Fantastic Universes Interview: Madison, Matthew and Macsen Lintz From 'The Walking Dead'

Interview panel led by Steve J. Ray, with a gathering of Comic/TV Media Journalists.

I've spoken to some amazing people over the last couple of years; writers, artists, costume designers, and actors from some of my favorite TV shows.


It's no secret that I'm a huge comic-book fan, and one of the TV series that's based on and inspired by a comics title - but has gone on to be so much more - is The Walking Dead.


At a recent Comic-Con in London, I had the great opportunity of leading a panel where some fellow journalists and I spoke with Madison, Matthew and Macsen Lintz, three siblings who played Sophia and both iterations of Henry on the show.


The eldest, Madison Lintz (born 1999) played Sophia Peletier - Carol's daughter - in the first two seasons. She's also well known for playing Maddie Bosch in the Amazon series Bosch. She started acting at the age of six, filming commercials and voice-overs.


Matthew (born 2001) took over the role of Henry from his younger brother Macsen in Season 9. Matt's also known for appearing in The Alienist and for playing Matthew in the movie Pixels.


Macsen Lintz (born 2006) was the original Henry, a child taken in and raised by Carol and King Ezekiel in The Walking Dead. Mac has also appeared in Project Almanac, Grudge Match and Scary Movie 5.

Without further ado, here we go...

Steve J. Ray: First of all, welcome to London.


Madison, Matt and Macsen: Thank you, thank you so much.


SJR: Are you having fun?


Madison: Yes, I love London.


Matt: Yeah!


Mac: Yeah.


SJR: Are we being nice to you all?


Matt: (Laughing) Yes.


Madison: Yeah! I'd say so.


SJR: And you've actually brought the sun with you, so thanks for that.


All: (Laughter)

Madison: You're welcome.


SJR: Let's have some questions.

Panelist: Fans come here because they want to meet people, they want to shop, they want to do stuff. I'm curious as to what it is that you guys are excited about? Why are you here this weekend?

Madison: I personally like the Tower of London. There's a lot of history behind it, it's really cool... and then, the shopping.

Mac: Yeah. This is my second time coming to London, so seeing all the sights and stuff like that... but also seeing the fans. They're really passionate about The Walking Dead and the shows we're on, and it's super cool to see their take on it, and their love for us.


Madison: And to hear the accents. Excited!


(Laughter all around the room)


Matt: Yeah, that's one of the main reasons I came here... for the accents. It's made me happy. (Laughter from everyone) It's made me happy to hear 'em. It's kinda a mix of touring, and shopping, and meeting fans. They're all really nice people. I've met a couple of them so far, and so far they're all pretty nice.


Panelist: In terms of fans, do you ever watch fan reaction videos?


Mac: Oh, I do! I watch them all the time.


Madison: That's a thing?

Matt: Yeah. For each episode I do it. Everyone was telling me about the one for episode 15, obviously like, "Oh, you gotta watch this fan reaction!" Honestly, I hadn't seen the episode yet, but I saw the fan reactions, and it's really cool to see that. Also, you don't want the people to cry, or whatever, if you do a scene that's really sad and you see them crying... it's almost flattering, because you're conveying emotion that you want them to (feel). It's cool.


Mac: Yeah, yeah. I think it's entertaining. (Laughs) It's entertaining.


SJR: Fan reactions for both Sophia's and Henry's final scenes were like, whoah!


Madison: I had fan reactions for my scene?


SJR: Oh, yeah!


Madison: Oh, I gotta see those!

SJR: You should've been in my living room when you walked out of that barn. That was like... evil.


Madison: (Laughs).

SJR: But, Matt and Macsen... you two played the same character, so obviously you saw your reactions differently. Mac, you died through your brother. How was that?

Mac: I rub it in sometimes that I didn't die, but you did! (Laughter all round). You have to think about it for a second, because I was all just like, "Oh, he's done with the show... cool", but then I thought about it, and I'm like, "That's pretty much me right there..." that's about as close as it gets, to someone who's not me... yet is. Yeah, yeah. It's really cool to think about.


SJR: So you escaped, but you didn't escape at all.


Mac: Yeah, but I was the closest to it.


