One of the toughest members of the Saviors is Negan’s right hand woman Arat. The actress who plays Arat talks about the Saviors, The Walking Dead, and what it’s like to be on the biggest show on television.
Elizabeth Ludlow, the actress who plays Arat on The Walking Dead grew up in Savannah, Ga. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Theater. She auditioned for the show several times but didn’t find a role that was the right fit.
Now she’s playing the perfect role as one of Negan’s trusted lieutenants in the Saviors. Even though the Saviors are the “bad guys” she said it’s fun to be one of the “bad guys” on the show.
She was a fan of the show previous to auditioning but wasn’t up to speed on the story when she auditioned. So she went into the role not really knowing the depth of the story that she ended up being part of.
Now Arat is a permanent part of TWD Family and is experiencing firsthand the intense devotion of fans around the world.
Despite the fact that Arat killed another fan favorite, Olivia, in the Walking Dead Season 7 midseason finale the actress is getting a lot of love from fans on Twitter and social media.
She said that the experience of being on the show has been a little overwhelming. But she’s gotten a lot of kindness and support of the cast as well as attention from fans.
She’s happy to be a part of the show and TWDFamily. And she’s thrilled to be portraying another strong and capable woman in a world where it would be easy for women to be seen as weak or powerless. Here are some of the highlights from our chat:
While she couldn’t give away too much of Arat’s story she said that Arat has a combination of respect and loyalty to Negan. She’s Team Negan all the way. But like most of the Saviors she serves Negan out of fear as well as respect. “No one thinks Negan is their friend.” Is how she summed up the complicated emotional tie that Arat has to Negan.
In The Walking Dead world everyone has a story. Arat, like the other characters, is motivated primarily by survival. She’s not really a true believer in the Saviors mission to restore civilization.
She wants to survive, and live well. Arat is a fierce fighter and she’s proud of what she’s accomplished in the Saviors.
Arat is now a leader in the Saviors but she didn’t start that way. She worked her way up through the ranks and has earned her position as one of Negan’s trusted fighters. She is a tough leader and a strong fighter and is proud of that.
Rick and Team Family
Arat would probably not use the extreme tactics that Negan has used on Rick and the Alexandrians. But she doesn’t hate the group. Arat sees the Alexandrians as a means to end. The Saviors need to survive, and that means getting what they need from other communities.
Arat supports Negan’s actions against Rick and the Alexandrians because they are a tougher group than the Saviors have been up against before.
The Kingdom reached a peaceful agreement with the Saviors to give up half of their supplies early on. The Hilltop has mostly been cooperative. Rick and the Alexandrians are the first group that has really pushed back against the Saviors.
Why She Killed Olivia
Of course this is the question that she’s been asked the most lately. According to Elizabeth Arat chose Olivia because she had interacted with Olivia before and thought she lied about the guns.
In “Service” when the Saviors were going through the armory and the gun count was off Arat was convinced that Olivia did know about the missing guns and lied about it so she didn’t trust her.
When Negan told her to kill someone in retaliation for Rosita shooting Lucille she zeroed in on Olivia because she didn’t like her and didn’t trust her. Olivia slapping Negan may have played a small role in that decision too.
Loyalty to Negan
Arat’s loyalty to Negan is more about survival than ideology. She’s a lone wolf who found out quickly that in The Walking Dead world numbers are the key to survival.
So when she found the Saviors she was glad to join a group that had hundreds of people in it. More people of course means a better chance of surviving.
She was also drawn to Negan’s leadership because of the hierarchy and the rules that keep order in Sanctuary. Negan’s complete intolerance for rape or sexual violence was important to her as a woman trying to survive in a hostile world.
And in Sanctuary women are not relegated to traditional gender roles. Women like Arat that want to be fighters can be. Women that aren’t afraid of killing or getting their hands dirty can serve as soldier and be successful.
Arat worked hard to rise up through the ranks of the Saviors. She’s proud of her position of authority within the Saviors.
Playing a Strong Female Character
The majority of the female characters on The Walking Dead are strong women who are totally capable fighters as well leaders. That’s not often the case on TV shows. Especially on genre shows. Elizabeth was excited to join the cast and bring another strong female character to the mix.
Elizabeth said that throughout her career she’s been offered many roles that she felt didn’t portray women in a positive way. She turned those down.
It’s important to her as an actress to choose roles that reflect the strength, resilience and complexity of women. Arat is a female character that has the qualities she wants to see female characters have.
For women, especially women of color, it’s important to see role models on TV and in films that portray women as strong and capable. The women in The Walking Dead are more than just eye candy. They are fully developed characters that don’t depend on men to save them.
They are important contributors to their communities. As leaders and fighters they reflect the diversity of women and show women that they can survive in any situation, no matter how bleak the situation is.
The Cast And Crew
Elizabeth said that she was a little intimidated at first to come into an established show where the cast already had a strong connection with each other. But the cast and crew went out of their way to welcome her from the start.
Andy Lincoln came over to her and introduced himself right away. And Norman Reedus shared a sandwich with her. Everyone on set was welcoming and friendly. She felt like part of the family right away.
The Walking Dead fans are intensely passionate and loyal. That can be a little overwhelming for people joining the show. Elizabeth said she did get some negative comments on social media. But mostly she’s gotten a lot of support and love from fans.
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She’s hoping to start appearing at cons and getting out to meet the fans. So TWDFamily be sure to let convention organizers know that you want them to start inviting her to cons like Walker Stalker.
She couldn’t say exactly how much more fans will get to see of Arat but hopefully Arat will be around for a while. Elizabeth is also appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. She hopes to continue playing action oriented roles on TV and in films.