Tales of the Walking Dead wrapped up its first season Sunday with a trippy episode that focused on a young couple claiming a house as their own after its owner dies.
Thanks to some ghostly occurrences, it quickly became a battle for survival.
Danny Ramirez, who played Eric, is no stranger to the franchise.
Ramirez revealed that he did 10 sessions for Telltale’s The Walking Dead videogame.
He was set to play Javier.
“I played Javier before they aged him up,” Ramirez said with a laugh.
“I had been in the world for a moment,” he said, before revealing that working on Tales of the Walking Dead felt like a redemption arc for him.
Danny liked that his episode was unattached to anything else in The Walking Dead universe.
“It feels like I went in and did a one-hour mini-movie,” the actor said while crediting the writer (Lindsey Villarreal), the director (Deborah Kampmeier), Daniella Pineda (Idalia), and Julie Carmen (Alma) for making it such a great experience.
The star believed his episode subverts expectations because it’s different from anything the franchise has done in the past.
“What you visually get to see is a different genre, but the audience gets to visually see thoughts that could be happening in this same world,” Danny shares.
“There are people that have lost their minds in The Walking Dead. Some people have had visions. We just don’t see them manifested through their perspective,” he added.
“What allowed us to bend the genre was just being able to visually see what someone was like imagining things.”
“It was cool to jump into that genre, and more so, the horror space and the haunted house.”
Eric made himself home relatively quickly, not thinking that someone had died when he and Idalia arrived.
Danny said that after spending so many years on the road, Eric sought a place to call home.
I asked him what it was like to get into the mindset of someone exhausted by being on the road for so long.
He credits a book called Endure, which helped him in many ways.
“At the same time, I was physically preparing to be on the Men’s Health cover. And so I had less food intake, and I was reading about the lengths that we’re able to push our bodies to,” he said, adding that the body must rest.
“Even after you’ve broken down several mental barriers, rest is always needed by the body. And I think for being on the road for so long, anything with four walls and a roof, it’s just one of the things we need.”
“We need food, we need substance, and we need a place to call Home. From the beginning of time, even cavemen, they just needed a cave,” he said.
Danny liked that just when it seemed like they got something they may not have been able to before the world fell, things come up to the surface we don’t expect.
“Homes were really expensive, so I think the romantic notion of having a home with your partner and they’ve gone through so many traumas and psychological things that have affected their psychology,” he added, stating that the toxic traits could have been below the surface because they were focused on survival.
“They would probably be seeing a therapist if they were back in the world before it ended,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez was working on Top Gun: Maverick before landing the role in Tales of the Walking Dead, so I asked how he compared saving the world via fighter jets to zombies.
Danny pointed out that Tom Cruise was clear that Top Gun: Maverick was a competition movie first and foremost.
“It’s a squadron competition movie,” he recalled Cruise saying, adding that if he were to compare the two projects, it’s that they both push the limits of what is possible.
“I was able to push my body and my limits to a place that I never imagined,” Danny recalled, adding that having Eric on the ground allowed him to approach the character differently than LT Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia in the hit movie.
“What does that change in a person? And, what levels and what limits does he break through from where he was at?”
Ramirez can currently be seen in Look Both Ways on Netflix. This year, he also has Root Letter and Chestnut on tap for the big screen.
He is also in pre-production on Captain America: New World Order.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.