BELLO WATCH: The Walking Dead’s Michael Traynor


To say that The Walking Dead is a worldwide phenomenon is an understatement, what is it like to join a project of that magnitude mid-stream?
It’s the television equivalent to Big Wave Surfing — Exciting as all hell, with this constantly looming threat of death at anytime. It’s truly exhilarating to be a small, cowardly part of it. To talk about how this show has been received, well, it’s simply amazing — future scholars of television will speak of it as one of the last great Mass Media events. I’m certain of it. And I speak as one of the ensorcelled masses. Yet there’s also a phenomenal sense of scale to how the show gets made, not just it’s reception. My first day was one of the first, if not THE first day of filming behind the walls of Alexandria — and I had just gotten off the plane; no sleep, jazzed up on adrenaline — and we’re behind these massive built-just-for-this-show walls! I’m talking 30 feet tall, surrounding an entire neighborhood! The scope of it all. Then the gate opens, and in walks Rick and that rag-tag family of heroes. Sometimes, you have to keep that internal grin on lockdown…because, as phenomenal as it is, there’s no grinning on The Walking Dead.

Michael Traynor as Nicholas and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Michael Traynor as Nicholas and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 12 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

What can we look forward to with your character this season?
A continuation of uncertainty and complexity. At least, that’s what Scott Gimple wrote! Whether I deliver on that is a different question. At the end of Season 5, we saw Nicholas admit to Glenn that he’s just not able to handle the rigors and terrors of life beyond the walls — and I think that puts him in a dangerous situation. Does he follow that confession with a desire to find his rightful place in the background of Alexandria, or does it drive him to want to lash out at those who forced him to confront his inadequacies? It’s a great starting point. I couldn’t be more excited to take all the turns and twists that the writers throw at Nicholas.

Your resume is stocked pretty heavily with dramas, The Walking Dead, Rectify (another AMAZING series), The Fosters. Is that a conscience choice?
Yes. I hate to laugh. NEXT QUESTION!
…I kid, I kid. Nope, no conscience choice. Just the luck of the ol’ Comedy/Tragedy coin toss. Although, if at any point you wanted to be drama heavy on your résumé, now is the time to do it. Just so many good one hour dramas out there. My DVR is constantly full.

Is the preparation any different when working on a series that takes place in the world of sci-fi vs. one that takes place in reality?
I can’t speak to other shows, but not on The Walking Dead. The producers and directors want it to feel like richly dimensional human beings acting in a way that is consistent with the situations they find themselves in. The Walkers are a threat that you have to navigate, just like sharks or a hurricane would be in a story set out at sea. You start with how you’d handle it, then filter that through the words and actions of your character. Also, I just created another terribly awesome movie franchise — Shark-icane. Move over, Shark-nado.

Please share with our readers your favorite book, movie and/or TV show and song!
Book: Lord of the Rings…Elves and swords, man. Any day. All day.
Movie: Joe Vs The Volcano…The best fable ever filmed!
TV Show: I really, really like watching old episodes of M*A*S*H. Although my new addiction is Penny Dreadful.
Song: A Kiss To Build A Dream On…a super oldie, but a super goodie.

Lastly, what is one thing that you can share with the readers that they would be surprised to know?
That I’m, actually, just under 7 feet tall. Now, that would be a total lie…but they’d be surprised to hear it.


PHOTOGRAPHY: Marc Cartwright

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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