(Everyone laughs)


Panelist: Playing the same character, Matt, did you look at Macsen's mannerisms, or the way that he acted, in order to approach how you'd play it?


Matt: I definitely did, but you also have to think about the time jump? The six years. So you have to figure out how Henry has matured, and how he hasn't. Definitely I watched season eight and his stuff, and all that. But you've definitely got to look at the six year time jump.


Panelist: After Henry died on the show, the character was still a large part of the storyline. The effects of what happened. Where you expecting that? What's your reaction to it?


Matt: Seeing how big Carol's role is, I think I kind of expected it. Just because of how much Henry impacted Carol's life and how her character has changed since his death. I expected it a little bit. It's kind of cool to see it, in the next episode. It was cool.


Panelist: Do you expect Carol and Ezekiel to split up over it?


Matt: That's a tough one! Honestly? Yes... sort of. Carol obviously blames Ezekiel, and he kind of... yeah. I expect it a little bit.

SJR: As a parent, obviously losing Sophia was heartbreaking for Carol, but then what do all three of you feel she must be going through after losing Henry as well? Do you think that's going to have a major impact on the show moving forward?

Matt: Yes.

Mac: Yeah, yeah, yeah!


Madison: She's lost a lot of children, not just me and Henry. Losing Mika and Sam... but like, this one's gonna be a bigger one. The biggest one since Sophia... or even bigger than Sophia. So, it'll be interesting to see what happens, because, for the record, when I died she became a bad-ass! (Laughter all over). We'll see what happens.


Mac: You kind of learn to not hang out with her. (More laughter). No, I think that after each of the kids' deaths she broke a little bit more... but also she got stronger. I think after Henry's, maybe she'll crack... completely. But, we'll see.


SJR: Is Alpha in real trouble?


Matt: I would say so.


Madison: (Laughs and nods excitedly)


Mac: I don't know, 'coz Alpha's got her army of walkers, that she's gonna unleash onto the world and kill everyone.


Matt: Oh, my gosh...


SJR: Yeah... that's not dark at all.

Macsen: (Giggles)


Matt: Um... next question?


(Everyone laughs)


Madison: Moving on from that...

Panelist: Talking about the world; Walking Dead is one of those shows that translates so well globally, it has such a huge international fanbase. Why do you think that is? What do you think it is about the show that connects to audiences?

Matt: I don't know. I think when it first came on air, I mean - you'd seen zombie shows and films - but you'd never seen a show like this...

Madison: Yeah.


Matt: ... Of this magnitude. Honestly it surprised me how big it was overseas, especially in London, because of the Walker Stalker Con, and MCM, and all that. You see so many fans... honestly you could argue that they're way more passionate than the American fans. I think everyone's really passionate about it, and it's really cool to see it.


Panelist: How have things changed for you all since being on the show?


Madison: It's been a while for me... almost eight years. I was really young when I started...


Mac: A lot of acting experience. You're gonna learn from a lot of people. I don't know if you remember Zach (McGowan)? He played the Savior (Justin) that I, so brutally, knocked down... he gave me a lot of advice. That was one of the days (after I found out) I was leaving the show, so it was really sad for me. But he was like, "Dude, you just gotta move on... that's what I do all the time." He's been on a bunch of shows, so it was really good for him to give me advice... and a bunch of other actors too.


Matt: Yeah. There are so many brilliant actors and actresses on that set, but also the fan-base is crazy, so you get a lot of notoriety from it.


Madison: Lots of blessings.


Panelist: Obviously fans have their favorite moments, that are on-screen. I'm sure you guys have your favorite moments that weren't on-screen; moments from the set. What are the things that make you smile the most from spending time on-set.


Matt: For me it's definitely that the cast and crew are so close. Coming out of that show... it felt like I was always on it. From the first day I was just introduced to this well-oiled machine and... it's actually like a family. When you hear "The Walking Dead Family" it literally is a family.


Mac: Yeah. In season seven it was a bunch of people on set with me. It was so cool because on all the other movie stuff I've done I've been sorta "babied" a little bit... you know what I mean? They (the TWD cast and crew) really treat me like a true friend, and like family. Everyone's just so accepting.


