Danay García talks ‘Fear the Walking Dead,’ Podcasting, and More!

Photographer: Seth Komito, Makeup: Texas DeLaRosa, Hair: Justin Cantrell

One prominent character in the hit Walking Dead spin-off series, Fear the Walking Dead, is Luciana Galvez. Introduced in Season 2, Luciana has always been there for others when they needed her, and has grown a lot throughout the series. Most recently, Fandomize had the chance to chat with Luciana herself, Danay García. Check out the interview below!

Shaun Hood: Tell us about when you got the role of Luciana on Fear The Walking Dead. At the time, how much did you know about the show and its connection to the main series, The Walking Dead?

Danay García: I didn’t know much about the connection with The Walking Dead, but, it was very easy to tell that it was in the same universe. I knew very little about Fear because I got the role in season two and season one was only six episodes. I feel like Season 1 exposed the potential of Fear because it was so short, but it was so much about what it would be like for a family to collapse during the apocalypse for the first time. So, I saw a couple of episodes, but I didn’t get to see the whole thing by the time I got the role.

I knew about The Walking Dead because I worked with Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori. I worked with her on Prison Break, so I remember when she was auditioning for The Walking Dead, which is crazy. I remember when she got the role, and I remember we talked about it. So I knew about the crazy success of the show and I knew how important it was. I actually went to the premiere of The Walking Dead, in LA, which is funny. So I got everything firsthand and I knew I was stepping into an unknown universe, but a universe that I was willing to take the challenge of, and the risk of what it will bring to my life. I didn’t know that I was going to be on this journey until today, that it was going to continue the way it did. And for that, I was pleasantly surprised, and I’m very grateful.

SH: Is there any part of Luciana that you identify or connect with?

DG: If you would have asked me this after one season of the show, I would’ve been like, “Ah, well she’s a survivor.” I wouldn’t be as specific. But now that I’ve been playing her for so long, I feel like there’s a part of Luciana that I have been cautiously developing, which is her intuition. This woman has been through so much, but there’s something in her that still makes her wake up and just keep fighting, and I think that has a lot to do with her intuition as to what she sees ahead. Obviously what has been presented to her has been so terrible. I mean, she’s been through hell and back. If she’s by any chance rational, she would just quit, but she just keeps going.

As Danay, I’m someone that I feel like I have made choices in my life not based on facts, but actually based on my intuition and what I feel will be worth it in the long-term. Even though the immediate response is not as rewarding as you could think, I feel like she makes those decisions based on her intuition. Every time I see that on the script, I pick it up and I get it. And obviously when you make decisions based on intuition, you have no fear. It’s like, there’s something in there you know is your soul speaking. So that’s really nice.

SH: So it’s been quite a while since I’ve watched Season 2, when Luciana was first introduced, and the beginning of Season 3. However, from what I remember, Luciana has evolved a lot since then. She seems to be more open with her friends than she was back then. Do you agree with that? What else would you have to say about Luciana’s character development?

Peter Iovino/AMC

DG: I think when we first met her, she was in La Colonia in Mexico. She straight away had different relationship with the dead than Nick at that time. The reason why she and Nick click, is because they clicked in this weird relationship with the dead. Nick is kind of an orphan of the apocalypse by choice, at that time, and I was an orphan of the universe and I found my Colonia, which is the chosen family. So she and Nick clicked in that loneliness that they felt in this universe. But I would say that I don’t think Luciana is open and friendly at the moment. I think she knows that she needs others to survive, and I think she’s a good person, but don’t think it comes natural to her to be friendly. I know that she’s always had it, but she’s developed these maternal instincts, to protect. She understands that there are others more vulnerable than her. She understands that it’s not all about her. It bothers her when she fails others. It bothers her that she let down people, that people died under her watch. That’s her worst nightmare, and it has happened more than once. That’s different than being friendly – that’s being responsible and that’s being a leader, for sure. It’s putting others first. It’s something that she’s constantly developing, which is really beautiful to watch too, for a woman in the apocalypse.

