On AMC’s postapocalyptic romp The Walking Dead, Lauren Cohan plays Maggie Greene, a fetching farmer’s daughter with a penchant for spilling zombie brains when it’s called for (and it’s pretty much always called for). In the flesh Lauren trades her Southern twang for an English accent but doesn’t sacrifice any of the ass-kicking intensity and fiery good looks that made us fall for her at first glance. Or first impalement, really. And that’s why it’s the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine.
What’s your favorite walker slaying?
Yeah, probably the machete under the guy’s chin on the riot-gear walker, at the beginning of Season 3—I like that one. I get to deal with hordes of walkers this season. It’s been all about speed and accuracy, and that’s really been my favorite. You just use any implement you can find, and you become so quick and ruthless. That’s a lot of fun.
Are you better equipped than most to handle the zombie apocalypse?
Than most people in the world? Yes, definitely. I mean, I don’t know if it will be death by zombie in the end, but if it is I think I could probably do it.
How much about the show’s future do the writers let you in on beforehand?
The reins have definitely become much tighter as we’ve progressed through the show. I remember in the second season getting four or five scripts when I first started. But I don’t work that way, because you get too wrapped up in where you’re headed, and it’s hard to be where you are. So the way we have it now is I have a very loose idea of my character’s arc for the season. When we get scripts—Steven Yeun and I—whoever finishes the script first calls the other and goes, “Can you believe that happens in the end?!” and the other goes, "Ah, fuck you!" So we have spoilers within the cast as well.
How easy is it for you to go from your natural English accent to the Southern accent you use for your character, Maggie? And are people ever surprised by it?
I almost want to stay in an American accent all the time. I’m originally American, so it’s not actually that difficult. When people find out I grew up in England, I feel like I have to give a huge explanation. As soon as I’m on set, I’m very serious, and it’s very easy to go back into Maggie.
In what ways do you feel you’re similar to Maggie?
Maggie is very optimistic and active. I’m very sporty myself. I like horses. I’d like to think I’m pretty grounded, and I think Maggie is a pretty honest laborer as well. She’s grown up in this house working on this farm. I definitely envy a lot of Maggie’s life—it’s really cool. Maybe if I had grown up on a farm I wouldn’t feel that way.
What special skill do you have that nobody knows about?
Swimming! I was a competitive swimmer from age six to about 17. Swimming and singing, I guess. They’re not really apocalypse skills, but that’s OK.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
Jeff Bridges. It’s not a romantic crush; it’s just kind of an everything crush. I love him as an actor, I love his voice, I love his smile. OK, now it sounds romantic—but it’s not!
What is your biggest turn-on?
Respectfulness—someone who’s strong and confident enough in himself to treat you well. I think that comes from a guy who respects himself, too. I mean, when you meet somebody, you want to think about who they are and how they would raise a kid, I guess. Like Jeff Bridges! [laughs]
What is the worst pickup line?
It’s somebody not being personal. The worst pickup line is any pickup line, I think.
What gets you in the mood quickly?
Oh, my God. It’s Maxim; it’s OK. I’m impulsive—let’s just leave it at that.
Season 4 of The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.
Photos by Harper Smith | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013