Elizabeth Rodriguez is trading in her orange Litchfield Prison jumpsuit for a fighting chance at life during the zombie apocalypse in Fear The Walking Dead.
The actress, who currently stars as Aleida Diaz in Orange is the New Black, but will have to fight a whole different kind of battle when her new show Fear The Walking Dead premieres.
Rodriguez plays Liza Ortiz, Travis’ (Cliff Curtis) ex-wife, now a single mother, working to put herself through nursing school. She’s described as a “multi-tasking whirlwind” and she doesn’t give herself any breaks when it comes to her future or raising her son.
Rodriguez chatted with Entertainment Weekly about her role and gave some interesting insight into the series and her experiences while working on it.
On her character Liza
Liza is Travis’ ex-wife. They were together for about 12 years. They got together when they were young and ended up getting pregnant young. They decided to get married and she wanted to go to medical school, but had to put it on hold for her family, at which point years went by, as they do. I think there were things about Travis that maybe they grew up at the same time, but apart. They wanted different things, certain things didn’t change, and so I decided to leave Travis about three years ago. So pretty much I’m the caretaker of my son, and in trying to make up for lost time I went back to school. But I can’t really become a doctor, so I go to nursing school, which is very important to the story. Travis sees his kid on some weekends. I think we have a good relationship for the most part, but recently he’s been caught up in Madison’ children, because they’re not all as perfect as my son. So there’s that, that causes a little bit of — I’m very protective of [our son] Chris.
On how the Fear world impacts her once she leaves set:
“It impacted me before we started shooting. We sat down before principal day of photography and we spoke about the first couple episodes about the world, and we started getting deep into these conversations and I was really shocked, I was literally like, “I’m really depressed right now, guys.” It brings things up — you start thinking about 9/11 or Katrina, and you can’t help but feel these things. Then on set something happened in the first couple of episodes that was massive, and it was hours and hours and I had to go home and literally shower and take that experience outside, like try to get to the other side as soon as possible before I went to bed, just because it’s on you. And after hours of it you’re just like, “This is a lot going on.””
On how she’d describe the series:
“It isn’t about zombies. It could be anything. It could be any sort of seemingly apocalyptic event, whether it be war, terrorism, a tsunami, a coup. I think it’s about what happens immediately that causes people to come together, and human instinct to protect our closest, nearest, and dearest. And then having to make choices and try to understand really quickly and accept what the new reality is. The biggest, most exciting thing is we don’t know the rules. So it’s all in what we don’t know. The bigger fear is in what are they? We sort of wrap our brains around accepting this thing, and then at rapid speeds the whole government and everything you think you know gets turned on its back within moments, if not days.”
If you want to read more of what Elizabeth revealed about her role and the series, head on over to Entertainment Weekly.
You can keep up with all of FanBolt’s Fear The Walking Dead coverage here.
Fear The Walking Dead premieres on AMC this Sunday, August 23 at 9 p.m.
Photo Credit: AMC