What to Watch

What to Watch with The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne

“No one is safe” in season 8, says TWD’s Jesus — who loves Stranger Things, just like us.

by | August 22, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by AMC)

Although Tom Payne’s day job requires him to be knee-deep in zombies and murderous Saviors, when it’s time to unwind and watch some TV, The Walking Dead actor’s tastes are very eclectic.

When we first met Payne as Jesus in season 6, he seemed too good to be true — but it was quickly apparent that the man lived up to his nickname with an even hand and kind heart. He helped strengthen the Hilltop community by supporting Maggie (Lauren Cohan), bolstering her confidence to take control and oust the ineffective Gregory (Xander Berkeley) and encouraging the survivors to band together with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the others in order to defeat Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Ahead of The Walking Dead Season 7’s DVD and Blu-ray release on August 22 and its season 8 premiere on October 22, Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the British actor to find out what he watches on his down time. Plus, he also sheds some light on what’s going to happen when the gang goes to war with Negan in season 8.


WHAT’S APPOINTMENT VIEWING FOR YOU?

(Photo by HBO)

I’ve been watching [the HBO documentary miniseries] The Defiant Ones. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and how they came together. I like stuff that has a bit of history in it and education. Also, in my business, you have to be very positive and open to situations, and it’s fun to watch people who are in similar creative industries and being successful at it. You have to be a certain type of person to be as successful as Jimmy or Dre, so it was cool and inspiring to watch.


WHAT’S ON YOUR DVR?

(Photo by HBO)

True Detective. The first season I still haven’t gotten around to watching because I know it takes a bit of time, so I want to be in the right frame of mind. But it’s definitely something there, waiting for me to watch.


WHAT’S ON YOUR STREAMING QUEUE?

(Photo by Netflix)

There’s a show out of England, which changed its name when it came over here, called Lovesick. It’s on Netflix. In England, it was called Scrotal Recall. It’s a silly premise but it works really well, about a guy who finds out he has an STD and he has to go through all of the people he has been with in the past and call them. Each episode is based on a call with a different girl and then also what’s going on in his life. It’s very British, first of all, so it’s very nice for me to watch being over here. It’s very British humor and has hysterical moments. I have a friend of mine, Dan Ings, who is one of the leads in it, who lived with me a bit in Los Angeles. He’s just really great in it. Yeah, Lovesick on Netflix, a half hour comedy that’s really fun, silly and great to laugh along to.


WHAT’S COMING SOON THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT?

(Photo by Netflix)

The last show I watched because it was so fun, involving, and nostalgic was Stranger Things. I’m excited for the next season of that. I trust them, but I hope they don’t mess what made the first one so special. I do think what made it so special was the nostalgia aspect of the whole thing, the tone. When I was a kid, I was a big X-Files fan, and it has a bit of that in there — The Goonies and all those ’80s things you really liked. I used to watch The Outer Limits as a kid, too. [Stranger Things] just had all these flavors of things I really enjoyed when I was younger.


(Photo by AMC)

Kit Bowen for Rotten Tomatoes: In The Walking Dead, how much responsibility did you feel to get the character of Jesus right?

Tom Payne: Quite a lot, actually. The comic book fans were the ones I was most nervous about — for silly reasons, really. I’m not as tall as the guy in the comic books and maybe not as brawny, but they do a little remix on the characters before they come on the show. When he comes into the comic books, he’s kind of a finished character. He comes in and that’s who Jesus is. But what I like is on the show, we’ve definitely seen some growth with the character and who he is to become. From when he first came in to what we are shooting right now there’s a definite progression, which has been really nice to show – to give a bit more depth to the character.

Like being “Hand of the Queen,” so to speak, to Maggie?

Payne: Aha, that’s great! I like that. That’s a role in which [Jesus] feels comfortable. I think things have changed, where he might not necessarily have respected Gregory. I can pretty certainly say he didn’t. That’s a lot of the reason why he’d spend a lot of time outside the walls, going on scouting missions and such. He couldn’t quite stomach Gregory. Now, he’s much more inclined to spend time at the Hilltop and work with Maggie to make the place better. So that’s definitely a comfortable position for him to be in, and he will assist her in any way he can for the good of the community.

