The Meadowlands was alive with the sound of zombies! No really, a woman dressed in a prison get-up, gorey faced and grunting with a dismembered leg in her arms was *really* a thing I encountered this weekend at Walker Stalker Con. The fan meet-up, which is dedicated to zombie-centric type shows had lovers of the genre flooding to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey for a 3-day experience full of panels, photo ops, autograph sessions and overall ghoulish shenanigans. While attending my first ever Walker Stalker Con I met top talent from The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, and Gotham, along with a lot of other familiar famous faces.
In honor of this zombified weekend I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview fan favorite Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron the Alexandrian on the cult classic. Marquand, who is as charming and eloquently spoken in person as he was when I last chatted with him, was fresh-faced and bright-eyed taking on herds of rabid TWD fans throughout the weekend. One fan even bit his Walking Dead co-star Norman Reedus during her photo op, taking the role of overzealous fan a little too far. Haven’t you heard the Yo Gabba Gabba! hilarious (to me anyways) kid’s song “Don’t Bite Your Friends”… guess this lady hasn’t…
Luckily Marquand had no zombie-induced altercations to speak of while meeting and greeting fans of the AMC series. We spoke about the show’s impact on his life as well as his misconstrued hate for applesauce– and yes, his impeccable locks were in full force the whole weekend.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: So my first question would be if you could bring back one of The Walking Dead characters, who would it be?
ROSS MARQUAND: I’ve gotta say Shane [Jon Bernthal], because I think that he is probably one of the most interesting characters who’s ever been on the show and it’s funny because I think that where he went at the end of season 2 was very much where we find Rick now, you know? It’s kind of like they’ve flipped and I think if Shane had a moment of redemption like Rick has had many times over we might see a different side of Shane.
MM: There’s a really good Cosplayer upstairs who looks just like him.
RM: I think I saw him earlier, yeah.
MM: He looks pretty awesome. Alright, so how has your life changed since being on The Walking Dead?
RM: Enormously. I mean it’s so insane, going from being a fan of the show like I think I mentioned before, it’s very odd to go from watching a show on your couch incessantly and then loving that show for many years and then going two weeks later after finishing watching season four, going from that to auditioning and a week later on my birthday getting the part. Very strange.
MM: Wow, good birthday present!
RM: Yeah it was great, it was the best birthday of all. It’s just been amazing. It’s surreal and it’s overwhelming but it’s ultimately just one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
MM: That’s amazing, and I hear you’re going on that Walker Stalker Cruise next year…
RM: I am indeed.
MM: Are you nervous about that?
RM: I’m a little nervous, I’ve never been on a cruise ship before…
MM: With a bunch of rabid fans…
RM: Yeah, right. That’s a different element of it too.
MM: The next one I have, if you had to be trapped in a TV show for 3 months, what would it be?
RM: If I had to be trapped in a show?
MM: Yeah, trapped in a show… excluding The Walking Dead, of course.
RM: Wow, gosh, I mean I gotta stick with the AMC crowd, I mean I loved Mad Men, I loved working on that, and Breaking Bad, I just loved those ecosystems. The worlds in both of those shows.
MM: They do a really good job.
RM: They do, they’re just a fantastic network and they’re good at creating really fascinating story lines and plot points. So I think that either of those ecosystems would be a lot of fun to play in and live in, ya know.
MM: Awesome, and now, does applesauce still make you cringe? [laughs]
RM: Applesauce never made my cringe! It’s so funny because people bring me it for gifts and they think I hate it, but actually I love applesauce, I would love to be sponsored by Mott’s or something.
MM: We’ll put that out there.
RM: Yeah, please, please! Or Tree Top, I don’t discriminate.
MM: Do you like the flavored apple sauces or you’re an original kind of guy?
RM: I’m a true blue type, the most flavor I do in applesauce is usually if I add cinnamon or something but like for the most part–
MM: Not like mango?
RM: Nahhh, that’s not applesauce. That’s mango applesauce. That’s not applesauce.
MM: To conclude, can you do your best celebrity impression?
RM: [chose to do Kevin Spacey]