New Delhi, Sep 29 (PTI) From playing a 'watered-down version' of himself in the popular comedy drama 'Younger' to starring in a superhero-esque role in the zombie horror series 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond', Nico Tortorella says he has gone through a complete 'transition'.
Set in a post-apocalypse Nebraska, 'World Beyond' features four teenage protagonists and focuses on 'the first generation to come-of-age in the apocalypse as we know it'.
The 32-year-old actor is set to play Felix, one of the older generation members guiding the children in the third television series within 'The Walking Dead' franchise, based on the popular comic series of the same name by Robert Kirkman.
Tortorella said the roles of tattoo artist Josh in 'Younger' and Felix maybe worlds apart, but he is happy they both 'exist'.
''Younger' is a 20-22 minute rom-com, a watered down version of myself in this Manhattan big city bubbly world. Then I cluck to 'The Walking Dead', a post-apocalyptic world - being a superhero, killing zombies every single day. It was definitely a transition. One that I think was necessary not only as an actor but also as a person,' the actor told PTI in a Zoom roundtable interview.
''World Beyond' reminded me what it means to fall into a role, dedicate not just my mind, emotionality but also my physicality to it. It was a lot of work. Hours into the show were intense. If 'Younger' was the easiest job I ever had, 'World Beyond' is the hardest. I'm glad they both exist,' he added.
Tortorella, who also has the slasher horror film 'Scream 4', crime drama series 'The Following' and teen drama 'The Beautiful Life' to his credit, said prepping for the action scenes in the AMC series was 'much more demanding' than the emotional ones.
'I'm a very emotional person. I can tap into my emotions easily, I do it on a daily basis. But the physicality is something new. It's not just fighting. I could throw down if I have to. But this is dance, this is choreography.
'This is hours and hours of intense physicality where you don't have to be aware of only your body but you're working with somebody else... And one wrong move could be extremely detrimental and dangerous. There's a lot of responsibility to that. It was more difficult than emotionality but equally rewarding.' Describing Felix as a father figure who is loyal to a fault, the actor said it was interesting to see the new show headed by a 'naive' younger generation.
The 10-episode series, set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video from October 2 in India, also stars Annet Mahendru, Aliyah Royale, Hal Cumpston, Alexa Mansour, and Nicolas Cantu.
'We get to see this world through younger, more imaginative, naive eyes that aren't jaded. Life hasn't fully got to our core cast. We get to experience that life in ways we didn't necessarily through older generations of both people and shows.' Tortorella said he watched 'The Walking Dead', the flagship series, religiously and even auditioned for the previous series spin-off 'Fear the Walking Dead'. After he didn't land the role, he stopped watching the show.
Things, however, took an upturn when he booked 'World Beyond'.
'I went back and caught up as much as I could. Our characters don't really know what's going in the other universes of 'The Walking Dead'. So I don't think it is necessary to be an expert on the other shows,' he added.
Asked which of 'The Walking Dead' characters was his favourite, Tortorella chose Rick Grimes, played by series lead Andrew Lincoln. Lincoln left the show after its ninth season in 2018 but will reprise the role in a trilogy of 'The Walking Dead' films.
The original series, which will end post season 11 in 2022, followed the onset of a zombie apocalypse, with survivors trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies, colloquially known as 'walkers'.
'The way Andrew Lincoln was able to take this Rick Grimes character and make him who he is both onscreen and offscreen is something I as an actor dream of. Iconic role, iconic actor,' Tortorella said.
The horrors of a zombie apocalypse are not much different from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the actor said people are in a 'global existential spiral' today.
'The idea of life right now seems very fragile worldwide. We collectively have faced death in a super apparent way. Zombies deal with it in a way that's entertaining but also socially and politically aware.
'There's never been a more important time to tell this story than the new edition of 'The Walking Dead' universe. It reminds us that we are alive... Technically, we are all survivors,' he added. PTI RDS BK RDS SHD SHD