What was the atmosphere like on the set when you finally all came together to fight Negan?

Payne: It was amazing. I know Andy [Andrew Lincoln] was super excited and super happy to finally to be taking the fight back. Everyone was. Last season, everyone was all split up, so people are back together, working for a common purpose. So yeah, it’s exciting because last season everyone was so beaten down. It was nice to be on a more positive trajectory, like, “Now we are going to enact our plan.” It was very cool.

What can we expect from Jesus in the next season?

Payne: The war is happening. The war has started. Everyone will take different opinions on different situations that arise during the war. Jesus has a very strong moral compass, moral code, and there are situations that arise and there may be differences of opinion on the best way to go forward. So I think Jesus will be in different situations where he has to stick up for what he believes in.

(Photo by AMC)

How will things escalate in season 8?

Payne: The stakes are higher. If you enter into a situation where you’re committing to war, then you recognize that you have to throw everything into it. And that’s what everyone is committed to do. With that comes victories but also losses. As much as we are taking the fight back, there are things that aren’t necessarily going our way. There’s ebbs and flows within the whole situation. War is a very messy and scary thing, but everyone believes so much in what could happen after that they are willing to commit to that. They’ve come this far and they’ve been beaten down so much in the past that they recognize they don’t want to live in a world with Negan’s rules. They’d much rather live in a different place.

It sounds like it’s going to be pretty action-packed right from the start.

Payne: Yeah, the first four episodes — which we were told before we started shooting but we couldn’t believe it — have even more action than the one before. It just gets bigger and bigger. Just from a shooting thing and an acting thing, there was a lot to do. Anyone who thought last season was too hard and maybe stopped watching, just felt like it was too bleak, the advent of season 8, there’s some light. I think people could watch season 7 knowing that 8 is coming. We’re taking the fight back.

And there’s going to be sadness, too?

Payne: Like I said, there are big cheering moments but also big heart-stopping moments. No one is safe, more so in this season than any other season, I think. I’ve always said that’s one of the show’s greatest strengths. There shouldn’t be any golden geese, and it can be anyone at any time. Might be me, might be someone who has been there for years. It’s no fun if everyone is invincible. I know this is a little deep, but I’ve said this about the show for awhile: It’s life, just made more apparent. The real aspect of the show is that death lurks around every corner and it does for us in real life as well. It’s a TV show, but it’s not that far away from life. The job of fantasy is to show you real-life situations that are slightly heightened.

More importantly, when and if you do leave the show, how excited are you to cut your hair?

Payne: [Laughs] Very. Very excited to cut my hair. It’s going to be a lot grayer, I think. When I cut my hair, you’re going to be able to see my gray more. I’ll look completely different. I’ll do it in stages, I think. I don’t want to shock anyone too much.

The Walking Dead  season 8 premieres October 22 on AMC; season 7 is now available on Blue-ray, DVD, and streaming.