Madison: It's so long ago for me. So many people ask me that, and it's been so many years that I'm starting to forget, almost. I remember really liking Crafty (the on-set caterers)... all the snacks, that was really a plus for me.


(Laughter, particularly from her brothers who also smile and nod in agreement).

Madison: My death scene... Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori requested - because I was all done up, obviously as a zombie - not to see me before the scene, lots of actors agreed, so they could have a true, raw reaction. I just thought that was so cool, because I was like "This is real acting! This is method!" and I really loved that, and I really appreciated it.

Panelist: Now that you'll all be watching as fans, and are no longer on the show, What are you looking forward to in the next season?

Matt: Definitely the relationship between Apha and Carol, and how that escalates. I think that'll be really cool to see on-screen.


Mac: I think that everyone's eager to see that. To see how Apha's story continues.


Madison: Yeah, agreed.


SJR: Obviously it's a show with really dark moments, and all of you are young, or were when you were on the show... particularly you Madison, and Macsen. How did they alleviate the scares and elevate the fun for you?


Matt: For me I kinda came on at 16, so it didn't really affect me, but definitely Madison and Macsen were a little bit younger, so they should probably answer it.


Madison: They made sure we knew that it wasn't real. I guess there are kids that would be scared, understandably... but it was never any true scares, it was more like excited scared. There's zombies, and they had like gallons of blood all over the place, so it all looked very unreal behind the scenes. It was cool, more than anything.


Mac: I remember when I first saw one (a walker) I was more surprised, I wasn't really scared. He got in the van and was, like "Hey! What's up?" (He puts his hand up, as if to do a "high-five" with a zombie), "Um... hey!" (Everybody laughs). So I just talked to him. It's not the same as it is watching the show. They're nice people in real life.

Panelist: Talking about real life, I think that one of the most common questions amongst fans is how they would handle a zombie apocalypse in real life? Having been on the show, do you feel like you have a sense of what you would do? Which one would be best equipped to survive?

Matt: You just want to do the opposite of what Henry does, pretty much. (Lots of laughs). I would probably stay away from the cities, obviously, and try and live off the land and the forest, maybe?

Madison: I'd go to CostCo. (Laughter) Yeah... that's where I'd go.


Macsen: I'd just kill everyone.


Matt: You'd just kill everyone?


(Lots of laughter and some stunned and bewildered glares).


Matt: OK... that's a good plan.


Madison: Macsen?!? Why would you say that?


Matt: What would be your weapon to kill everyone?


Madison: Machete? Baseball bat? Machine gun.


Macsen: A gun. It's kinda generic... I'd just mow 'em all down.


(More shocked laughter from the elder siblings and the rest of us).


Matt and Madison: Oh my God!


Matt: Mow 'em down. Yeah... OK. Next question? (More laughter). Yeah, wow. Wow!


Madison: Macsen! Moving on....

Panelist: With the casting of older and younger Henry, was that pre-planned at all? Did they know it was gonna happen?

Matt: Actually, no. It was sort of coincidence, but we didn't know that a time-jump was happening, and when we found out we didn't know (the role) was gonna come to me, but after it happened AMC approached me about it, and I wasn't gonna do the role if (Macsen) didn't want me to. He was literally the most supportive out of everyone in the family. He really wanted me to do it. I'm super grateful that he let me do it.

Mac: Yeah. I just wanted to stay with Cooper (Cooper Andrews, who plays Jerry) and keep seeing him.


(Matt and the rest of us laugh).


Panelist: If you could've chosen your own on-screen death, what would it have been?


Mac: I don't know if you remember T-Dog? ( a character played by IronE Singleton in seasons 1-3) How he died? That was a cool one.


Madison: That is a cool one! That's a good answer!


Matt: Saving Carol?


Mac: Yeah, saving Carol.


Matt: Yeah, that's a good one.


Mac: She ran off while he was getting eaten.


Madison: Oh, I remember that. (sighs). That one hurt.


Panelist: You've each been on the show separately. Would you like to work together on something?


Madison: I've thought about that, because we've never really worked together. I don't think we ever have... have we?


Matt: No, I don't think so.


