Run For Your Life

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Fear the Walking Dead Mercedes Mason
Mercedes Mason as Ofelia

Mercedes Mason fights to survive on Fear The Walking Dead

On AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead, Mercedes Mason must stay one step ahead of a horde of bloodthirsty zombies at all times—but when the camera’s not rolling, she welcomes the show’s frenzied fans following her on-screen exploits.

“The fans are incredible, they’re like a different species. They are the most rabid, amazing supportive people,” said Mason, who plays Ofelia. “It’s a full community and they embrace you wholeheartedly. I remember when we did Comic Con in San Diego. We hadn’t even aired yet and even though the fans hadn’t seen anything, they already loved us.”

Mason is fortunate enough to work under the tutelage of Rubén Blades, who plays Ofelia’s father, Daniel. She said that Blades is not only sweet and funny, but is a joy to work with and learn from.

Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa, Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Mercedes Mason as Ofelia Salazar, Rubén Blades as Daniel Salazar, Kim Dickens as Madison Clark Photo by Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC
Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa, Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Mercedes Mason as Ofelia Salazar, Rubén Blades as Daniel Salazar, Kim Dickens as Madison Clark (Photo by Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC)

“He’s a legend. He’s such an icon,” she gushed of her on-screen father. “It’s fun to act opposite him because he takes the time to discuss scenes prior with you. It’s nice to work with someone who has been in the industry for so long.”

Mason’s connection to her character’s roots run deep. A proud, self-proclaimed Shakespeare nerd, Mason compares herself to Hamlet’s tragic Ophelia, drawing similarities when it comes to protective parents.

“I was raised by sheltering parents, but my parents are also immigrants, so I understand coming to a country where they don’t speak English well and you have an undying need to protect people,” said Mason, who was born in Linköping, Sweden, but came to America when she was 13. “When Ofelia discovers something unsettling about her father, her whole life feels like a lie, which I can relate to,” added Mason, who is a vegan and several years ago, found out that her father worked in a slaughterhouse as one of his many jobs.

Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar, Mercedes Mason as Ofelia and Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza - Photo by Justina Mintz/AMC)
Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar, Mercedes Mason as Ofelia and Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza (Photo by Justina Mintz/AMC)

A true beauty inside and out, Mason, although Swedish, plays a Latina character. In order to learn more about her character’s nationality, she hit the books.

“For me, it was more because I related so much to Ofelia, I had that in my blood,” she said. “I researched the El Salvadorian Civil War because I wanted to know the degradation of society. It was more the history of where Ofelia is from and the home life she would have had with her family.”

Mason has loved the progression of her character’s growth, and said that this season, she would love to see her become stronger.

“In the beginning, Ofelia was meek and quiet and naïve, and now we see her and she’s a total badass. It’s a nice arc,” said Mason, who wants her character to do a complete 180. “Our writers are great at writing well-rounded characters. They’ve pulled a lot of things from us to put into the character. They take suggestions but they see where you want to take your character.”

Alycia Debnam Carey as Alicia, Frank Dillane as Nick, Kim Dickens as Madison, Cliff Curtis as Travis, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza, Lorenzo James Henrie as Chris, Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar, Patricia Reyes Spíndola as Griselda Salazar and Mercedes Mason as Ofelia - Fear The Walking Dead _ Season 1, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Fear The Walking Dead cast (Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

Fear the Walking Dead wraps in July, and although she couldn’t share too many details about what is to come, Mason did say that the world’s fascination with death will be around for a while.

“When you think of zombies as catalyst for the degradation of the human condition, it’s popular worldwide for a reason,” she said. “People are fascinated by death in a weird sense. There’s always that proverbial monster under your bed waiting to come out.”

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.


For more Fear The Walking Dead, see What Are You Afraid Of?

https://liweekly.wpengine.com/what-are-you-afraid-of/

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