There’s a reason that the name “Patrick” was trending last Sunday night, and it has to do with The Walking Dead.
For the new season of our favorite zombie apocalypse show, Vincent Martella (a familiar voice to Phineas and Ferb fans) joined in on the fun to play survivor, Patrick. And good ol’ Patrick was many things. He was a new friend to Carl, he was interested in the local girls, he was someone who wore round, nerdy glasses and idolized Daryl Dixon. And he was someone who got sick… And then he was someone who coughed into a water supply, and turned into a walker without being bitten.
That changes the rules of the game on The Walking Dead.
Plus, Patrick is a walker who is locked in the prison with a bunch of sleeping people with their guards down as they peacefully dream of a world with Starbucks, again.
Eager to ask about those Harry Potter glasses, the memorable handshake, and how you hold in atomic spoilers for a show this big, Small Screen Scoop talked with Martella to get the scoop.
Vincent Martella Interview
Small Screen Scoop (SSS): Hi, thanks so much for talking with us today. And how are you feeling today after last night’s big premiere?
VM: I’m feeling pretty good. There’s been a pretty good, overwhelmingly positive response to the season premiere. And I guess it broke their previous record of viewership form the season 3 finale. The season 4 premiere did amazing, I heard. And that’s fantastic.
SSS: I even saw the name Patrick trending on Twitter after the show aired on the West Coast.
VM: Was it really?
SSS: Yea, so that was pretty cool. Now, when we started the new season last night we saw Carl had two new friends his age – including Patrick – and now one is dead and Patrick is a zombie. Do you think adults fare a better shot in staying alive on the show?
VM: I don’t know if that’s the case. I think everybody has the same amount of risk factor with staying alive on a show like The Walking Dead. I think it just depends on what’s gonna work best for the story that they’re going for, and the plot that they’re working on. I think it really has to depend on what they’re going for story-wise.
SSS: Do you think Carl’s gonna be upset about Patrick and his other friend?
VM: I will say that what occurs with Patrick over the course of the first episode – and him meeting his demise, and the way he met his demise – will serve as a catalyst for a lot of issues, emotionally, mentally and physically for a lot of the survivors’ in the prison. Not just Carl. I think what happened in the premiere episode is certainly going to have quite a bit of impact for what’s to come.
SSS: After you were cast as Patrick, what were your first questions about the character?
VM: My first question about him was the relationship he was gonna have with the other people in the prison and how he interacts with him. And what it means for him to interact with him. I felt like that was very important, and so did Greg Nicotero, the director, and Scott Gimple, who runs the show and wrote this episode. I feel like the connection between the character is always a very important part of The Walking Dead. That’s the core thing for these characters, and what drives them. So, I needed to figure out how I was gonna interact with these other people and what the significance of my relationship with Carl is – how he views me… and how I view him. And hopefully that came off well in the opening episode. Hopefully, people got a sense of who my character was before he met his demise. (Laughs.)
SSS: I think we did. He was a nice guy, and very sweet. I read that you were a big fan of the show when you came in, what is something you noticed on the set that surprised you?
VM: I think the surprise to me was the scale of the set – of the prison. I thought that maybe it would be in pieces, not just an entire prison built out there. The set was incredible, it’s really jaw-dropping. So that was something I wasn’t quite expecting, to be in this massive set that they did just a wonderful job building.
SSS: I wear glasses, so I think about this a lot… how do you think Patrick kept his glasses from being smashed for so long with all the zombies?
VM: You know…during the apocalypse, you sometimes get away with saving a few things that don’t get ruined. For example, Rick’s hat has remained with Carl for a very long time without being destroyed. I wanna say that they’ve gone some worse times than Patrick has probably seen. So whether those glasses are his own, or if he had to pick them up along the way…because they are an older style glasses…they’re not meant to be very modern and young…they are supposed to look older and a style that has been kind of forgotten. So I think it’s sort of left up to interpretation as to whether he had to pick them up along the way, or if he had these weird glasses his whole life… ’cause I think it adds something to his character, and his kind of awkwardness and his odd level of maturity that he has.
SSS: I’ve seen some of those glasses coming back into style.
VM: I’m gonna credit myself for having them coming back!
SSS: They called you a Harry Potter lookalike on The Talking Dead-
VM: I saw that!
SSS: Do you ever get that without the glasses?
VM: No, no, I never really get that.
SSS: How many times did you have to shake Norman’s (Reedus) hand in that beginning scene?
VM: Maybe …total, 10-20 times. For different angles that we shot. He was actually not licking his fingers in all of the scenes. I’m glad they kept that the one that they did of him doing that. That was something Norman ended up doing on the spot because he felt that that would be something that Daryl would be, cause obviously Norman know his character incredibly well. And it was very funny because after a couple takes of it, Greg Nicotero came in at one point and was like, ‘did you ASK Vincent if you could be spitting all over his hand?, that’s very gross.’ And Norman was like, ‘no.’ (Laughs) And I was like, it’s fine – I don’t care. I think it works!
SSS: It’s brought about a lot of theories about how Patrick got sick.
VM: That was one of the things that was read into in the script of all of us when we were shooting…there’s a lot of plays on the mystery of where it’s coming from in the first episode, and this gives more to that in that episode. And it all alludes to people guessing as to what’s exactly going on…which will be revealed later. This is something that played for so many reasons, that Norman decided to do, and everybody loved it because it ads so many layers to what’s going on in the scene.
SSS: We know you can’t reveal spoilers, and we won’t even ask you to. But how hard is it to not reveal spoilers?
VM: It’s kind of really cool that I have all this knowledge and these secrets that I can’t tell people about. But it’s also difficult sometimes, like, when talking to someone who’s interviewing you…(with the) tiniest things that you say and how huge fans of walking dead will be like ‘WHAT DID THIS MEAN?!’. (Laughs) People care about this show so much.
SSS: I think it’s a show very much worth caring about.
VM: I do, too.
SSS: Well, you know so much that you’re obviously a true fan of the series, and it’s great that they put you on it. To wrap up our chat….you also have a new movie coming up, called “Clinger” – can you tell us about your character in that?
VM: Yea! Clinger is a throwback to 1980’s horror films…little bit campy, got a bit of heart to them, but still incredibly gorey and big and fun. And the idea behind this film is …I play a character who is dating this young lady, and he ends up meeting a horrible death and then decides to come back and haunt her as much as he can because he’s still in love with her. It’s a lot of fun.
– > Stay with the Small Screen Scoop TV Blog for more exclusive celebrity interviews, and lots of coverage for AMC’s new season of The Walking Dead.
One of our favorite sections of our interviews is hearing what the interviewer felt like the subject was like, here our Jessica Rae describes Vincent Martella: “He was very upbeat, and there was a positive energy in his voice and with his friendliness. You don’t always get that from people when they’ve been fielding interview questions for half of the day. I’ve never seen Phineas and Ferb, but if I was expecting any sort of young actor, that’s not what I got. Vincent is actually 21…according to my Google search, and he presented himself as youthfully un-jaded, despite his years of experience in the Hollywood circus, but he also gave very thoughtful answers that were succinctly satisfying. And I say that last part, because with a show like The Walking Dead, he couldn’t exactly speak to many spoilers about the show or his character! All in all, he was really sweet and fun. And he gives good ‘zombie face’!” (Editor’s Note: See below.)