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Exclusive Interview: Jose Cantillo (Martinez)

I had the pleasure this week to interview Jose Cantillo, who played Martinez on The Walking Dead:

Debbie: First of all thanks so much for doing this interview! Of course, Walking Dead fans knew you as Martinez. How did you get the part? Had you read the comics beforehand?

Jose Cantillo: I had to audition for the part of Martinez and performed dummy sides on tape with casting here in LA. I was aware of the comics but had not read them all – but I did read up on Martinez before heading to Atlanta. When the show first cast its leads, I actually read opposite the actors during their screen tests and learned about the comics then… it’s been incredible to watch what the show grow into the phenomenon it is now.

In the comics, Martinez dies in a different way. What did you think about the decision to have the Governor be the one who led to your demise as opposed to Rick? Would you have liked for your character to spend some time at the prison?

I liked playing Martinez’s death scene – there was so much to react to and it really required trust with my scene partner – however, I would’ve really liked to have seen what kind of leader Martinez would have become. Or IF he was up for the task – leaders seem to slip into madness in the zombie apocalypse which would be fun territory to explore.

What do you think Martinez was doing in between the time he left the Governor and when they met up again?

I think Martinez was actually following what lessons he learned from Phillip (before he became the Governor) on how to stay alive – strength in numbers, tracking down resources, building pits and watching your neighbors. The biggest difference: Martinez’s camp seemed to only want citizens that could fend for themselves or contribute to the camp in some way. The Governor wanted to recreate a town that felt like a normal pre-zombie apocalypse where most could indulge in the delusion that they did not exist. Martinez didn’t think he’d ever see the Governor again.

If Martinez hadn’t met up with the Governor again, how did you see things going for him? Do you think he would have followed the same path that he was on in Woodbury?

I think Martinez would’ve kept on the road looking for a more permanent, fortified settlement – but his policy for living there would have been much different than in Woodbury… I would’ve liked to have seen a rotation of duties where everybody goes out to gather resources and keep the zone clear of Biters. I think Martinez trusted no one after the whole Woodbury / Prison clash and ultimately would probably never find a settlement far enough away from other groups and his demise would come from staying on the road.

Are you surprised at how passionate The Walking Dead fans are?

Absolutely. I don’t think anyone could ever have predicted how passionate the fans would be and how varied the fans are in terms of age, geography and well everything in between. I have been able travel the world because of the fans and thank you all for celebrating the show and my time and contribution to it.

Tell us about “Free Me The Game”. How did you come up with the concept? Congratulations on reaching your goal!

Thank you! I am excited to unleash Free Me into the world. It’s an outrageous card game that pokes fun at embarrassing social media behavior. My buddy Jeff and I came up with the concept after Jeff stumbled across his daughter’s diary entry where she wished he would put down his phone and play with her more. As a challenge while away on a trip, we pledged to stay off of nonessential phone functions and social media seemed to be a biggie. We became more present. The best part though was when Jeff slipped and made a non work related status update and he then had to do something mildly embarrassing in public. That is where the game came from – the idea of playing something in the real world with real people, which you could hold and thumb through, that would replace your smartphone for a while so you can have fun being in the moment. And the best part – the black card challenges (the stunt you have to perform if you lose) are in good fun and will make you more spontaneous and daring. We have about a week left on our kickstarter campaign and could really use fan support to bring it home and reach our stretch goal. There are some cool rewards that have some relevance to Zombies and even let you play the game with me via Skype or FaceTime. will take you our page.

Thank you Debbie for your time and questions. If you think of anything else please don’t hesitate to ask!

Best, Jose Cantillo

Thanks so much to Jose for letting me interview him, and thanks to Brandon whose question I chose to ask!

You can follow Jose on Twitter and also Free Me The Game.

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