Hal Cumpston unpacks Silas in ‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’

Provided by AMC
Provided by AMC

Hal Cumpston stars as the shy and misunderstood Silas in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. 

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 Hal!

What was it like stepping into the world of The Walking Dead?

Hal: Yeah, it was insane. I mean, this was my first American audition, so my life was completely different. I was turning up and I had my own trailer, there were tons of people on set, there was a plane crashing into the street in the first episode on the first day of shooting, and all this stuff, like, it was incredible. It wasn’t even really that overwhelming as well just because everyone was so nice and welcoming and were in this environment where they just wanted the best product as opposed to it being scary. And I was scared that I’m gonna get in trouble if I didn’t do well and all these things, but it was just so much fun. It was extremely surreal. I couldn’t figure out how I bluffed my way into such a situation. 

Silas has this really huge emotional journey throughout this first season. How did you get in the mindset to do some of those really tough scenes?

Hal: It was such a long time ago now that I can’t remember the exact triggers or whatever I used. Maybe it’s like toxic masculinity. But I find it a lot easier to go from zero to 100 in terms of like, craziness and aggression than I do to be able to make myself cry. So I think it was well suited that I had a character that was really nice and low status and caring, but then had this switch where every now and then he could get absolutely mad and be full of aggression. But I mean, I would have probably been a bit more scared if I had a bunch of emotional scenes that required me to cry. But asked me to go crazy and yell and kill a zombie, that’s an easier thing to do. 

Silas also has a few really big decisions that he makes throughout the season, what do you think drives him in making these decisions?

Hal: Well, I guess it’s different reasons for what drives all his decisions, I guess. He is just in a very confusing, apocalyptic world, but he still just tries to keep a clear set of rules for a moral code that I think he acts on but depending on the situation, different things drive him to do different stuff, I guess. Also, the other thing is that he has this untameable aggression that can come out at times where, obviously, that can drive him to do something that maybe doesn’t really follow his set of morals.

Provided by AMC
Do you think that Silas believes that he can be forgiven?

Hal: I mean, I don’t know. I think he definitely doesn’t. I think Silas’s mind, at times, isn’t a place you’d want to hang out in. I mean, some pretty dark things going on in there. But I think he’s starting to learn that he can be a little bit easier on himself and not treat himself the way his dad and mother had treated him. I think he’s sort of having to relearn that he has to treat himself a little bit better. And he’s probably basing that off seeing how Iris, Hope and Elton treat him because he really respects their way of life more than his own. I think he is getting into a state where he’s more of a normal human that doesn’t have so much self hatred or uncertainty about himself.

What does it mean to Silas that he has this group of friends that really believe in him and accept him?

Hal: I guess in regards to, at the start of the show, he’s just sort of empowered by everyone to like, completely come out of his shell. He’s not even really like a normal person before, he’s just that janitor that doesn’t talk to anyone with these conspiracy theories flying around about what he’s done. Even though what he has done is pretty graphic, the theories probably enlarged it and made it 10 times worse. Again, he respects his friends’ opinions more than he does his own. I think that only makes it more excruciating for him later in the season, when he doesn’t know if he’s a monster or not and feels like he’s betrayed them. And I think it just definitely makes it much worse that he’s been offered this different life where happiness and friends and strong connections with other people, even though inside the community, it definitely sounds a whole lot safer, his life is very solitary, in comparison to being out there and the zombie apocalypse where he has friends and family. 

Silas always has headphones with him. Were you listening to music or a podcast or anything when you had them? 

Hal: No, the headphones didn’t even work. I think it would have been a little bit distracting if I were listening to a podcast or whatever, while wearing those headphones. 

That’s fair. What do you think it means that he leaves them behind when he goes off on his own? 

Hal: I just don’t think that he thinks he deserves anything, let alone his headphones. It’s part of the thing that he’s trying to become, he’s trying to get back into desensitizing himself. I think there’s so much going on in his head, so he just has to rid himself of all nice things, including his friendships because he’s in a state where he goes, ‘I am this terrible monster.’

What can you say about Season Two? 

Hal: … I have no idea what I can say. It’s been super fun filming it, again it’s the same feeling, like how did I trick them into letting me be on this show. It’s a ridiculously cool thing to be a part of. Yeah, I mean, it’s awesome. Get ready for some more interesting, crazy stuff. I think if you liked season one, you’re going to LOVE season two.

Provided by AMC
The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 1 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.