‘Fear The Walking Dead’: Cliff Curtis Talks Travis’ Big S1 Moments, Questions For S2

“Fear the Walking Dead” Season 1 hit store shelves
last week, just as production of Season 2 got underway in Mexico.

The six-episode debut installment of the show followed an
East Los Angeles high school teacher named Travis (Cliff Curtis), guidance
counselor Madison (Kim Dickens), their loved ones and people they met as rioting erupted, as they all faced the initial stages of the zombie apocalypse.

For those who took the ride on AMC, Season 1 began as a slow burn that finally exploded in the show’s first finale.

Cliff-Curtis-as-Travis-and-Kim-Dickens-as-Madison-in-‘Fear-The-Walking-Dead’
(Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

With the DVD/Blu-Ray for Season 1 out now, Cliff hopped on the phone and spoke with Access Hollywood about some of Travis’ big moments from the first season, and dished on some of the things he’s looking to explore in Season 2.

Access: Why do you think it took Travis so long to come around to the idea that the undead aren’t human anymore? He was one of the late adopters of that particular mindset this season.
Cliff:
 I mean, first of all, I think that getting told by the creators that he’s a high school [teacher], but there’s no zombies in our universe — they don’t exist. We don’t have zombies. When you take it from a rational point of view, the last thing that you think was going on was that there was a zombie apocalypse. It’s absolutely irrational and if I came and told you, ‘Oh my God, this kid was acting really weird, I think that TV show — it’s real, like there’s a zombie apocalypse out there, and we’ve gotta do something about it,’ you’d think I was nuts. So, I think that’s why. It’s because the creators are really committed to the idea that we had to treat it is as if there wasn’t a TV show and there was no such thing as zombies in our universe and that our characters really didn’t know what to do. I think just as a character, who Travis is, I built into his backstory the idea that he grew up in East LA, or at least a part of it — his developing as an adult. And he’s community-minded. He could’ve become a cop, he could’ve become a gangster, and he thought, ‘Well, who works with both of those, and isn’t on the good or bad side of either of those guys? A teacher!’ And so he’s very committed to his community and wanting to make a difference in these kids’ lives and in this community and so he takes that responsibility very, very seriously. … He’s that guy who’s constantly trying to teach his kids, ‘Before you do anything rash, just stop and think, is this the right thing to do? At least do that. Please. Because I don’t want to be coming down and getting you out of lockup again, or reporting to your parents or social services… You have the power to change your life if you just think for a minute about what you’re doing.’ And it’s unfathomable to him the idea that — it doesn’t make sense that they’re dead because they’re obviously not dead because you can kill them. So if you take a rational point of view, right, how can you kill something that’s dead? Doesn’t make sense. Doesn’t make any sense at all that you can kill something that’s dead.

READ: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season 1 Finale Recap: ‘The Good Man’

Access: I’ve got to ask you
if what Travis did to Adams in the finale kind of changes him going forward?
Cliff:
 Yeah, it’s not just what he did to Adams, it’s also what he did to someone else that he loved, and I think what it is is that he — momentarily — he broke. He broke and I think what happened is that he was living by his creed that everybody deserves a second chance and he knew, in his mind, he had a conversation which we don’t see on screen where he talked it through with the guy and said, do we have an agreement? Like, I’m giving you a second chance here. I’m gonna let you go, and the guy came back and tried to kill. And it’s like, he just lost it and I think it’s just a culmination of holding back and holding back and holding back until he just can’t take it anymore. Travis broke. … Momentarily. I don’t think he’s broken forever, but, understandably, I think I’d give him a pass on that one. The dude’s throwing a gun around and threatening to kill people. You intervene. That’s what Travis does.

Access: [What happened with Liza] at
the end was so brutal. Do you kind of know where they’re going to pick up and
how much that is going to completely — I imagine that’s going to be pretty
devastating going forward and then having to deal with his son’s reaction to
that too.
Cliff: That’s the thing, I don’t have a clue. They don’t tell us anything. … I don’t know how he’s going to get out of that mess — I mean, with his son. You don’t do that to your son’s mother and think everything’s going to be OK and that you can like talk about it and it’s going to be resolved. I just can’t see how Travis and his relationship with his son is going to survive that one, that’s just – not good, not good. Not good.

Access: What are you
looking forward to exploring when you get around to shooting Season 2? I’m
curious about the Strand character who we met briefly at the end of the
season. He’s so interesting.
Cliff:
 [That’s] the funnest character on the show, right now. … It feels like he’s from a different world and I think entertainment-wise, I think that’s fantastic, and I’m really, really looking forward to seeing how he develops. I’m also really keen to see how we develop as a family because my character and Kim’s character started off all lovey-dovey at the beginning of the season, but we do not agree on stuff, really important stuff, about how to deal with the situation and it appears as though their relationship is just not gonna make it… until right before the very end [of Season 1]. So I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes in terms of that relationship, because they’re brought back together again, which, it looked like the relationship was going to be derailed by the whole craziness of the situation because it’s total survival mode, and it’s like, act first, deal with the consequences later. She’s much quicker to adapt than my character. And my character through the season is probably, in my view, least likely to survive, but he somehow makes it. … So I’m looking forward to those two characters coming back together and trying to figure out how to build their family in this crazy world. 

WATCH: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Cast Dishes On New Series

“Fear the Walking Dead” Season 1 is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray. Season 2 returns to AMC in 2016.

Jolie Lash

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