Actress Eleanor Matsuura faced a different challenge than most actors in the final stretch of The Walking Dead. While a good part of the cast is smeared with stage blood when facing the zombies, the Yumiko interpreter has been wearing a stylish pantsuit and distributing legal advice like the Commonwealth lawyer. Colleagues even joke that she became a realtor.
“Yumiko went through a big turnaround in this last phase. I started the series dirty, in the trenches, and I really liked that. And now, in the Commonwealth, I’ve had this turnaround and I’m always in a pantsuit, with clean shoes. It’s a very different experience! I would arrive on set after going through the makeup and costume and people would ask if I wanted to sell them a house (laughs).”
Eleanor also admitted that she was very scared to join the cast of The Walking Dead in the ninth season. After all, Yumiko appeared for the first time precisely in the episode that marked the departure of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and the possibility of someone from her group being appointed as a direct replacement for the sheriff would put a pressure that no one would bear.
“I don’t think I ever said how scary it was when I started. It’s such a beloved show by everyone, an incredible story, that I’m so honored to have been a part of. But I would go to work terrified, every day I thought I would die in the next episode,” said Eleanor Matsuura. “And then I realized that I love this job and I didn’t want it to end.”
Lauren Ridloff as Connie from The Walking Dead
Disclosure / AMC
Introduced to the Walking Dead universe in the same episode as Eleanor, Lauren Ridloff valued the affection she receives. Connie’s interpreter, who is deaf in real life, said she was impressed by the willingness of some fans to learn sign language to be able to communicate with her at events like Comic Con.
“I was shocked by the amount of fans who came prepared to talk to me. I’m deaf, obviously, but it’s not a big deal for me. The important thing is the way we talk. And through The Walking Dead and Connie’s interaction with the other characters, a lot of people saw that and realized that there are no limits to communication. And for interpersonal connection too, whether through gestures, writing and even looks,” she stressed.
The actress, who joined another major entertainment universe when she was cast in Marvel’s Eternals (2021), said she learned a lot from Connie on The Walking Dead. “She taught me to listen to my heart too, not just my head. I have a tendency to overthink things before acting. And that makes me anxious,” she acknowledged her.
“Connie is tough and feels what’s right in her heart, follows it without question. When I started playing her, whenever I was going through something difficult in my personal life, I wondered what Connie would do in that situation. It helped me a lot!”, she finished.
The latest episodes of The Walking Dead are available every Sunday on Star+. The zombie drama airs its final chapter on November 20 — but the plot continues in spin-offs about Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira).