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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Scott Wilson on life after 'The Walking Dead'

Actor Scott Wilson at SCADs aTVfest
  • Getty Images for SCAD
  • Actor Scott Wilson at SCAD's aTVfest

Hopefully you're caught up with this season of AMC's hit series, "The Walking Dead." If not, you might want to skip this interview with star Scott Wilson if you want to stay spoiler-free. I had a chance to talk to Wilson during this past weekend's second annual aTVfest, hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design. Wilsom talked about the popularity of the show, being involved in the worldwide phenomenon, the state of television today, and his part in the upcoming series pilot for "Bosch."

What have you been up to since you, unfortunately, had to leave "The Walking Dead"?
Well I've been in the process of moving and finding a place to move [laughs]. So it's been very busy. I've been reading material, reading scripts, and looking for something to do, which will be fun to do. Actually, I worked on a pilot called "Bosch," based on a Michael Connelly book. He's been writing this series of books about Harry Bosch, who's an LAPD homicide detective. I'm not playing Bosch, but I was in the pilot. I love his books. He called me, asked if I would be in the pilot, and I said, "Sure."

How can you turn that down?
You can't.

I'm sure fans of yours will be happy to hear that you're jumping into another pilot. Do you think it will be anything near the level of insanity and fandom of "The Walking Dead"?
You know something, I don't think you could possibly predict that this show ... that any show, could be as successful as this show has been. You could say, by looking at who was involved in the pilot, Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd, you could say there's a good chance this is going to be very good because both of those people have been involved in very good films. So that makes you look. In fact, it turned into something I imagine even they would say they're surprised that it's this successful.

As far as the fandom, are you looking to step out of that spotlight where everything is so scrutinized? Are you looking to get into something with a slower pace?
Well, I think it's interesting to see the fan reaction. I've been doing this quite a number of years. My first film came out in 1967 and I started acting before that. That film won four or five Academy Awards and was nominated for more. That was In the Heat of the Night. That led to In Cold Blood, which was also a very successful film. So I've been doing this for a long time, and working with people that are major talents, and I've never experienced anything like this with the public. I mean, you look for things that you think that you like, and if you like them, you hope that the public will. If they do, they do, and if they don't, then that's too bad, because it has a lot to do with whether you work again. [laughs]

So you're saying, out of all the things you've worked on, you've never before had a dedicated talk show like "Talking Dead"?
It was crazy. And that show's very successful. Chris [Hardwick] is terrific. He's doing a fantastic job. He's a wonderful talent. The show's a phenomenon all around the world, not just here. I'm sure everyone on the show and involved with the show feels good about it because they know how much effort and work they put into it to make it good. Not just the actors or the writers or directors, but the crew. Everyone really busts it to make the show as good as it can be.

It's so successful that there's some sort of spin-off or a parallel series ...
They're talking about that. They're talking about it for 2015.

Are you involved with that at all? Have they talked to you about appearing in flashbacks or anything like that?
No, and even if I had, I couldn't talk about it.

True, but I had to ask. Are you looking to continue your work not only in series, like "Bosch" that you mentioned, but in movies as well?
Sure, sure. Film is fun. Acting is fun. Whatever is good, whatever medium, that's what you want to do, if it's film or television. It isn't like it was when I started. When I started, you would do television, but you didn't really want to do television, you wanted to do movies. And if you did television, it was hard to get to the movies. Now, I think the two are interchangeable.

There are a lot more movie stars and Academy Award winners doing limited series. It seems like there's a lot more interplay between the two mediums.
There is, and it's because the studios aren't making more movies; there's no distribution.

Before I have to let you go, could you talk a bit about the character you would be playing in "Bosch" since you mentioned that? Hopefully we'll get to see you on that week to week.
Well, I would be playing a retired doctor whose dog finds a bone and it turns out to be a human bone from years ago, so it opens up a murder case.

Now that's just for the pilot, so is there any chance that you'd have a recurring role?
They have talked about me being in two or three more if it goes to a series or if the show is picked up, but you never know.

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