Tag Cloud

based on movie mission: impossible animated DC streaming service Television Critics Association spanish language Crackle Reality Apple TBS Pride Month Holidays video History rotten movies we love twilight San Diego Comic-Con Biopics mutant toronto Nickelodeon PlayStation Binge Guide crime thriller Avengers 4/20 period drama Travel Channel Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Cosplay blockbuster 20th Century Fox Mary Tyler Moore Esquire 24 frames Amazon south america MCU The Arrangement 2016 Apple TV+ crime breaking bad Anna Paquin Musical Film Festival Paramount Network Cartoon Network child's play canceled franchise Fox News renewed TV shows Photos Sony Pictures ESPN true crime romance Shondaland Spike best toy story cops quibi indie TIFF Comics on TV Marvel USA Network MTV TNT spider-man Lucasfilm hollywood obituary Rocky YouTube Premium Amazon Studios Set visit WarnerMedia vampires 2020 The CW Disney Channel BAFTA Winter TV Acorn TV psycho Heroines richard e. Grant spinoff Music 007 Stephen King discovery indiana jones Shudder sequel Spring TV Columbia Pictures Kids & Family dc First Reviews scary movies The Walking Dead revenge serial killer Dark Horse Comics SXSW Epix Teen stoner Rocketman Spectrum Originals National Geographic Discovery Channel nbcuniversal films Mindy Kaling Infographic Marvel Studios asian-american Comedy Central sports Rock cars Fantasy documentaries political drama Interview dramedy ABC Adult Swim CW Seed Family satire Animation concert Premiere Dates Peacock SundanceTV war justice league E! worst movies Bravo space comics Winners Watching Series directors Election crime drama police drama teaser Nominations SDCC Pirates The Purge hispanic GoT disaster Country El Rey ghosts HBO Go New York Comic Con Amazon Prime Pet Sematary Hear Us Out DC Comics Mudbound Disney streaming service criterion BET Awards cancelled TV shows Britbox zombies Opinion FOX anime Black History Month Super Bowl Awards Tour mockumentary Lifetime Action Sundance Now DGA Brie Larson Extras Song of Ice and Fire Warner Bros. stop motion See It Skip It Grammys a nightmare on elm street Ellie Kemper HBO Max theme song Starz television die hard Women's History Month technology critics Disney nature festivals Drama cartoon Hallmark reboot Academy Awards Awards Elton John Trophy Talk Hallmark Christmas movies TLC superhero President transformers TCA travel Tomatazos rotten Superheroe Masterpiece dragons Disney Plus Food Network Rom-Com LGBTQ Sundance Film TV Valentine's Day Certified Fresh NYCC documentary stand-up comedy versus canceled TV shows PaleyFest Horror strong female leads X-Men award winner MSNBC USA Countdown PBS 21st Century Fox Summer Cannes cinemax hist screenings FXX football LGBT AMC Oscars romantic comedy nfl Captain marvel spy thriller Nat Geo Classic Film singing competition cats Sneak Peek DirecTV binge sitcom Writers Guild of America green book Turner Vudu Musicals IFC Quiz Polls and Games series OneApp E3 HBO joker sequels remakes Trailer FX Red Carpet harry potter latino comic game show screen actors guild spain Trivia venice medical drama Superheroes Podcast dark natural history fast and furious BBC psychological thriller YouTube Best and Worst 2019 Character Guide Hulu Christmas 2015 Walt Disney Pictures VOD adaptation aliens Funimation laika zombie Comedy Crunchyroll unscripted Endgame GIFs ratings sag awards zero dark thirty TCA 2017 Universal Lionsgate Tumblr A24 Reality Competition Arrowverse Netflix Christmas movies dceu Mystery parents Tarantino Freeform TCA Awards 72 Emmy Awards name the review WGN reviews Pop CMT scorecard politics historical drama emmy awards Logo composers Baby Yoda dogs Turner Classic Movies Paramount A&E movie BET chucky Western supernatural Sci-Fi Star Wars TCA Winter 2020 American Society of Cinematographers cults book game of thrones children's TV witnail RT21 facebook news Television Academy Thanksgiving Martial Arts batman ABC Family The Witch CBS Creative Arts Emmys Mary poppins tv talk CNN cancelled classics VICE kids diversity comiccon worst crossover blaxploitation ITV Video Games docudrama all-time TruTV Disney+ Disney Plus Mary Poppins Returns Black Mirror movies TV renewals christmas movies FX on Hulu 2017 NBC VH1 cooking Marathons 45 video on demand DC Universe Calendar cancelled television Pixar Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Television Pop TV elevated horror Toys BBC One Ghostbusters Emmys Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt anthology golden globes CBS All Access YA miniseries science fiction Holiday 71st Emmy Awards universal monsters Fall TV Schedule independent RT History halloween casting robots 2018 foreign jamie lee curtis Comic Book BBC America Emmy Nominations Box Office social media finale festival Star Trek Amazon Prime Video Syfy Sundance TV IFC Films thriller free movies streaming boxoffice Year in Review YouTube Red GLAAD what to watch Showtime TCM Chernobyl adventure OWN APB cancelled TV series biography comedies slashers Apple TV Plus Ovation Tubi werewolf TV Land Netflix doctor who talk show First Look