Living in the same universe as The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead is a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa have managed to assemble. The everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful, escapist, and strung out children takes a back seat when society begins to break down. A forced evolution, a necessary survival of the fittest takes hold, and our dysfunctional family must either reinvent themselves or embrace their darker histories.
Meet Nick Clark, played by Frank Dillane:NICK CLARK is a 19-year old drug addict. His mother, Madison, has sent him to rehab several times, but now Nick has reached a point where no one can tell him what to do or force him into recovery — he has to do that all by himself. When we first meet Nick, we meet a young man at a crossroads. Nick wants to prove he can rebuild his life – and the apocalypse may provide him an ironic opportunity to do so.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (R.A.D.A.) in London, Frank Dillane has appeared in several theater productions, including Candide (Theatre Royal Bath); Peter Pan or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up; The Merchant of Venice; The Provok’d Wife; A Respectable Wedding; The Seagull; and The Winter’s Tale (all for R.A.D.A.).
His film credits include: Viena and the Fantomes (Lola Pictures); In the Heart of the Sea (Articulated Productions Ltd); Maestro (Scarlet Films); Papadopoulos & Sons (Double M Films); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (DDDCO Ltd/Warner Bros.); Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (VeeEye Ltd/Warner Bros.); and Welcome to Sarajevo (Channel 4/Miramax/Dragon Pictures). His radio credits include Jill (Allegra Productions). He also recently appeared in Netflix’s Sense8.
Who is Nick?
Nick is a 19-year-old guy whose father is dead and he lives with his mom and sister – well, he sort of runs away from home every now and then. He struggles with addiction as well. Nick is in a contact state of life and death, and I think that’s what life is like for addicts. Everything is life and death, chuck that into the end of the world, and you’ve got a very unstable young man.
What was intriguing about playing this character and being a part of this world?
All the themes in the series seem to be really important and real. That’s what intrigued me. Family is a theme, death, morality, what it is to be a human being, what it is to kill someone and what effect that takes. What happens to humanity when the walls fall down? What are we actually doing here? These are real, human themes.
What’s the story behind this series?
It’s before the apocalypse has been established so we’re still in the question phase of is this a sickness? Can this be cured? The government I believe will take a bigger role in regards to what do they tell us, what don’t they, and how brainwashed we are or aren’t.
How is the family/Nick relatable?
I think this family is just “a family.” I think they’re relatable because they are one.
What is different in Fear vs. The Walking Dead?
The difference is it is establishing the apocalypse, versus being in the middle of it. Is it right to kill or not? These things are still being determined. This is much more dealing with the morality of what it is to kill a zombie.
What is Nick’s relationship like with his mother, Madison?
I think it’s just mother/son. I know to some mothers, their kids can’t do anything wrong in their eyes and I think that can be a fault of a mother. Sometimes they can’t see that their babies are not only self-destructive but destructive, and so they refuse to believe that they could have created a monster. Not that Nick is a monster, but sometimes his actions are monstrous. A mother’s love can be so overwhelming and so hard for boys to take, because they can be such selfish little rats. How can this woman stand by him? And I think that’s difficult too.
Nick is still dependent on selfish ends, so I’m not clear about how he feels about his family. He is still stuck on need and immediate gratification, so how his actual soul is doing, I’m not sure yet. He still seems to be in a haze of need. The absent person in the whole equation really is Nick’s father, so I think Nick is still reeling from the shock of that loss. And I think that’s what gives Nick leave to not care so much because his dad is dead.
How does Nick react to the zombies?
I think he knows what he sees. I think if people doubt you, doubt creeps in. I think junkies are sometimes hard to believe. Maybe he’s inconsistent in his language or emotions and he can appear mad. I think that trait existed before the heroin did. It’s like the madness exists anyway. I think with Nick, it’s all life and death. And I tried to make myself as childlike and not concerned with social conditioning or social expectations of what it is to be a human being. I think if you’re a person like Nick, you like to stay on the outside of society.