Meet Martinez who plays Savior David on The Walking Dead

Ross Marquand as Aaron - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Ross Marquand as Aaron - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Savior David, or Davey as Negan calls him, has been in some very memorable scenes in The Walking Dead season 7. David is played by actor Martinez whom I had the pleasure of interviewing recently.

Fellow Undead Walking writer Tameche joined me for the interview with Martinez. Much like Jayson Warner Smith who plays fellow Savior Gavin, Martinez met us with a great big hug.  Those Saviors are really just big teddy bears, right?

We sat down and listened as Martinez shared all kinds of interesting details about his character, his audition process, and inside scoop on the filming of pivotal scenes. We also learned that he, too, is a very big fan of The Walking Dead.

actor Martinez Photo credit: Bobby Quillard
actor MartinezPhoto credit: Bobby Quillard /

Who is David?

  • David is the Savior who harasses Enid about her precious green balloons. We now know she was planning to use them as a marker on Glenn’s grave. Martinez shares that David uses the balloons as an excuse to “have some fun with this little girl because Davey is a creepy kind of guy”.
  • We also see David in the infirmary with Carl pointing a gun at him. Carl is angry about David and the other Saviors collecting ALL of the medications rather than just half. Negan gets Davey out of this precarious situation when he confronts Carl and Rick insisting that Carl hand over his gun.

    And David is the one who initiates the beating of Aaron when he finds “the note”.  Rick and Aaron have returned with supplies they took from a houseboat. Buried in one of the boxes is a note that reads “Congratulations on winning, but you still lose.” David is none too happy about the insulting note and slams Aaron against the truck before he and fellow Savior Gar beat him almost to  death.

    Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
    Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

    David is high in the ranks of Negan’s Saviors. Martinez shared that David is definitely one of the leaders of the Saviors operating in the Alexandria area, second only to Arat, who serves much like a field general for Negan directing the other Saviors. He went on to compare the leadership in their group to Simon leading in the Hilltop region and Gavin in the area of The Kingdom.

    We also see David in the back of the truck with Daryl when the Saviors leave Alexandria with their first visit’s loot. Martinez talked about having to help hide Norman Reedus when the truck pulls out of Alexandria! Of course, when this scene was filmed the premiere had not yet aired, so the fate of the characters in Negan’s lineup was still unknown.

    Related Story: Interview with Savior Arat, Elizabeth Ludlow

    Becoming David

    Martinez was a huge fan of The Walking Dead when he earned the role of David thanks to his sister-in-law Lindsay Robson.  She insisted that Martinez and wife Sarah watch the AMC hit. Martinez resisted at first just thinking it was all about the zombies. But after just watching the pilot, he was hooked.  Now Sunday evenings are a 3 hour family affair with his wife and cousins as they meet for dinner, watch the show, and digest it further with Talking Dead.

    So, along comes an audition for The Walking Dead, but not just for Martinez. His wife and fellow actor, Sarah Robson, received an audition for the very same part! The pair filmed their auditions at Sarah’s father’s house and anxiously waited to hear if one of them was cast.

    Neither of them was booked for that role, but Martinez was offered the role of David instead. Being a huge fan of the series already, Martinez was totally freaked out (in a good way!) when he received the news.  And, of course, Sarah was just as thrilled about the big news.

    By the way, if you are a fan of Supergirl, you will spot Martinez’s wife Sarah as Supergirl’s doctor in the series.

    Ross Marquand as Aaron, Lindsley Register as Laura, Martinez as David - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
    Ross Marquand as Aaron, Lindsley Register as Laura, Martinez as David – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

    It’s not about the note

    I asked Martinez if he could share the meaning behind his line “It’s not about the note” when David slams Aaron against the truck. He explained that it didn’t really matter if Aaron wrote the note or not. But David uses his displeasure with the note to make a point to Aaron about where Rick and gang fall in the hierarchy of their new existence.

