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Ross Marquand is very much like a human chameleon. His impressions of other actors are so spot-on, in fact, that Marvel Studios tapped him to play Hugo Weaving playing Red Skull in the last two Avengers films (Infinity War and Endgame). He later return to the MCU as the voice of Ultron (approximating James Spader) in the What If...? anthology series on Disney+. The man has a treasure most of us do not possess: the uncanny skill of emulating speech patterns and facial expressions to a degree most people can only ever dream of.
Since 2015, Marquand has played Aaron on AMC's The Walking Dead, ostensibly picking up new impressions of his co-stars along the way. SYFY WIRE recently had an opportunity to chat with a number of the show's cast members and we posed the question of who he imitates most on set. "It’s who he won't imitate, is really the question," declared Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel). "Because for some reason, he will not do Norman Reedus and he does a brilliant Norman Reedus. He'd rather do Donald Trump."
"I've done an impression of Norman for years before I even met him," added Marquand. "But my policy is usually to not do impressions of people once I start working with them. But realistically, I think Seth is right, it’s Norman that I do the most. But I also do a lot of Donald Trump on set, because I just find his voice endlessly fascinating. And Seth hates it when I do it, of course, but I gotta."
Josh Hamilton (the late Lance Hornsby) admitted that he's always requesting an impersonation of Peter Falk, which prompted Marquand to launch into a perfect mimicry of the Columbo actor.
Only four episodes of the flagship series remain as our longtime heroes prepare for a final standoff with the Commonwealth and its power-hungry leader, Pamela Milton. She's played by Laila Robbins (who couldn't be nicer in real life), whose penchant for imposing and hard-nosed characters extends to the role of Grace Mallory on Amazon's The Boys.
"It is challenging," Robbins admitted when asked about navigating both characters between the two mega-franchises. "If you're doing a character over many seasons and you don't see that group for six months or something, it is kind of like, ‘Who am I? How is this different from the other gal I played?’ Because I do tend to play pretty powerful, officious-type gals. So it's like, ‘Well, how is she different from the other one I play?’ It's a lot of fun, but it's always a bit of a turn to go, ‘Oh, yeah, this one is this and that one’s that.’ To sort of get it all straight, as you come to the set to work. But they're both very fun characters and I like to boss people around, what can I tell you?"
Despite Pamela's plan to exile citizens of Alexandria from the Commonwealth and sentence them to hard labor, the governor still faces major dissent from her own legal counsel, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsura), who will publicly defend Eugene (Josh McDermitt) against charges relating to the death of Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson).
"There were so many moments ... where I would look around the set and the scene that we were shooting and have to remind myself what show I was on," Matsura explained. "I was like, ‘This is the same show I've been on for the past four years, right? Because I do not feel like I'm on the set of The Walking Dead.’ This is so new and so cool that we can veer into this kind of…almost like a new genre. It’s surprising and it’s very, very cool."
New episodes of The Walking Dead premiere on AMC every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. AMC+ subscribers can access them a week early.
If you're looking to satisfy your zombie craving immediately, head over to Peacock and check out the movie that kickstarted the entire genre: George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Or check out the SYFY original series, Day of the Dead.