establish it as one of TV’s most groundbreaking shows. Pictures: AMC

As the number of viewers grew – now averaging nearly 15 million viewers in America alone – the show also became more and more complex as characters navigate emotions, turmoil, death and zombies.

During all this, Lincoln emerged as a sex symbol, something he shrugs off. “If someone finds an old guy covered with blood and sweat sexy, I’m all for it,” he laughs.

According to Lincoln, female producers on the show noted Grimes got sexier the bloodier he got. But being covered with blood and guts has a down side. “After shooting I have a 45-minute, blood-filled car ride home,” he says

Lincoln hopes he is not pulled over by the cops, as he often looks as though he’s just escaped from a crime scene. The grittiness of the show helps to make it more authentic.

“It’s my first job where you don’t really wear make-up. You earn your sweat in Atlanta [the humid subtropical climate where the show is shot],” he says.

Lincoln and his fellow actors are also covered in dirt and grime to sell the look. “If it were too glamorous, people just won’t buy into it,” he says.

For the show’s run so far, Grimes sports a Colt Python .357 Magnum as his weapon of choice to slay zombies and right social injustices.

He told The Citizen if he were to name the gun, he would call it Kevin. “Kevin my 357.”

Read more on these topics

Afrikaans celebrity

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits