Fear the Walking Dead: Charlie – Alexa Nisenson interview

Alexa Nisenson as Charlie - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7 - Photo Credit: Lauren "Lo" Smith/AMC
Alexa Nisenson as Charlie - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7 - Photo Credit: Lauren "Lo" Smith/AMC /

Fear the Walking Dead has begun its final journey with its eighth and final season. The midseason finale aired on June 18, and there were many significant characters still unaccounted for after five episodes. One of those characters is Charlie, played by Alexa Nisenson since season 4. In June 2023, Nisenson took some time from her schedule to talk to us about her time on Fear the Walking Dead and playing Charlie.

Alexa Nisenson Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC
Alexa Nisenson Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC /

In season 7, Charlie was exposed to radiation and was very ill by the season finale. June (Jenna Elfman) used her medical skills to take the best care she could of her patient, but was it enough?

By the end of season 7, Charlie fled Texas on the rafts with the others as they sought out a new, safer place to live. In season 8, viewers learn that those rafts were set upon by PADRE’s guards and either relocated to PADRE or, like in Daniel’s (Ruben Blades) case, deemed useless and set into the swamps.

Charlie is still very young, and PADRE would see that she is a child and, according to their way of life, would want to protect her. But since she was so ill, perhaps not. Daniel did tell Madison (Kim Dickens) that, like his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) he wasn’t there for Charlie like he promised he would be. He didn’t say that she died only that she was very sick and he wasn’t with her.

Hopefully more will be revealed about Charlie’s fate before the end of the series.

Fear the Walking Dead resumes on AMC and AMC+ on October 22, 2023. The new episodes will premiere on Sundays on AMC+ at 3 a.m. ET and AMC at 9 p.m. ET.

Fear the Walking Dead – Alexa Nisenson interview

This interview was conducted in June 2023, before the SAG/AFTRA strikes.

Alexa Nisenson Fear the Walking Dead
Alexa Nisenson Fear the Walking Dead /

Undead Walking: What has been the most fun of filming a series set in an apocalypse? 

Alexa Nisenson: I love that question! A lot of people always want to ask what the most challenging aspect of filming a zombie apocalypse show is (and that’s a great question too) and I totally get it. It is challenging and it does come with some scenarios and situations that a lot of tv shows don’t deal with, but it does have its fun side too! We get to play around with so many different landscapes and so many cool abandoned buildings and it can actually be really inspiring when you are trying to create…to just let the surroundings guide you. And of course just to have the experience of “walkers” in a scene! And sometimes we film scenes where we use dozens of them at a time and it’s just sort of awe-inspiring and surreal to walk onto set and see them all – like hundreds of them – ready and in position and you just kind of stop in your tracks and go…this is some cool stuff I get to do!

UW: What is your favorite thing about Charlie? 

AN: Awwww yay! Thank you for asking this.  I think it’s pretty safe to say this…but Charlie has been one of, if not the most controversial and divisive characters of the series, so with that, I talk a lot about the challenges with Charlie. And the truth is…while Charlie did find herself struggling when we saw her last – struggling to redeem herself, struggling to find a place that felt safe, struggling to grow up in the most unimaginable world – and most recently struggling with her health – she has many strengths as well. I have my favorite things about her for sure. And they are super personal to me because Charlie has actually taught me so much about humanity. My favorite thing is her resilience. Absolutely. No matter what Charlie went through, she never gave up. She fights the good fight ya know? It would have been so easy for her to just give up. She had moments where she thought about giving up in season 4 but as we saw in “Close Your Eyes”, she kept fighting. She could have easily just run away or stopped trying to survive, but she didn’t. And even when her entire world seemed against her, she showed up. She protected her group and fought hard. She risked her life without even a pause countless times when the adults that were supposed to be protecting her, put her in harm’s way and used her for her skills. She had dignity and pride and of course through it all…remorse and regret. But despite all of that, she also had hope and empathy, and heart.  And I think for me personally, I would hope fans would agree that those things were evident in her as a character whether they rooted for Charlie or not.

UW: Since season 8 is the final season of Fear the Walking Dead? What will you miss the most? 