Mac: Matt and I have...


Madison: I just feel that I would not be able to do my job! (she's laughing). I have so much fun with them, and I'd be constantly laughing!


Matt: I feel we'd joke around a lot.


Madison: We'd get in trouble! We just joke around a lot... like, I couldn't do it.


Matt: I think it'd be cool, but... I don't know. It could be disastrous.


(More laughs)


Mac: Matt and I worked together before.


Madison: Oh, really?


Matt: Have we? Oh... yeah we did. On a film or? I don't know...


Madison: It all gets jumbled up.


Matt: It's just in the past... oh, I don't remember.


(Lots of laughter)


SJR: It was obviously a fantastic experience.


(Laughs from everyone)


Mac: He remembers. He remembers...

Alex Knight: Did you or any other of the cast-mates actually talk about how they thought the series and the zombie outbreak would ever end? Was that something you ever thought about or discussed?

Madison: That's interesting.

Matt: Yeah, there were a lot of theories, but personally, with the cast-mates, we never really discussed it. I saw a fan theory about how the zombies will eventually decay, and there'll be no more after a while. Honestly, we never discussed it.


Mac: Yeah, there was the "Old Man Carl" theory, but that got thrown out of the window, kinda... there's not even an "Old Man Henry" anymore, so... I've heard a lot of theories, but I think they all die.


Matt: They all die...


Madison: Aaallllright...


SJR: Spinning that on its head, how about how it all began? Because that's never been revealed.


Madison: Woah... You're so right!


SJR: Any theories about that, that you've brain-stormed between you?


Madison: Oh... I feel like I knew the answer for this, or I knew a theory... but I can't remember it. I feel like I really knew it at one point. Now that's gonna bother me.


Mac and Matt: (Laugh)


SJR: Did you have your own theories?


Madison: Like a disease or something...


Matt: I don't know. I've never really thought about that.


Mac: The Rick in a coma, then he wakes up and he's just like... this never happened...


Madison: Oooooohhh... that was the theory!


Mac: That was like the main theory of the show, but I think that's gonna happen.


Madison: It's to be considered if the Rick theory isn't true, that they all have it... they all have the disease.


Matt: They do.


SJR: Yeah, because now as soon as you die, you turn. You don't even have to be bitten or scratched, anymore. So...


All three: Yeah.

Panelist: What do you all have planned next? Any projects coming up?

Mac: I'm taking a break.

Matt: For now I'm taking a break. I auditioned a little bit after The Walking Dead, Then I just thought, "No."


Mac: I'm taking a break for the summer, then I'll come back in the fall.


Madison: He does that a lot!


Mac: I don't do that a lot.


SJR: I'm pretty scared that he'll turn up with a machine gun and mow us all down...

(Everyone laughs)

Madison: I'm on a show. It's on Amazon Prime, on Prime Video, so if you've got a Prime account you can watch the first five seasons, and then I go back to do the sixth season. It's called Bosch.


Matt: I've been taking a break since I finished filming Walking Dead, so I've just been chilling out. I've finished school, so now I'm on break for the summer.


Mac: Yeah.


Panelist: With Bosch, fans have been excited for season six, what can they expect? It's been quite a big journey from season one. How does that trajectory continue?


Madison: I don't know how much I can say... they've announced the book that it's going to be based on, so that's exciting. Though that doesn't mean anything, because I forgot which book it was, because there're so many of them... 


(Laughs all round)


Panelist: You're so good at answering questions by not answering them.


Madison: (Huge laugh)

Panelist: You've talked a lot about your experience on Walking Dead, how does Bosch compare?

Madison: I was younger on Walking Dead, so I started on Bosch when I was 15, and I'm 20 now... so it's been a major part of my life. I grew up on that set, as much as I did on (TWD). Both are huge blessings on my life. I have more lines in Bosch, which is good, and I don't have to cry as much... and there are no barns, which is really good news. (Laughs all round). I love that.

Matt: Less zombies...


Madison: Yeah, less zombies!


Panelist: She's a character that fans really love, both in the books and in the series. What do you think it is about Bosch that captures people's imaginations? Why do you think that people do love the show and it has run as well as it has, now into season six?


