The Walking Dead has set all sorts of ratings records since it debuted on AMC three years ago, but there is one man who isn’t watching — the show’s star, Andrew Lincoln. While many actors on TV programs can’t wait to see how the final product is all put together for the small screen, Lincoln makes it a point to not watch his own show. While I was down on the set for filming of season 4 (which premieres Oct. 13) I asked the man who plays Rick Grimes why he refuses to watch, and here’s what he told me…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you don’t watch the show. Just explain to me why that is. What’s the reasoning for not watching?
ANDREW LINCOLN: The original reason is the fact that I don’t actually enjoy looking at myself.
EW: Because you’re too critical?
LINCOLN: Yes. And also because of the directorial choices that possibly, because I’ve done it, make you go, “Oh, there’s a take that blah-blah-blah.” But mainly because I did it for a while, I watched it, and it’s a self-conscious thing of watching myself and going, “Oh I like it when I do that. That’s kind of cool.” And then, “Oh, I don’t like it when I do that.” And that defeats the object of what I want to do as an actor, which is to try and be in the role and not be self-conscious. I watch great actors, great actors that I admire beyond all things and I see them replicate, and it’s very hard not to. I don’t want to do that. I just want to leave myself alone as much as I can. It breaks the spell, it breaks the magic somewhat.
EW: Now will you watch, let’s say, episode 3 of The Walking Dead last year, which you were not even in?
LINCOLN: I don’t even like watching that. I kind of step back from it all. The fun bit for me is doing it. I love that. That’s the exciting thing for me. When I direct, the most exciting thing for me is obviously all the different stages, the three-tiered journey, the prep, the design, and you to act through the actor, and then the edit. That’s when I get turned on by the whole thing. But for me, my job here is just to be as truthful as I can in this role. I don’t think it’s that unusual if you ask a lot of actors, because it’s the same thing as not reading press or reviews. You can’t do both. You can’t get good stuff and not get the bad as well. That’s not the exchange. So if I step back from it and don’t even engage on any level, all I’m left with is the good stuff, the fun stuff, that hopefully I’ve enjoyed day-to-day.
EW: So there’s not any curiosity to see once it is sent to L.A. how’s it going to be edited and put together? I assume you do a little ADR [where actors redub their lines to a scene].
LINCOLN: I get a little ADR. When I first saw the pilot, I had to do a lot of breathing on it, so I saw how beautiful it was and how witty it was and the scale of it. And also, we talk about that before we start, and the crew here has been working on it from the start. I don’t know, it’s just me. It’s just my thing. I don’t enjoy it.