SPOILERS if you haven’t watch Episode 508: Coda!
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emily Kinney (Beth) discussed how she received the news that her character’s time was up, her last day of filming and what she’ll miss most.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me how and when you got the bad news.
EMILY KINNEY: The season finale was episode 508 and I found out during 507. So I found out a few hours before they released the script to everyone.
Showrunner Scott Gimple gave you the call?
I actually talked to him in person.
So did you go then tell your castmates or did they find out on their own?
All I know is how I found out, which is that day a few hours before the script came out. So different people from the cast reached out to me after that and that was really nice.
Tell me about that. What was it like when the reactions from cast started coming in?
They seemed surprised too. It’s always really hard. We’ve worked together for years now. So, it’s really sad.
I remember Scott Wilson told me he tried to talk them out of it at first for a minute when Gimple told him he was being killed off. Was there any of that on your end trying to plead your case?
No, I didn’t really think of that. I was more having a million things running through my head. I was like, oh, I have this apartment here. It was like a million things. I don’t know if I was worried about trying to…I don’t know. I was just really upset. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wasn’t trying to pitch anything to the writers at that point.
It’s interesting what you’re saying because that’s not something we think about a lot — all the simple logistics involved in uprooting or changing your life. I remember talking to you a few months ago and you talking about being on this show and always wondering about things like “Should I buy this table for my Atlanta apartment or will I not be around to enjoy it?”
Yeah, I think as actors we are a little conditioned to think like, okay, you do a job and the job ends — it’s like freelance. You go to the next job. But I have been working on this show now for years and it definitely has been an anchor in my life. I schedule other things around the shooting schedule and all these people have become really good friends and so of course I am sad to leave the character behind and then there’s another part of me that is excited that I can play some new characters, and that’s exciting. But there’s also the life stuff, like, Oh, I have to get rid of my apartment. I have to figure out what to do with my cable! What does this mean for me and my schedule? And oh, but there are all these people and I want to see them because it’s my last chance. And then also it’s my last chance to give a really kick-ass performance so I really want to work on my scenes. I really want to dig in. So there’s a lot going on in your head any time that you lose a job but are also trying to give a great performance.
Tell me about your last day of filming.
We didn’t shoot it in order so some of those scenes with everyone where Beth gets shot in the hall and then going outside — those was shot before some of the more intimate scenes or more 1-on-1 scenes with me and Dawn. That was later. But those scenes with the big group, those are long days because you’re getting coverage of so many different people. And of course, there is fight choreography with the gunshots and stuff. So they are long days. I was happy to have those days with my friends. I’m glad I didn’t die in episode 4 and have it be Beth isolated. So it was fun to have those days back shooting with the whole group and being able to hang out with everyone on set even though it was so sad. And then honestly, I was thankful to kind of end that journey working on really good scene work. I loved working with Christine Woods [who played Dawn]. Sometimes the big moments like that last scene where I get shot — as exciting as those moments are, I really love just coming to set and working on a scene and having a conversation with someone and making it feel real. I was thankful I was able to not end on days where I was just laying around bloody. I got to work, you know?
And if you haven’t already, watch the Making of Episode 508 video!