The Walking Dead: Exclusive Interview with Michael Traynor


Michael Traynor is quite a character! And I don’t mean the one he plays on The Walking Dead. Mr. Traynor is a bit of a wildcard on social media. I see him tweeting with a big heart regarding sociaI consciousness. Then there are times I wonder if he’s messing with us. For instance, are we really to believe he’d be a better bat boy than softball player? And it only takes a zany Instagram photo to reveal his silly side. Or, check out his ongoing banter with #TWD alum Steve Coulter @coulter 28 (“Reg”) on Twitter — very entertaining! And, by all means, don’t miss out on his Instagram pics of his adorable dog, Baxter. Go ahead…..Awww!

Then you have Nicholas, the character he plays on The Walking Dead. I don’t think I’d venture outside the walls with him voluntarily. Nicholas may be jovial at times, but he has proven to be quite reckless and cowardly when it comes to dealing with walkers. His cowardice in the revolving door scenario results in Noah’s death. And then we have the stunt he tries to pull with Glenn in the season finale. Enough is enough, right? At season end, Nicholas has a whole host of viewers wanting to punch him in the face and use him for walker bait! But our beloved and heroic Glenn gives him yet another chance and they hobble towards the “safe zone”. Does Nicholas have a chance at redemption? Might he and Glenn actually become comrades? Will the truth come out that he lured Glenn outside the walls and tried to kill him — twice?? We’re going to have to wait until October for any answers to such questions about Nicholas.

Meanwhile, we CAN get some answers about Michael Traynor and how he approaches his portrayal of Nicholas. I had the great pleasure of corresponding with Michael recently about his hobbies, fan experiences, and more. Enjoy this opportunity to learn more about him!

We don’t know what the future holds for Nicholas, but from all your acting experiences, is it more fun to play a villain or a hero? And why so?

"“Give me the villain any day! Usually, they have some of the best writing in a project, for one. And, for two, they are inherently more complex to figure out, hence more intriguing to play. Often with more heroic roles, the “why” behind their actions is fairly clear and straight forward — they do the heroic or good thing because that is the right thing to do. BUT how fun is it when a villain does something good? Or does something so dastardly that you can’t possibly fathom the “why”?Photo by Gene Page/AMCWe don’t totally understand the motivations of questionable or villainous characters. We keep asking ourselves “WHY DID THEY DO THAT?”…and it is thrilling to play a character that makes people yell that at the screen! Yes, villains all day, every day….Unless, I get asked to play Green Lantern. I’ll do that. Sure. Although, not holding my breath.”"

Fans are fiercely protective and devoted to all members of the #TWDFamily. What type of experience have you had with this fan love so far?

"“Nothing, but warm fuzzy feelings. The folks that I’ve had a chance to interact with, whether on the social media fronts or in person, have all been ridiculously cool. Sure, there are a few people who start off the conversation with “Man, I f—ing haaaaaaaate you!” but they say it with a smile, then dive into some very kind compliments about what I’ve been able to bring to the show. It’s fun to have a character that drives ya a bit nuts. I’m the first to agree with that, and super proud to offer that service.”"

What has been your favorite aspect of fan conventions?

"“I knew I would dig hanging with like-minded people and lovers of TWD, yet I had no inkling about how impressed I would be with the Costume Play aspect of conventions. There was a group, who I met at the London Film And Comic Convention, that had the whole gang — A Rick, a Glenn, Eugene, Maggie, ALL OF THEM! And they looked great and had an awesome sense of play. I’ve seen a lot of the same at The Walker Stalker Conventions, too. Love seeing that creativity. This show is a special phenomenon and I feel it’s lovely for the fanbase to have a sense of expression and interaction that the conventions offer. It’s downright nifty!”"

Are there other aspects of your career that #TWD fans may not be familiar with, or other projects you want to share with them?

"“My life is pretty Walking Dead-centric as of late, which is a wildly awesome thing to say…but I still find time to indulge in my original art form de jour — dance. I used to be a professional dancer — Jazz, Tap, Ballet, some Hula and, occasionally, Pole. Actually, when I’m not shooting, I go about town promoting a lil’ revue I’m doing called “Less Than Magic Mike” — an all-male “Dad Bod” stripper show. We’re not in good shape like those Magic Mike guys, but the show is half-the-price — a total Win/Win Situation!”"

**(Do you see how his jokester side sneaks right up on ya??)**

What other talents or hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

"“Well, outside of the above Male Stripping, I do like to read a whole heap. Just finished a marvelous, and quietly life changing tome called Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. It spins a tale of an actual kidnapping of a German General in World War II against impossible odds by a rag-tag group of British and Greek soldiers. And in doing so, the book explores what the roots of Heroism truly are in Western Culture, and offers examples of how one could live, think, exercise and eat to enhance one’s own “heroic” nature. Trust me…after playing “Nicholas”, this guy needs to encourage a little heroism in his life any way he can!”"

Finally, for a little random bit of fun, who do you think is better at board games, Nicholas or Glenn? And why?

"“Oh, come on! Such an easy question! Nicholas would kick Glenn’s butt at any board game….Because Nicholas would cheat his ass off! Boom! Game, point, match, NICHOLAS!!”"

Many thanks to Michael for allowing us to get to know him better and for sharing insight into his portrayal of Nicholas. I’m still on the fence about #TeamNicholas, but let me be the first to embrace #TeamTraynorland! To keep up with Michael and his event schedule, you can follow him on Twitter @traynorland. I hope you will share your fan love for Michael in the Comments section.

Next: Walking Dead 50 most shocking moments and deaths

More from Undead Walking