Cliff Curtis is convinced that his character of Travis Manawa on “Fear the Walking Dead,” is the least prepared to handle a zombie apocalypse.
“He’s an optimist who believes in the best of humanity. I really like that,” Curtis says. “He’s very ill-equipped to handle what is happening because as a high school teacher he has always been about his relationship with his community.
“He’s a guy who has always led by example and not resort to violence.”
Fans of the spinoff series of AMC’s monster hit, “The Walking Dead,” got to see how Travis dealt with a world under the early stages of an infection that turns the dead into brain-munching zombies. If you want to see the actor’s work again or just looking to power-watch the AMC series, “Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season” will be released on DVD on Dec. 1.
The series, created by Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead”) and Dave Erickson (“Sons of Anarchy”), premiered in August as the top show in cable history. The 2-disc sets includes the six episodes, character bios as well as “A Look at the Series.”
Curtis playing his character as the last bastion of what’s best about humanity came from conversations he had with the producers when the series started. He knows there are some viewers who have been frustrated by his actions.
“They want him to be a badass and take some action. That’s not my guy,” Curtis says.
The final episode of the first season does offer some clues Travis has the potential to be strong. That episode takes his character from a brutally physical moment to a heart-breaking scene.
Curtis is happy the character has been allowed to play such extremes because that’s what motivates him as an actor. Getting to play a broad range of emotions is a workout and challenge for Curtis. He compares it to participating in a sporting event with a stronger opponent.
It’s also been a surprise that the series has given him so many dramatic moments. Curtis wasn’t aware of “The Walking Dead” genre so he was a little concerned his new series would be heavy on action. Instead, he’s found the show to be a great acting experience.
And, there are zombies. Rolling out the groaning killers came slowly but that changed dramatically by the sixth episode.
Having only six episodes in a season is very different from the norm as most have either 22 or 13. Curtis stressed that the small number hasn’t kept the team from putting together as much character development, emotions and story as one of the longer offerings.
Curtis is anxious to get back to work because he’s treated his acting career as if he were a tradesman like a plumber or builder. The New Zealand native has to do at least two projects every year just to keep his acting skills sharp.
So far along with ‘Fear the Walking Dead,” Curtis has starred in the TV shows “Gang related,” “Missing” and “Trauma” along with the films “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Whale Rider.” He has a production company that is producing TV shows and films.
The cast of “Fear the Walking Dead” also includes Frank Dillane, Mercedes Mason, Ruben Blades, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Lorenzo James Henrie. The second season will on AMC with 15 new episodes early in 2016.
Curtis has no idea what’s coming in the second season.
“They tell us nothing. I ask if they will please let me know a little of what’s going on and they might give me a teaser but nothing else,” Curtis says. “So I just embrace the fluidity and enjoy the fun of it.”