SH: Fans who are caught up with Fear The Walking Dead will know that Virginia took control of the group at the end of season five of the series. Since then, the group has been slowly torn apart in turned against each other. In what way would you say that Luciana has been affected by all these conflicts taking place between the characters?

Van Redin/AMC

DG: This is her worst nightmare. I mean, if you think about it, the end of season five, I actually give myself to Virginia so the entire group can stay together and find this safe place. I have put myself out in the fire, I was the one that stopped craziness from Virginia, because I understood that if I give myself out, my group will find this safe place. This is the big picture. Again, instincts, right? I have to put myself in the fire, so in the long run, they could build what we’ve been fighting for.

The fact that we’re all spread out, is really my worst nightmare. So to some extent, my intuition was right, but things completely fell apart because I had underestimated Virginia’s intelligence, and her plans. Obviously, as you heard many times, she definitely lied. Now, in the second half, you’re going to have to find out how bad her lies and manipulation are. It’s something that bothers her, and it’s a burden that she’s carrying – how our group has fallen apart because of one person. And to some extent, she feels responsible for that because she’s trying to fix something she created. Something was created that was terrible, which is this woman, kind of taking over our lives. Eventually things will fall apart, but you’re going to have to wait and see how it happens. It is the apocalypse. I feel that one of the most beautiful things about being on the show is that we show you how vulnerable we are, we show our audience how bad we can fail, but we also show how strong we also are and how capable we are of building ourselves up.

SH: Yeah. I think Fear and the main show, The Walking Dead, and everything else in that universe, all shows human nature, but from a different perspective, honestly.

DG: I dislike it so much when people say, “You’re on a zombie show.”

SH: Yeah, I say that all the time. I’m always like, “Why do you call it a zombie show? It’s not a zombie show.”

DG: It really isn’t. The zombies are pure decoration. It becomes more focused on the living than the dead. The dead are dead, and we already know how to deal with them. But it’s like, we’re dealing with the living, and the living come in all kinds of forms and different mentalities of how to survive in this world that we’re confronting. And when people tell me that I’m on a zombie show, I just look at them like, “Have you seen it? Because it’s really about the living, not dead. You should actually worry about the living, not the dead.”

SH: So is there anything you can tell us about what fans can expect from Luciana in the second half of Season 6 of Fear The Walking Dead, once the series returns on April 11th?

DG: I obviously can’t say much, but what I can tell you is that you’re dealing with a woman that has failed many, many times. This last explosion of tank town town was, number one, one of the hardest episodes to shoot; and number two, one of the biggest explosions she’s ever confronted and the biggest loss. I lost everybody except for Wes. It was traumatic, it was awful. I feel like there’s nothing worse that could happen to somebody that could be in charge of others. Others put trust in me to protect them, and I put their lives in danger and I failed. So I feel like what people are going to get, is a result of what is left of this woman that failed miserably at this last attempt to protect others. Her trust is shattered, she’s crumbled. She’s not in the best shape. But as I said before, it’s one of those things that you will have to see how a woman will have to put herself together to deal with what’s left of her. And that has a lot to a lot to carry on. It’s really exciting to be able to play a woman that keeps changing skin, she just keeps going. It’s pretty awesome.

SH: We’ve talked a lot about your role in Fear the Walking Dead, but I know that recently, you’ve been releasing episodes of your podcast. Could you tell us a little bit about the Danay García podcast for any readers who are unfamiliar?

DG: Well, thank you so much for bringing this up. I consider myself an artist, my job is to tell stories for a living. I just met you, Shaun, and I naturally think that you’re awesome, and I want to get to know you because I love connecting with people. This is what I do for a living. I sit down in the park and watch people walk. I love nature, I love people, I really do. The podcast was an opportunity to kind of be in touch with the people I know, with the people that I don’t know, and to learn.

