I've been pretty up front about how much I've disliked Lori's character on The Walking Dead. I mean, during the entire first two seasons, pretty much, I actively wished that she would fall in a well and be eaten by that disgusting waterlogged blob-zombie from Hershel's farm.
I have felt differently about her during this season, though. She's been a far more sympathetic character, even saddled with that ridiculous stunt belly. We may have fast-forwarded past a lot of important story between season 2 and 3, but for the two most irritating characters -- Lori and Carl -- the results definitely paid off.
Now that we've seen last week's episode (and seriously, CLICK AWAY NOW if you haven't, because I'm about to get into MAJOR SPOILER TERRITORY), let's check in with the actress who plays Lori, Sarah Wayne Callies. She's got quite a bit to say about what went down last Sunday:
On why Lori made the decision to sacrifice herself for the baby's sake:
She’s providing the most powerful symbol of hope and renewal that exists — which is this idea that life can go on and can grow, even in the midst of the end of the world. She was also losing about a cup of blood a minute. And if you can’t deliver the baby and you can’t stop the bleeding then she’s dying one way or the other. As soon as the blood hit Maggie’s hand Lori knows she’s not leaving the boiler room. And if she dies and the baby dies then the baby turns. So then someone’s going to have to put a bullet in that baby. She realizes that one of them could potentially come out of this alive or they could both die for sure. And given how hard Rick has worked to protect Lori and the baby, the greatest gift she can give him at that point is at least the success with the baby. He did it. He did it. He got her to term; he kept the baby alive.
See, this is interesting for me to read because I thought it was not at ALL clear in the scene that Lori was dealing with a deadly situation either way. Maybe because it all happened so fast, but it played out like: I'm in labor! I'm bleeding! Welp, better hack me open -- all in the space of like three minutes. So it kind of came off like a rushed decision with irreversible consequences, but this explanation makes more sense.
On how she actually had to argue for her own death on the show:
Frank [Darabont] and I talked a lot about the necessity of Lori dying, and we fought about it. I had spoken to Frank about that at a certain point and he goes: 'I don't need to kill you.' And I said: 'With all due respect, sir, yes you do.' When I spoke to Glen [Mazzara] in November of last year, there was a different timeline. And when I talked with them in March, they had moved it to episode four. I don't know why. It felt like a whiny question [to ask]. All I said was: 'Yes, sir. Send me the script. I'll make it the best that I can.'
On how the final dialogue between her and Carl is based on showrunner Glen Mazarra thinking about his own dying mother:
Some of the things that I put in there came from things that I heard him say that he hadn’t put into the script. I just thought, it belongs there. Like “You’re the best thing I ever did.” I heard him say that, but it wasn’t in the script and I thought, that’s how parents feel.
How she emotionally prepared herself for the scene:
I think in a way the preparation for that scene was the two-and-a-half seasons I shot before it. I got that script, I read it once, and it took me a half-hour to recover. I knew how it was going to happen, but you read the words and go “Argh! Well, f—, there’s that.” And then I just figured you can’t plan that. The worst thing you can do is get in your own way and think about it too much. (...) Chandler and I really did not rehearse the scene until we just sort of got there. And we all decided we all had so many emotions in our hearts right now, so let’s give ourselves permission to be really raw and be really honest with each other even though it’s going to hurt. That’s probably the best way to get this done.
On Lori's last words, "Goodnight, love."
When we shot the first episode of the season, and Lori comes to Rick after the campfire and says, “We got to get the house in order,” he walks off into the night. Just ad-libbing on the day, the last time we shot it, I said “Goodnight, love.” And they had cut before I said it. And Andy turned around and said, “What did you just say to me?” I said, “Goodnight, love.” And he said, “That’s the most heartbreaking thing I think I’ve ever heard you say.” And it wasn’t on camera and we didn’t want to do it again because it wasn’t a line in the script. And then when we were shooting this last scene, so much of her concern is for Rick because she knows Carl is going to be fine. She knows he’ll heal, but she’s terrified of the rabbit hole that losing her is going to send Rick down. And so I think, to me, that moment was for Rick, as in I hope somewhere in your heart you can just heal. I mean, what else is there to say? It’s over. It’s okay. Let it be okay.
On what she'll miss about the show:
Lori Grimes has a fire and a ferocity to her that I have absolutely loved. When we were shooting this last episode, Andy and I were looking at each other through a fence. We didn’t consider it a scene until we were shooting it and we realized it was going to be the last time that Rick and Lori Grimes are ever together. And we both just lost it. We finished the scene and we walked towards each other, met in the middle of the field and just stood there weeping for a little bit. Everyone was amazing and backed off and gave us our space and nobody rushed us out of it. And while I’ll miss Andy, we talk every week and we’ll work together again somewhere, somehow. We’re done with Rick and Lori, though, and that’s the hardest part. I won’t see Rick Grimes again. And he won’t see his wife again. They never even got to say I’m sorry. That breaks my heart. I wanted a better ending for them. Not a better ending like, I wish the writers had written something better. I wanted them to have a happy ending. But of course, they didn’t. It’s The Walking Dead. There are no happy endings.
Well. Jesus. Regardless of how I felt about Lori during seasons one and two, I'm somehow sitting here SNIFFLING like a giant WUSS after reading all that. What an amazing backstory. Best of luck to the heartfelt and eloquent Sarah Wayne Callies on whatever she does next.
What do you think about this behind-the-scenes look at Lori?
Image via AMC