Madison: It starts with the writing, it's based on some amazing books. We have a really amazing team, a really amazing crew. Titus (Welliver) is fantastic, as well as Lance Reddick, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino... they're all amazing, they're all veterans. I've learned so much from them. That's a good question. What makes a show good?


SJR: Outside of acting. Would any of you consider going into the writing, or behind the scenes; production, or directing?


Matt: No.


Madison: I like acting. Maybe one day.


Matt: It's kinda more like you're either one or the other. For us, we're actors... I could never see myself writing, because I would just be horrible at it. That's why I'd leave the writers to do that, and I just do the acting part of it.


Madison: We just say the lines (laughing).


SJR: What about production, or directing?


Madison: Directing... maybe? But there's so many times a director will be talking to me, giving me direction, or will say something, and I'll be like, "Ooooh... interesting... " and they have to do so much, and there's so much behind it, I would have no idea where to start.


Mac: Greg Nicotero (one of the top producers and best directors on Walking Dead, as well as prosthetics and make-up guru who worked with George A. Romero, the man who created the entire zombie genre) he helped me a lot in some scenes. He's a really good director. He's taught me a good amount, and it's helped. It really has.

Panelist: Is there another role, or genre you'd like to try. Comedy, or something different?

Mac: Comedy.

Matt: I'm down for anything. I've done some comedy when I was younger, but as I've gotten older it's been more serious roles... like The Alienist and The Walking Dead. I'm literally down for everything, I enjoy all genres.


Madison: I like drama, myself. Comedy is very hard.


Mac: Funny, though.


Madison: Funny, though... 


Panelist: Just to expand on that... if you could be on any other show, one that you haven't been on?


Matt and Madison in unison: Game Of Thrones!


(Laughter all round)


Panelist: Who would you play?


Madison: Sansa... or Tyrion.


(More laughs)


Matt: That show's brilliant.


Mac: A weird Prince.


Matt: A weird Prince? OK... 


Madison: Or Arya... (to Macsen) you haven't even seen Game Of Thrones, how would you know?


Mac: I don't know.


Madison: (still to her younger brother) What show would you be on?


Mac: Big Bang Theory.


Madison: Big Bang Theory?

Mac: I'd just be the annoying kid.


Madison: Yeah, that's pretty fitting.


Panelist: Both shows have finished, so we'll never know.


Panelist: But we are getting a Game Of Thrones prequel series...

SJR: What's the worst job you've ever had?

Madison: There was this zombie TV show that I did, like eight years ago... 

(Huge laughs)

Madison: That was awful... 


Matt: I don't wanna answer that, because I don't want people to yell at me.


SJR: It can be a commercial, it can be anything... 


Madison: We can't trash people's livings... what are you talking about?!?


Matt: I've had fun on everything I've done.


Madison: We love everything we do.


Panelist: We wanna work again.


Madison: Yeah!


SJR: I'm sure Macsen wants to shoot a few people on some of the bad jobs.


Matt: He probably wants to kill everyone.


The panel: Yeah. (laughing)


Mac: No... every...


Madison: Every job you've had is good, Macsen!


Matt: That's the end of that.


Madison: That's the end!


Matt: No more from him!


Madison: No more!


Macsen: (Laughing).


Panelist: Outside of The Walking Dead, what would you say is the best zombie movie or TV show?


Madison: Zombieland!


Matt: I honestly haven't watched a lot of zombie films, but World War Z, with Brad Pitt was really good.


Madison: Oh, that's a good one too! They're working on a second one.


Matt: Yeah, that was a really good movie.


Mac: Yeah, World War Z. Zombieland? I've never heard of it.


Madison: What's the British one?


Panelist: 28 Days Later?


SJR: Shaun Of The Dead?


Madison: Shaun Of The Dead is the one that I meant.


Event Organiser: That's it. OK, cool. Thanks, guys.


Madison: Thank you!


Matt and Macsen: Thank you all.

It was a fun, intimate panel with some talented (and slightly worrying) young actors. I hope it was fun to read, as it was great fun to attend.

Images may be subject to copyright, photos of the actors and panel by Alex Knight.

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