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On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Lance Hornsby’s (Josh Hamilton) plan to unite Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside under the banner of the Commonwealth falls apart thanks to a last minute decision to remain independent by Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan). But don’t worry, Lance is just getting started.

“He’s someone who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” Hamilton teased to Decider. “He almost thinks that ‘no’ is the starting point for a negotiation.”

As fans have seen over the past couple of episodes, Lance is the master manipulator behind the scenes of the Commonwealth. And that was on full display this episode as he wooed Maggie, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and tried to work his boss Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) as well. It didn’t work, as mentioned above, but as fans know there’s a showdown coming between the Commonwealth and Hilltop, and it’s hard to think that Lance’s rejection here isn’t the first of the dominos starting to fall.

To find out more about Hamilton crafted the character, his relationships with other characters on the show, and what’s next, read on.

Decider: What has it been like to join the cast in the final season?

Josh Hamilton: On just a purely day-to-day level it’s been incredible. I think they’re known for being an especially warm cast. Everyone really goes out of their way to – you know the old cliche – but they really are a family. Even more so because everyone’s experience on the show is so strong that the bonds come across on screen. They also come across off screen. Also just because the shooting scheduled are so challenging, between the Georgia summers and the shooting at night in the woods in the cold weather, there’s very little room for people who aren’t team players, and who aren’t supportive.

Everyone always talks about how Andrew Lincoln really set this incredibly high bar for an unusual amount of support, and a lot of people feel like they really want to carry on that torch, or that kind of support. So it was wonderful coming onto it in that way.

You know, I have to admit that I had never seen the show, and I thought there was no way I could catch up on 10 years of a show. When I was cast I said, “well I’ll just start at the beginning and watch a few.” And then I couldn’t stop, so I did end up bingeing 10 years of a show in a few weeks, which was just an amazing experience.

I love that because that’s very Lance Hornsby-like, to do all the research you possibly can on the people you’re about to meet.

[Laughs]

When we first meet him, Lance comes off as the commensurate politician, but obviously there’s a lot more going on there as we start to get into it, in particular in the last two episodes. What was important for you when you started crafting the character? Was it the way he dressed? The way he carried himself? What really made Lance for you?

A lot of things, but yes, like you said, the costume was a big point. Lance is someone who dresses for success. He strikes me as someone who – he was lower class, and he has that kind of striving attitude that some people have. We talked a lot about how Lance’s father probably worked for Pamela’s father, President Hilton, and I think my whole youth I was close, but outside that world. And I think it made me even more ambitious to try and break through, really be a part of it and not just stay in that survival position. I think that’s a large part of what drives Lance. He’s probably someone who’s read a lot of self-help books. You know “how do I succeed in Business?” And all those books you see at the airport and you walk by and think, “oh that’s Harvard business school.” I think he was probably the first one in his family to go to college. He’s really dedicated his life to trying to work his way up into this system. And he’s one of those guys that’s always thinking three or four steps ahead. Which was a big challenge for me, because I’m someone who’s usually a few steps behind. It’s always fun to act with more of an agenda, or be a little more on top of things than I am. Luckily, the writing takes care of that.

In this week’s episode, you finally get out of the Commonwealth… What was it like getting to visit Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside in real life?

It was mind blowing. I had no idea that they were all so close. You get in this little golf cart and you drive off into the woods for a little, and this was after I watched the show, so I had the same thrill of, “it’s right there!” It’s like the feeling of seeing Universal Studios when I was a kid or something, and being like, “Oh my god that’s the street that they shot that movie on!” Yeah, it was very exciting. And the set for the Commonwealth is just incredibly impressive. The art and set builders are mind blowing. I thought for sure that the prison was some real prison that they had found somewhere. But no, it’s the same spot that they filmed the Commonwealth.

In this episode it’s really interesting to see Lance interact so differently, with different characters. Aaron in particular sort of comes off playing tough with Lance at certain times, but he clearly needs him very badly to help heal Alexandria. What’s it been like to play off of Ross Marquand in these scenes?

