Sarah Wayne Callies’ Council of Dads Performance was Inspired by the Death of The Walking Dead Co-Star Scott Wilson

NBC’s latest tear-jerking drama Council of Dads managed to hit right on the spot when it comes to generating emotional attachments for several of the characters with merely an hour-long pilot. One of the most impressive performances came from the Lori Grimes actress of The Walking Dead, Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Robin Perry in the NBC drama.

The inspiration for Callies’ wonderful performance came from the tragic passing of her The Walking Dead co-star Scott Wilson, who played Hershel Greene in AMC’s post-apocalyptic zombie drama. The actor died in October 2018 at the age of 76 following a long battle with leukemia.

Sarah’s character Robin loses her husband, Scott Perry (Tom Everett Scott), to cancer on Council of Dads. The devastating death hits right in the feels to the viewers, much to the credit of the actors and the director.

Watch: Sarah Wayne Callies Finds a New Path After “The Walking Dead” and “Prison Break”

One of the leading actresses, Sarah Wayne Callies, recently revealed her performance was fueled by TWD co-star Scott Wilson along with her father-in-law who was “dying of brain cancer.” Speaking on The IMDb Show of the NBC drama, the 42-year-old stated,

I’d just lost Scott Wilson to leukemia, and my father-in-law was dying of brain cancer. He passed away in-between the pilot and the series. Actually the last thing I did with him is I curled up in bed with him in his hospice room, and I showed him the pilot. So it hit a lot of personal notes that I really was looking for.

Explaining how she channeled the appropriate emotions, Callies stated, “Honestly, for this one, I flew by the seat of my pants more for this job than I have ever before. I did less of the ‘this is my technique’ preparation work because it was right here. It was so close to my life.”

The actress then pointed out the one particular scene where her character Robin, a doctor, apologized to her husband for failing to make an early diagnosis of his condition and subsequently falling short to save him.

I have a big piece of news to tell him. There’s a lot of emotion underpinning that news, but the point of the scene is that I feel like a failure for not being able to save him, and not being able to cure him.

Sarah continued,

We got to the scene and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t there at all, and I couldn’t even fake it. I saw the look on the director and the crew and the actors’ faces going, ‘The pilot doesn’t work without this scene.’ I was like, ‘I can’t do this because I feel like I couldn’t save you. And I can’t touch it. I just can’t touch it.’

Callies then consulted with Wilson before feeling ready to execute the shot to perfection.

And Scott and I had a whole conversation. Him dead, me in that weird actor rabbit hole, and the crew just sort of waited patiently. I came around the corner, and the director took one look at me and he went, ‘Let’s roll.’ They cross-shot it, which was really smart, and we were out of there in seven minutes.

Besides Sarah Wayne Callies and her on-screen husband Tom Everett Scott, the notable cast of Council of Dads includes Clive Standen (Taken), J. August Richards (Angel), Michele Weaver (Love Is), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), veteran actor Michael O’Neill along with child stars Emjay Anthony, Thalia Tran, and Blue Chapman.

Council of Dads returns on 30th April 2020 on NBC.

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