Australian-born actress Alycia Debnam-Carey’s star is on the rise.
The 25-year-old’s claim to fame came on the sci-fi TV show The 100, where she played Commander Lexa and she’s since grown a huge online following and fanbase starring as Alicia Clark in Fear The Walking Dead.
Ahead of the series’ fifth season premiere on SoHo2 on June 9, Lucy Ewen met Alycia on set in Austin, Texas to talk to her about her leap from Down Under to Hollywood.
Read on to find out more about life on the show, female characters and how she relaxes when she’s not busy fighting zombies:
Miss FQ: Fear The Walking Dead is back! What can we expect from the upcoming season?
Alycia: Everything’s just become more epic. We’ve got huge set ups, big stunt sequences. There’s smoke and fire and there’s a plane crash – there’s so much going on, it’s awesome!
This season, the group’s mission is to “help others”. How will human survivors respond to that kindness?
I think everyone’s suspicious of one another. You haven’t made it this far out of luck and kindness – you’ve been guarded and sharp and aggressive. There’s got to be something more hopeful and optimistic to look forward to. There cannot just be this heartbreaking, depressing, despairing destruction. It’s gotta be more. So that’s where it’s headed and it’s a great way to see our characters have to grow mentally and emotionally through that journey.
You’ve really grown up and evolved on this series – how have you done that?
It’s been very rewarding. Having to start off a show being a teenager and then really go through to young womanhood with this character is very special. What I made a real choice to try and do though is that while she deals with so much death and destruction and although she’s become this warrior, a lot of her softness and emotional transparency is still sort of there.
Women are really stepping up in the entertainment industry. How important is female empowerment in this series?
Maggie Grace [Alycia’s famous co-star] and I were talking about this yesterday! What’s really wonderful is we’ve got a lot of women on this show who all portray what is thought of as a “strong woman” differently. It’s becoming this buzzword at the moment: a “badass” or a “powerful woman” or “I’m so excited to play a strong female lead”, and the reality of it is it’s just actually seeing a prevalence of female storylines and women at the helm of these stories more often. This show allows us to see more women characters which showcases their stories and lets you see them as fully fleshed characters. You’re not holding them back.
The women in this show don’t follow a mould, so to speak?
Maggie [Grace] and I were saying what’s very interesting is you know the “Bechdel Scale” – the presence of females and what they talk about in film and TV shows – our show breaks that mould so many times. There are numerous episodes where it’s all female characters talking to one other about life, survival and getting caught and it’s really special to be able to be on a show where that is such a feature.
Are you a fighter like your character?
I’m so not the kind of killing machine that she is! I’m a kitten! In my personal life, I’m very opposite. Even when it became spring here [in Austin] I was like, “oh my god, guys look at all the flowers! Can I put them in my hair?!” And they were like: “no you need to be serious, here’s your weapon!” And I’m like: “I don’t wanna! Let me roll in the hills!” Because of that, it makes it easier to disconnect and for it to be a completely different thing. I’m probably far more similar to first season Alicia – normal Alicia!
Speaking of disconnecting, how do you prepare for such heavy subject matter? We recall the famous basement scene last series where you were praised for your performance…
It’s hard doing a lot of those scenes and that in particular was quite difficult because thematically it was confronting, especially having to work with a young child and have such graphic violent subject matter around it. So we always try and make sure everyone’s feeling comfortable. I know it’s probably different for every actor. It’s storytelling and we always want to try and explore these moments that are extreme. It’s very weird. The mindset of an actor is complicated. There is some excitement when you get to explore extreme emotions as an actor. But it’s definitely tough.
What do you make time for when you’re not filming?
What do you watch?
You know, because we live and breathe so much of our show all the time, in our offtime I’m like “GIVE ME ANYTHING OTHER! Give me total glamour!”
Fear The Walking Dead is back Sundays from June 9, 8:30pm on SoHo2. Encores air Mondays from June 10, 9:30pm.