Actor Tom Payne Discusses Playing Jesus on The Walking Dead

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Jesus is a beloved character on The Walking Dead. In an interview with AMC, actor Tom Payne discusses what it was like to receive the iconic role and how to adapt to working on such a beloved series.

“Well, when I first went for the role I didn’t know what I was auditioning for or what the part was, actually. When I got the part, I was frantically Googling who the person was, and it was then that I realized he was a big deal,” recalls Payne.

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Jesus in Season 7 on The Walking Dead

In Season 7 of The Walking Dead, Jesus has recently climbed into the back of a truck headed to see Negan where he discovers Carl is also a stowaway. He’s now known as the parkour-like free runner on the show, but in the beginning, it was difficult to tell whether he was good or bad for the gang.

For Payne’s first appearance, he was relatively unfamiliar with the story. “I was on set within a week and I didn’t have time to watch six years of the show or read 120 issues of the comic books. I actually left that until after I had done my first season on the show because I didn’t want it to cloud what we were doing on the show with the character.”

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC
The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Jesus the Fighter

Jesus is one of the more physically demanding characters on the show. In the episode where Maggie is back at Hilltop, Jesus has to fight several of the walkers with flying kicks. Tom Payne has discussed his fears and routines to stay active for these tougher shots to film.

“Well, fortunately, I’m still relatively young and I keep quite active, but I definitely had to go into training. I trained for about eight or nine weeks with Steven Ho in L.A., who has trained many others on the show. I was also doing a boxing class for my cardio.

I was pretty intent on making sure that everything you saw was stuff that I could do. I absolutely wanted to be the person who did it on the screen so that they didn’t have to bring in a stunt double.

We all got lucky when we realized I could actually jump around and do some kicks — and we managed to put that in the very first episode, which I’m very pleased with.”

Hopefully we’ll discover more about Jesus and what he discovers with Carl later this season. There are rumors that a bad fate awaits Carl but hopefully Jesus will be there to help out.

Do you enjoy the physical aspects of Jesus’ character on The Walking Dead?

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