AN: I have pretty much grown up on this show. I joined season 4 at the beginning when I was 11. I just turned 17 – so filming this show and the people that are all part of it have and will always own a piece of my heart. I am so privileged that at my age I got to be part of this show and universe. My journey had a ton of ups and downs but I won’t ever take any of it for granted and I’m beyond grateful for the triumphs and the setbacks. I will really miss being part of this TWD world that reaches so far and wide and has so many different amazing parts to it. The Walking Dead universe is a special one. I think in some ways, we are all bonded. Whether you were on the original show or Fear or World Beyond or are now joining the new shows being done, you are forever connected to everyone else lucky enough to be part of this universe. Cast, crew, fans…we are this massive family that has all invested our hearts and souls into these stories that intertwine. It’s an incredible thing to be part of.

UW: Can you share any funny moments of your time on the series?

AN: I have so many. And I think if I listed any funny moment I ever had on the show over the course of five years, Colman Domingo was a part of them lol. Our show is intense…and dramatic and like any tv or film set, there is a ton of pressure every day on the crew specially to stay on schedule and get the shots and adapt to rewrites and create something special. But there were so many laughs and fun moments that I will remember always. Colman is an icon…period. I don’t think I have enough words to express my admiration and respect for him! And I think he really just…got me… on a personal level. I think he had this sense of when he needed to be big brotherly to me and offer love and support but also a sense of when I needed to laugh and get out of my head a little. Colman takes his art so seriously but at the same time has this way of brilliantly balancing fun and humor with intense, hard work and I will forever look up to him for that. When Colman and I had to film all the hot air balloon scenes in season 5, we laughed…a lot. I struggled to keep a straight face on some of those takes because seconds before they called action, Colman would be cracking me up.  But yeah, nobody could make our cast laugh like him and oh…omg Mo Collins too! And if they were together…omg it was hilarious.

UW: Charlie has endured a lot of heartache during her time in the series. As an actress, how do you prepare for these moments? 

AN: She really has. And sadly, I think because of how the character was established in season 4 – some of the struggles she has gone through and the heartache she has endured can get overlooked or diminished which can be challenging. It’s almost like because Charlie took a life – it’s perceived that she’s incapable of feeling remorse or regret or fear or sadness or even love and joy and comfort… but she feels all of those things rather deeply in my opinion. You know preparing for those moments for me personally just meant being incredibly present in those moments and allowing myself to forget aspects of Alexa’s life and immerse myself in Charlie’s life and any time I truly stopped to think about Charlie’s life and journey and where she was in that very moment, it all came pretty easily from there.

UW: If you didn’t play Charlie, what other Fear TWD character would you have liked to play? And why?

AN: Oh, that’s easy! Skidmark! For sure! Literally one of the only characters on the show where if you search Reddit threads is just totally beloved by all fans and not trash-talked…ever lol! That’s gotta feel good! In all seriousness, every character on the show is so complicated. So tortured. They all have a story to tell. They all have regrets and moments where they stepped up and did something heroic as well. I can’t really see myself as anyone other than Charlie though out of all the characters I have encountered.

UW: Charlie was gravely ill at the end of season 7. Can you tell us anything about her going into season 8? (You might not be able to answer this one, but I had to try)

AN: I love the effort though hahaha! Yeah you know I can’t answer that question in any way at all – but I think we have all said this line recently so I’ll be consistent and say it again…watch season 8 to find out!

UW: Besides Charlie, what has been your favorite role to play?

AN: Ooh, that’s hard. I’m pretty fortunate that at seventeen I’ve gotten to play such different kinds of roles – roles like Charlie and also roles like young Karen on “Will and Grace” (which was definitely a highlight of my life so far) and Georgia in “Middle School” which changed my life in the best way. Everyone involved with that movie is still such a huge part of my life. Playing Ally in “Fist Fight” might still be my favorite role so far. I’ll be scrolling TikTok and the talent show scene will come up on my for you page as someone’s TikTok and it just makes me smile that that scene is still so iconic and still circulating! So, yeah Ally might still be my favorite role ever!

UW: Do you have any upcoming projects you can share?

AN: I am so excited about the future and what’s to come. Some of it I can share right now but some of it I have to keep under wraps for a bit! I’m super excited that I am spreading my wings a little in the industry and have producer credits now. I am so happy to share that I have teamed up again with Kara Holden who wrote “Middle School The Worst Years Of My Life” and that makes me so happy I can’t even explain. Kara is not only immeasurably talented, but she is also one of the kindest humans I know!  Kara wrote the most incredible and brilliant podcast series! I am a producer on the podcast series and also starring in the series and I can’t wait for that to drop. We recorded the pilot recently and it’s just so good!

Thank you to Alexa Nisenson for taking the time to chat with Undead Walking. We can’t wait to find out Charlie’s fate!

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