Photographer: Seth Komito, makeup: Texas DeLaRosa, hair: Justin Cantrell

I’m in Austin shooting Fear, I shoot here for most of the year, and my place has a garden. During the lockdown this garden was all over the place. So we all started with doing karaoke and chats with my fans – La Familia Community – they actually give themselves a name! I would go to my garden and take care of the plants, and it was great. But then the next day a deer came and ate it. I was just like, “Oh my gosh, I need to protect this. How can I treat my life like a garden?” You plant things in your life, and you have to take care of it. Just because you plant great things in your life doesn’t mean that you should expect that these things will grow and be beautiful. So I started loving that concept of treating your life like a garden, and I did a live event when I talked to my fans, and by the way, Fear the Walking Dead fans are the best fans in the world! They will give you the best feedback, they want you to succeed, they want to see you grow. It’s one of those things where you just fall in love with the idea of growth together. Because again, this is a show where we’ve been together for six seasons now. It’s a long-term commitment, it’s not “One season and it’s over.” You have seen me grow into who I am today through a character, or in my personal life on social media too. So we have this beautiful bond, and I started the podcast bringing people in that I can collect seeds from – seeds of wisdom.

I just interviewed Chill, he plays Wendell. Chill, represents the disabled community. What he said was so beautiful. So then, I started to get inspired even by my own friends! I absolutely love connecting with Chill. I interviewed Karen David (Grace in Fear the Walking Dead). I mean, it’s funny because I work with them, I am with them on set, but when you sit down to actually have a conversation about contribution and about what you’ve learned about life, and even these weird times that we’re living in, it’s like you get to meet them and then the world gets to meet them on a deeper level. It’s been so beautiful, and so rewarding, and there’s so much growth in it. That’s how we all started. It just came out of a necessity to grow as a human and also my love for people. So it’s just been wonderful.

SH: Is there anything else that you’re working on or that you have coming up that you’d like our readers to know about?

Gravitas Ventures

DG: I do. I actually have two movies coming out, which is crazy! I have one that is coming out this month, it’s called Spiked. It’s a movie that I did with Aidan Quinn and Carlos Gomez. It’s a real true story of a guy who owned a newspaper back in the ’90s. It’s weird because this story happened in the ’90s, and it says a lot about what’s happening now. I play a reporter who finds out about how a border patrol, kills a minor, that was coming up with a union. The city would not let this story out. They kept locking it because it involved a cop, and therefore, unless you have evidence, you cannot release a story. So my job is to report what’s happening, and therefore they stop me.

This movie is such a relevant movie right now because really early on in my career, I just decided I want to be part of projects that are entertaining, but that can educate, that you can also inspire others with it and say, “Hey, we have to do something about this. This is true. This is actually happening.” It’s a story that has education, it’s entertaining, and it also inspires you to do something or to be aware. So that is the movie, Spiked.

The other movie that I have coming up in the summer, is called Baby Money. Baby Money is a completely different story, it’s more like a comedy/drama. Basically, it’s about my character who gets pregnant, and I have to find the money for the baby. Obviously, everything goes wrong. I turn out to be a runaway car, like some people are stealing something and I happened to be with this big belly, and everything goes wrong. Don’t ever trust a nine months pregnant woman, to be your runaway car! But this desperation to kind of find the money for the baby is what really leads the movie, it’s this woman wanting to survive, this woman wanting to have the best start for her child, at any cost. It’s a woman’s love. So, that’s coming out in the summer.

So yeah, those two projects are up and running, on the way to being premiered. And on a personal level, now that I’m taking a break from the walkers and the apocalypse, it’s just really nice to double down with a podcast and writing projects too. And spending time with my puppy! So that’s exciting.

Fear the Walking Dead will return on April 11th on AMC, and on April 4th on AMC+. Danay García can be found on Twitter and Instagram @danaygarcia1.

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