Major Dodson could be considered a newbie in the horrifying world of The Walking Dead, but he’s not letting that stop him from leaving his mark. Dodson’s character Sam Anderson was introduced to the audience in season 5 of the AMC hit series, and ever since our beloved characters stepped behind the self-sustaining walls of Alexandria, things just haven’t been the same. This 12-year-old actor seriously holds his own, co-starring alongside series regulars (and TV’s top talent) such as Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), and on-screen mom Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie Anderson).
You might know Dodson from his stint on another critically acclaimed series: American Horror Story: Freak Show, where he played Corey Bachman, a young boy locked up by Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). From gruesome clowns to fighting a zombie epidemic, it looks like this young star has no trouble shining in shows others his age might cower in the corner from. Fast forward to his current gig, starring in one of the hottest shows on TV… ya know, baking cookies with Carol, and chatting with Rick about a broken owl statue. Not a bad deal, eh?
Dodson was gracious enough to answer some questions about his role on the apocalyptic series, interacting with fans on social media, and where his character is headed now that his dad is dead and his mom is somewhat unhinged by the recent attack from the Wolves.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Before we get into some in-depth questions, can you tell me a little bit about Sam Anderson, the character you play on AMC’s hit series?
MAJOR DODSON: Sam Anderson is a boy whose family moved to Alexandria after the world went downhill, whose life is changed when Rick Grimes’ group comes to the safe zone. He is traumatized by the death of his father, and the attack of the Wolves.
MM: Sam takes a liking to Carol, and although she is kind of mean to him, he still comes around looking for cookies. Why do you think he immediately was drawn to her?
MD: Sam Is drawn to Carol because she seems tough, and able to protect him.
MM: Your character Sam has been behind the safety of Alexandria’s walls since the zombie apocalypse started, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s had it easy. His dad turns out to be not such a nice guy– was it hard to play this character who instead of fighting zombies is battling a troubled home life?
MD: Not really. But once I put myself in the eyes and mind of Sam, it was, because I had to imagine his thoughts and feelings.
MM: Sam can’t really catch a break, he kind of sees his mom Jessie killing this intruder/the aftermath of it all. Will we see more of him just not wanting to be around her or the uprising of violence in the town?
MD: I had originally seen the script, and I knew it was going to happen, but the way it played out on the show truly destroyed my previous idea of what it looked liked! Sam is really traumatized right now by everything that is going on. He just lost his dad unexpectedly, and then the wolves attack all in a really short time. He is processing it in the way he can. which is really by secluding himself upstairs. We’ll have to see when and if he will feel comfortable and safe enough to interact with everyone again.
MM: Were you surprised when Rick killed your on-screen dad?
MD: Yes and no. Sam was ready to find a solution to help protect his mom and brother but I don’t think he personally was really ready to go that far, but at the same time having someone like Rick do it didn’t seem as much of a stretch.
MM: The show is pretty gruesome sometimes, are you allowed to watch the show with your family? And if so, what do you think when you see yourself on screen?
MD: Ever since I booked the show, my family and I have watched every single episode, and we are caught up. I enjoy watching myself on the show as Sam but I also find myself critiquing his actions like a fan or things… like his haircut! Hahaha!
MM: Who would you say is your favorite character on the show? Why?
MD: It is hard to pick one single character because there are so many great parts from each. Like Rick knows exactly what he is doing in the Apocalypse. Carol has been through a lot and I really admire her growth. Daryl [Norman Reedus] kicks butt with that crossbow and has the coolest motorcycle. I want to learn katana from Michonne [Danai Gurira], wit and strength from Abe [Michael Cudlitz], humor from Eugene, sharpshooting from Sasha [Sonequa Martin-Green]. Glenn [Steven Yeun] is crafty, Maggie [Lauren Cohan] is intelligent, and Carl [Chandler Riggs] is who I am going to grow into on the show! There have been so many great characters I could go on and on!
MM: How has your experience been fielding comments from the fans on Twitter, I know that you use it sparingly and supervised– have people been kind to you and your character?
MD: Yes. It’s one of the most AMAZING things. I get to see tons of people saying they love me in the show, heck, I occasionally get crazy good fan art! I have some people that don’t love Sam as the cookie kid, but overall everyone has been so kind!
MM: Are you able to meet fans in person at all? Do you get recognized out in public ever?
MD: I don’t get recognized out in public often because I wear glasses, so you can say, I am incognito. I just attended my first Walker Stalker Convention in Atlanta last month and it was the bomb! I had so much fun meeting everyone and I can’t wait to go to another one!
MM: When you’re not filming, what types of activities do you like to do?
MD: When I’m not filming, I usually play video games, go to school, play (as in, disassemble) with Rubik’s cubes, draw, and I’m starting to learn what it’s like to be a DJ!
MM: What are some other shows you like to watch?
MM: Any advice for kids who might want to pursue a career in acting?
MD: Don’t give up. Be the character, work hard. That may sound generic, but it’s true. Enjoy the gift of acting. It’s one of the best gifts in the world!
MM: Thanks so much for chatting!
MD: Thank you so much for having me!
Be sure to catch up with Major on social media: