I recently had the opportunity to talk with Steven Yeun about Glenn and the Walking Dead. He’s a super busy guy, but I look forward to having a longer sit-down chat with him in the near future, as well as more TWD cast members. There’s a bit of a spoiler below if you haven’t read past issue 100 of the comic, but it’s called out clearly.
Let’s set the way-back machine to the beginning of your time with the show: When you auditioned for The Walking Dead, were you familiar with the comic? Did you know what you were getting into?
I was familiar. My friend Andy Lee put me on to it around 2005. I picked it up for a bit but then I didn’t continue reading. Not for lack of great story, but for lack of income. I had just moved to Chicago around that time and I was spending a lot of “free reading time” at Barnes and Nobles. It’s crazy how that story came around for me and how it’s panned out.
How much of you is in Glenn? Did you find it pretty easy to slip into that character?
Glenn is me at a younger age. I think I’m not as extreme as Glenn, meaning that I’m not really meek nor am I really vengeful. I stay more in the middle. Glenn relates to me in a way where I see the growth of a boy into a man.
Is there a point for you personally when you realized “woah, The Walking Dead is getting HUGE?”
I still don’t fully understand it. I think lately as the shows become even more popular, I’ve been getting stopped in the streets a lot more. So it’s starting to become a little crazy, but overall I think it’s still pretty chill.
Glenn used to deliver pizzas. What’s the worst job you ever had?
I used to work at a nursing home. I wasn’t the worst job because of the people, but just because of the things I had to do. Also, it’s pretty depressing in there. I made friends with this sweet old woman for a month while I was working and I left after the summer rotation. I later went back to see her and she had passed away. It’s just an odd scenario for a 14 year old kid to be in. To not know the world and be around people who know the world so much yet can’t function in it. Very strange.
In this second half of the season with Rick a little off (to put it mildly) we’ve seen Glenn attempt to step into that leadership role. Do you think that’s something Glenn’s suited to, or is he a bit out of his depth?
I think Glenn is suited to become a leader, but maybe not necessarily at this point and not in this way. I think the place where he’s coming from is very impassioned and foolhardy so at this point he’s not really going to make the right choices. As he grows, however, I think Glenn will realize that he has the courage to be a natural leader.
Speaking of Rick’s mental state, you have a BS in Psychology. You ever give any tips on mental disorders to your fellow actors? Is there a DSM IV on set?
Haha, yes I do have a degree in Psych. I do not have a DSM IV though. I loved Abnormal Psychology. Not just for the interesting subject matter but also because it was fun to see how symptoms I had in the DSM IV. Then again, I guess that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
[SPOILER STARTS RIGHT HERE!!!]
Venturing a bit into super spoiler territory for some people, how did you feel when you first read issue 100? Were you even more gutted than most readers?
Issue 100 was great. I wasn’t really gutted, it’s cool to know an end and also the show doesn’t necessarily go exact with the comic. As for the comic just on it’s own, it’s an incredible moment. The speed and effortlessness it takes to kill Glenn both within the reality of the comic and also from the outside perspective, story wise, is so brutal. I loved it.
You’re in a zombie apocalypse. What’s your go-to weapon and why?
Axe. Silent but deadly. I guess that could be a fart as well.
Truer words were never spoken.
Thanks so much to Steven for his time! More soon!
You can follow Steven on Twitter.