Well, Ross was the first actor that I met when I came to the show last year. The first guy I went out with and talked to. He’s such an engaging, appealing, lovely man that I really love working with him. Lance prides himself on being a little different with each person that he talks to. In the way that politicians do. Where, do they have any real fixed sense of self, or do they think what people want them to think, or be what people want them to be? Lance thinks of himself – like any good Politician – he wants to be sincere. He believes everything he says. In the moment, even if it seems contradictory with different characters, if you believe it enough when you’re talking about it you start to believe it yourself. Lance thinks of himself as a sincere guy, even if it gets a little slippery.

That plays nicely into the scenes with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), where they’re sitting on the steps of a Hilltop and he’s presenting his vision to her. So in your mind, he is being as straight up with her in these scenes?

I think so. First of all, he’s thinking that: here’s a woman with a child, so obviously she’s gonna have a especially strong desire to keep society going. And also, the things he says are all true. He really does sincerely believe in the mission of the Commonwealth, which is to grow and have the communities connected, everyone working together and creating a larger life for people… He really does believe in the vision of this larger world that they want to recreate. And who wouldn’t? I mean, what he says to her, who wouldn’t want to go to the Commonwealth for some ice cream and then take a boat ride off the coast from the Oceanside? He does believe that, and I don’t think there’s anything that’s not true. The fact that she doesn’t fall for it is quite surprising for him. Because I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

As a fan of the comic books — and obviously we don’t know if the show is heading in the same direction — but that’s where things end up, with these communities very connected. So we do get to see Lance’s vision, even if he is potentially going about it in the wrong way.

Sure. I mean, I think his position is probably, “Well you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.” But his overarching vision is quite sincere. I don’t think it’s cynical. He does have a manifest destiny belief in what the Commonwealth is trying to do. I also think it’s even more complicated besides just the actual dream that he has. His desire to please Pamela [Milton], and to get her approval is deep-seated, and probably more complicated than he realizes himself.

Speaking of Pamela, do you feel like he respects her at all at this point? Is he looking at her as a stepping stone, or a blockage to where he wants to get to? Or is she really this leader with vision, and he’s following in her footsteps?

I think personally he’s been kinda in love with her from a very early age.She was probably a little older than him, and she was sort of the princess in this kingdom that he was on the periphery of. He desperately desires her, and her acknowledgement or approval. At the same time, he thinks that he is the one – like anyone working in any sort of corporation of government – they often think like they’re the ones who really know what’s going on, and the people above, they’re not putting in the hard work to run things.

So Lance thinks because he’s sort of the fixer for the Commonwealth that he’s the one running around keeping everything running smoothly. There’s a part of him that thinks Pamela is sitting in her ivory tower, and delegating here and there, but doesn’t really know what’s going on in the trenches like he does. But he might be surprised by that. That’s what he tells himself and maybe it’s true, and Lance really does keep things running to a large degree. In a lot of different ways he has his hands in a lot of different pots, like anyone who’s in that sort of position. He’s constantly pleasing this person to get a favor from them. He’s really trying to just keep things running smoothly, while watching out for his own back. But that person is found in many different organizations.

At the very end of the episode when you’re shooting the walkers, Lance does seem like he’s becoming a little unhinged. He’s giving a bit of the crazy eyes there. Is this a turning point for him?

I think in that scene especially he’s someone who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. He almost thinks that “no” is the starting point for a negotiation. So when it looks like everything he’s planned for, combining these communities, is gonna fall apart, he goes to Pamela and she certainly doesn’t give him any sort of mandate, but just enough of a window open for him to run with. He’s almost energized by that. He’s like, “this is even more of a challenge,” which is exciting for him. He thrives on that. As the stakes get higher and more and more stressed, he will get pushed to his limit. I think it’s more the thrill. You know, when you spend your whole life striving and working hard, he’s like “this is what I’ve been working towards my whole life. This is what I spent my life trying to do and now here’s like the ultimate challenge.” So I don’t think he’s becoming unhinged, he’s just like “Ok. Here we go. Here we go.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC, and streams a week early on AMC+.

Where to watch The Walking Dead

Source: NYPOST

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