    Martinez described the hierarchy as follows:

    "“You have Negan at the top, then the Saviors, then people who work for points, then zombies, then people they don’t even know about yet, and then Rick and gang [at the very bottom].It’s about setting the standard, power and domination, and letting them know ‘half your [stuff] belongs to me and half is what I say it is and you are what we say you are’.”"

    I asked Martinez if stunt coordinator Monty Simons was involved in filming the fight sequence. He shared some very interesting details about this scene with Aaron played by Ross Marquand.

    "“Monty is so awesome, I love Monty.Monty got involved, we did a lot of choreography a lot of rehearsal. Ross is wearing a lot of body armor. Even when I’m slamming him up against the truck he has a big back shield.Ross is such an amazing, gracious actor. Working with him was a real treat. We just kept checking in with him every take asking ‘Hey is this too hard? Do we go harder? Okay, now it’s a little bit painful.’ So they would bring in leg pads, back pads, and stunt doubles.The ground was so hot, we clocked the temperature of the concrete. It was 140 degrees and we tried to fry an egg on a manhole cover.”Martinez as David – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC"

    Martinez shared that the script supervisor, Amy Lacy, is in charge of all the continuity in the episode. He described her as “probably the best script supervisor I have ever personally worked with”.

    He also had a funny story to share about his own “continuity”!

    "“It’s funny because being from Florida and living in California I am used to the sun and heat. Everyone else on set is running to catch shade, but I want to stay and watch everything. And all of a sudden producers and directors are sending people up to me with an umbrella saying ‘you need to have this — you have to use this because you’re not going to match because your skin is getting darker’.Being Dominican and Puerto Rican, I can get really dark when I’m in the sun.”"

    A fan just like us

    One of the most fun things about Martinez is seeing how he is a fan just like us.

    He described a special encounter with Andrew Lincoln and trying to keep his cool.

    "“Normally I don’t watch a lot of TV, so my castmates are my co-workers. It’s just like if you work in a sales office.  You’re not all fan struck over the top salesperson. So, I’ve never had that problem before of [geeking out] over a co-worker.One day I’m in the makeup trailer and Andrew Lincoln is sitting in the next chair. I was just kind of going over my script. And then all of a sudden he looks over and says ‘You’re a bad dude, I was watching you.’ I was like ‘Thank you, I love your work. You’re an amazing actor.’ But inside I was freaking out!”"

    He shared a similar encounter with another one of his favorite actors, Melissa McBride.

    Martinez also confirmed what we have all heard about The Walking Dead cast being like a  family.

    "“Everyone on that set is just so kind, considerate, and caring. I’ve never been on a set where all the actors are so close-knit and caring. There is always a sense of family on a set but they are so close-knit and the way they look out for each other – I’ve never seen that on a show. They care about each other so much and it carries into the show as they survive like a family. Andrew Lincoln sets the example.”"

    More that relates us than divides us

    Martinez is the actor’s last name and the only name he goes by. I inquired about this choice and he shared that when playing sports growing up, most kids will call you by your last name.

    But mainly he chooses to go by only Martinez as a way of reminding people that there is “more that relates us than divides us”.

    actor Martinez Photo credit: Bobby Quillard
    actor MartinezPhoto credit: Bobby Quillard /

    He revealed that it has cost him some auditions, but it is very important to him that people recognize his heritage even if they might not recognize his ethnicity in his appearance. He explained how people can often have preconceived notions of what Latino or Hispanic men look like and that he does not fit that mold.

    He wants to combat those stereotypes and help people embrace their ethnicity.

    Making a new friend

    Tameche and I could not be fonder of Martinez and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. Give him a shout on social media.  His Twitter handle is @actorMartinez. As a fan himself, he really enjoys the interaction. We are so grateful to Martinez for spending time with us.

    Next: Interview with Savior Gavin, Jayson Warner Smith

    And one more thing, in regard to the second half of The Walking Dead season 7, Martinez has the following to say:

    “If you’re a big fan of action you will like this half!”

    Sounds good to me! The Walking Dead season 7 mid-season premiere airs this Sunday, 2/12 on AMC.