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Their words: What cast and crew say about 'The Walking Dead'

Last Updated Oct 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm EST

The Associated Press was among small group of media representatives who were invited to the set of “The Walking Dead” in Senoia, Georgia, to talk with about a dozen cast and crew members about the upcoming season, the filming of the show’s 100th episode and life on and off the set. Here are some highlights from those interviews:

— Actor XANDER BERKELEY on his character, Gregory, who rules over The Hilltop: “He’s on this animal level asking himself the question that I think if many people were faced with for real: Am I going to be heroic and save someone else’s life before my own?”

— Executive Producer SCOTT GIMPLE on whether he can envision “The Walking Dead” getting to Episode 200: “We’re planning on it. We’re projecting it out. I don’t think the story ends. Carl might need a cane. … We want to keep doing it at least as long as Robert (Kirkman, the comic’s writer) is doing it. There are times when we rip right through the comic story and there are times when it gets way expanded out. … It’s fun and sometimes necessary because there’s not the same characters and not the same situations to fortify the sort of stuff the expands aspects of it. That can take more time than even following the comic story. It’s always the comic story and then some. And he’s going full steam, unless next month he isn’t and he surprises us all. We’re prepared for the long haul.”

— Actor LENNIE JAMES on his character, Morgan Jones, who was first seen in the pilot episode and then didn’t return to the show until the third season: “Morgan’s decision to not kill was never about cowardice, it was never about the fear. The only fear he had is the fear of who he is, and what he’s like and what he does when he’s killing. And he’s trying to hold that beast at bay. Well, that beast is right in front of his face at the moment.”

— Actor TOM PAYNE, who plays Paul Rovia (aka Jesus from The Hilltop): When Payne first joined the cast, he had to wear hair extensions and a fake beard. That allowed him to go out in public incognito. But he’s since grown his real hair and beard out and now gets recognized regularly. It will be easy enough for him to shave it once he’s off the show. In the meantime, “it’s a fun ride and who knows how long it’ll last.”

— Actor STEVEN OGG, who plays Simon, one of Negan’s lieutenants: “This whole world is about survival and how people survive. So I think that’s the most important thing, who you make alliances with and who you decide to work with.”

— Actor ROSS MARQUAND, who plays Aaron, a gay man who ventured out to the dangerous world to find and recruit new residents to Alexandria, on how the show has seamlessly weaved in characters from a variety of backgrounds, from interracial couples to gay couples to May-September romances: “I love it. I think it’s very important. I think that Robert Kirkman has done a really good job of including characters from all walks of life as it should be because that’s how life really is. It’s a fair representation of how people are in the world.”

— Actress POLLYANNA MCINTOSH, who plays Jadis, the leader of a group of scavengers on what it’s like to work on a set and the massive mound of trash her character lords over: “When I walked onto that set, I couldn’t believe the scope of it. And I couldn’t believe that I was working, that me, Pollyanna, was working in a junkyard essentially because honestly, swear to God, when I was a kid and I’d pass those things in the car with my parents, I’d just be wanting to get out there and play. … So on that level, it’s my fantasy.”

— Actress KATELYN NACON, who plays Enid, one of the younger cast members on the show, says the next season is jammed with action but she hopes future episodes show at least some happiness and goodness: “It can’t always been 100 per cent bad! I get it’s the apocalypse but come on, just a little bit of happiness?”