Interview: Paola Lazaro on Princess’ PTSD, Memories on Crafting “Splinter” and Meeting Michael James Shaw

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Paola Lazaro has had a great time playing as The Princess on The Walking Dead. The funny, bubbly personality of the charismatic character is a bright spot in the dark world. But on tonight’s episode “Splinter”, The Princess is in a dark place.

I recently got the chance to speak with Paola Lazaro about the episode. We also go over what is to come for the character in the future, the possible Mercer pairing, and more on this exclusive interview

What went through your head when it was discovered that Princess beat up that Commonwealth soldier and not Ezekiel?

PL: “I think it was like blind rage. Princess went on overdrive and reverted back to being a child and feeling like she had no agency or control of her life. In the moment when she sees the soldier and she’s able to have control over something, she goes overboard with that control. I think that is a result of trauma and PTSD from her childhood.”

This episode really explored Princess’ PTSD and mental health. How did you get into the mindset of a person that went through what she went through after seeing her as a fun and expressive character? 

PL: “Comedic characters tend to be comedic because they have a dark past that they can use to lighten and create comedy out of their dark past or dark reality. And for me, I am a very light, fun, and welcoming person. But I also have my dark side too. So I had to tap in both those worlds and for me, it was exciting to tap into her dark side because it explains why she is so bubbly. It is her defense mechanism to be big, funny and loud even though it comes from fear and pain.”

Eleanor could not be physically there for this episode, can you tell me how her voice was used for your scene talking to her? 

PL: “The production crew asked me who I wanted to read her role that we were shooting my part of the scene. I asked Khary to do it. What we did is Khary, Eleanor, and I got together on facetime to go over the scene to see what Eleanor, Khari, and I wanted to bring out in the moment. It was really beautiful that we got together in that way so we can have each other’s presence in that moment. Eleanor, Khary, Josh, and I are super tight, and we are so supportive of each other and I am grateful for that.”

On issue #175, it was Lance that asked the questions to the group at the trainyard. On Splinter, it is a Commonwealth soldier. Did the soldier have a name because fans might mistake him as Lance?

PL: “I love working with the actors. I do not remember the soldier having a name when we all went over the script. But working with the actor was fantastic and he was really great and fun to work with. It was also a very physical scene and you have to be very respectful with your scene partner and very respectful with each other especially when it is physical. He was just great to work with”

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Going into this episode, did you know early on of the plot of who it would explore Princess’ mind of what was going on over what really happened? 

PL: “I receive the episode once it is written and once it is approved by various people and groups. When I got it, I read it while I was in my bathtub. While I was reading it, all the sudden the twist comes. It is well written, that I did not know it was going to happen until I finished reading it. That is how well these writers craft their work and I was completely blown away.”

Comic readers and fans cannot wait to see Princess and Mercer team up. Without giving too much away since you are part of the upcoming season that recently started filming, any hints of this popular pair up could happen in season 11? 

PL: “I have no idea what is in stored for the two of them because we have not filmed a scene together yet! I have meet Michael J. Shaw and he is fantastic. I am hopeful to have scenes with him in the future because I love their relationship in the comic book. I think it is unique and specific to the two of them. I think that they are such different characters and they are an exciting duo.”

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Julian Cannon

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