You may know Annet Mahendru as Nina from The Americans, but now she stars as Huck in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Season one will be available on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow!
The Walking Dead: World Beyond delves into a new mythology and story that follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-apocalyptic world. Two sisters along with two friends leave a place of safety and comfort to brave dangers, known and unknown, living and undead on an important quest. Pursued by those who wish to protect them and those who wish to harm them, a tale of growing up and transformation unfurls across dangerous terrain, challenging everything they know about the world, themselves, and each other. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. But all of them will find the truths they seek.
Created by Scott M. Gimple and Matt Negrete, TWD: World Beyond stars Alexa Mansour as Hope, Nicolas Cantu as Elton, Hal Cumpston as Silas, Aliyah Royale as Iris, Annet Mahendru as Huck, Nico Tortorella as Felix, and Julia Ormond as Elizabeth. Recurring this season is Joe Holt as Leo, Natalie Gold as Lyla, Al Calderon as Barca, Scott Adsit as Tony, and Ted Sutherland as Percy.
Check out my Q & A with Annet!
How did it feel stepping into this world of The Walking Dead?
Annet: It was so grand and vast, I didn’t know where to start. So I, you know, I just took what I had and trusted my instincts.
Were you nervous, excited?
Annet: Oh, all of it. They said the same neurological response, nervousness and excitement is just how your brain interprets it in the end. I suppose I was, you know, all of it. It was just this big opportunity and it either keeps going, or, you know, it could end that your meeting, you know, your initial meeting and even then you got to live in whatever sides they gave you or whatever you talked about in the meeting, you know? So it’s all kind of a present and either keeps giving. We’re sort of wrapping up now which is really sad because I’ve really enjoyed being Huck and. And it’s, you know, the sad, bittersweet end. But it will live forever on the DVD, that’s for sure.
I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of weird seeing electricity and things like a coffee maker in The Walking Dead universe. Did you expect any of that when you walked into this role?
Annet: Well, it’s this functioning community. And again, we spent most of the time in the wilderness, so it was nice to get close to the CRM. I was ready for an electric toothbrush. I just was so thrilled but I’m always so thrilled with whatever I get that I don’t know if I have any expectations. At some point, I just, I’m like ‘I want more, I want to know more,’ you know, I really enjoy the journey and I trust it.
Huck makes the comment that Huck is her nickname. Is that a true nickname for her or is that just something that she was telling Felix to kind of get into the campus?
Annet: She shows up on a raft and it sort of does come about. I mean that’s there to sort of give her this new home and place and identity, and she rolls with it but she was looking for purpose. She’s a marine and when the world crumbled and when her beliefs about the core crumbled and they were taking people out because of this zombie virus, they didn’t know who had it and decisions were being made without much knowledge behind it. And she said no to all that, you know, because that’s just what she believed in. She always was her own believer, and even though she was part of a political core she always had her own head on her shoulders. She was at the Civic Republic finding her way and then her mom, obviously, you know, hooked her up here and there. She’s a soldier, she needed to get back on the field and the security team was her new Platoon and that’s what a soldier lives for, you know, they don’t want, necessarily a normal life, they are made for these extreme situations that they thrive in and that’s what she gets. That’s what she seeks out… So, Huck was sort of this, like, this cute but badass nickname, you know, like a battle cry. But it really became who she is. I mean she’s probably more, at this point, like Huck than Jennifer. When she goes back to home, like her old life is Jennifer’s life, like who is that? She’s constantly changing and that’s what we love about her.
When did you find out that your Huck was connected with the Civic Republic?
Annet: Matt (Negrete) in season one, at some point in episode three or something, he said ‘look we’re casting your mother and she’s part of the CRM,’ and, you know, he sort of explained it to me briefly and again it took me probably a whole season to wrap my head around that and another season to really understand what the CRM was and what my place in it was and we really get into it this season.
What are you allowed to say about season two?
Annet: Well, season one has all these beginnings, right, and season two, this will be the last. It’s the end and we had to really get from A to Z in no time, so it’s a very saturated journey that we will take you on and I think I’m into that. I don’t know about you, but you really, really just get to live to the fullest. It’s the last time you know, going in, it was like ‘toodaloo,’ you know, ‘we have like 10 years to understand all this, to become these guys,’ and then all of a sudden, it’s like ‘alright, you guys got another 10 episodes, figure it out.’ And I think we really did it and it’s pure magic.
Is season two going to be released this year?
Annet: It’s coming this fall. We did have this little, sort of, pause, but it’s all worked out and we’ll have the release and it’s all, knock on wood, you know, moving forward as planned.
Did COVID and the quarantine and this worldwide pandemic affect how you approached the show at all?
Annet: You know, logistically it did but also I feel like CRM was, you know, like the government and conspiracies about at all, but it was an interesting exploration of what it could all mean. And I think that’s why our show is so relevant in many ways and it’s good, we need to detach ourselves from reality and kind of think in other ways about things and get some perspective. You have to find other ways to make meaning of it all and find a greater purpose for while this is happening.