The Walking Dead's Eleanor Matsuura: 'That’s a lot of zombies!'

2019-02-08 08:34
eleanor matsuura

Cape Town – As the most pirated show in 2018, according to TorrentFreak, it’s easy to understand why The Walking Dead has such a major fanbase.

For 9 years stans have been following the zombie drama series to see who can survive in the new world after the apocalypse.

The first half of season 9 saw viewers devastated at the exit of Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, but the second half will prove there is life after the former sheriff’s leadership.

READ NEXT: Andrew Lincoln on shooting his final Walking Dead scenes: 'I broke the set'

In a Q&A with Channel24, newcomer to the show Eleanor Matsuura gives the inside scoop on her entrance to the show, how scary The Whisperers really are, her top three Zombie Apocalypse survival tips and more!


Eleanor joins as Yumiko – a vital character in the comics who arrives at Alexandria with a small group led by her girlfriend, Magna (Nadie Hilker).

“I love Yumiko so much! I put so much of myself into her,” Eleanor says of her character.

She adds that while Yumiko is a little calmer than she is, she absolutely loves her qualities.

“She’s a bit calmer than me maybe, I’m a little more impatient, but I can relate so much to her qualities because she’s very much like me. She’s a fighter and she’s incredibly loyal to her friends and family – she’ll fight ‘til death for them and I love those qualities about her.”


Speaking about joining such a massive show, Eleanor can’t help but gush about how welcome she felt, saying: “The experience has been incredible and so extraordinary. I have never felt so welcome.”

The actress adds that while there is a certain kind of pressure that comes with joining such a popular show, so many of the cast and crew, who have been working on the show since it first started, made her feel right at home.

“There is a lot of pressure joining a show that is so beloved by so many people, but I have been lucky enough to not feel that pressure yet because everybody has been so welcoming and accepting.”

Joining the cast of a show nine seasons in, you'd think the star surely watched the series - but that wasn’t the case for Eleanor.

The 35-year-old reveals she had not watched “a single episode” of The Walking Dead until she knew she was hired.

“I hadn’t watched a single episode until I knew that I had got the job. And then I was like, ‘Oh god! I’ve got to go and watch all eight seasons of the show.’”

She further reveals that it took her two-and-a-half-weeks to binge watch eight seasons and she loved every minute of it – particularly the female characters.

“I binge-watched all eight seasons in like two-and-a-half weeks, which is a lot of zombies in a short amount of time. I loved it.”


Commenting on her favourite actress/character, Eleanor speaks highly of one in particular: "Melissa [McBride] is an insanely brilliant character and a wonderful actress and I liked her immediately."

Further elaborating on how impressed by the female presence in the show she is, Eleanor says: "The women on The Walking Dead are ridiculous, I was just so impressed by how the show is so representational and diverse, which I love. And they have such complex characters as well, which you see more on TV now, but not so much when the series actually started."


We all know the final episode of season 9 part 1 ended on a cliffhanger so, without any spoilers, what can viewers expect next?

“You can expect incredible new baddies, that’s the thing that I will say,” Eleanor says carefully.

“Everyone knows by now that The Whisperers are coming but you don’t know what they are yet, I think you’re still working out, ‘What is the threat? Why are they so scary? What’s happening here?’ and I think that mystery is brilliant – the mystery is what makes them so terrifying.”

Sharing a little more about Yumiko, Eleanor reveals that viewers will get to see more of her and Magna “put themselves out there and go on missions and help people in order to prove their worth to the community”.


If it were up to Eleanor, there are three things one needs to make it through the Zombie Apocalypse and it includes “a good weapon, a good crew and quick thinking”. 

“First and foremost, choose a good weapon. Make sure your weapon is amazing and that you’re good at it, no matter what it is, whether it’s a cool bow and arrow like mine or a lamp shade.

“Second, find a good crew. Make sure that you’re rolling with some pretty cool people who’ve got your back so that you’re always protected and also so that you can have a laugh every now and then.

“And finally, be a quick thinker. You’ll have to think on your feet all the time so, be prepared to change a plan, be prepared to roll with it, be prepared to run fast, be prepared to hide.”

The Walking Dead season 9 B starts on Monday, 11 February at 20:45 on FOX (DStv 125).

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