EW: And yet you and Andrew Lincoln don’t really interact in this episode at all.
CALLIES: Andy and I had a chance to say goodbye before because that scene on the bridge at the end of episode 2 is the last time they’re together — it’s the end. It’s the end of their marriage. They just don’t know it yet. And we had to make sure we didn’t play it that way. But it’s the end. I don’t think I could have handled saying goodbye to the two of them on the same day. And I asked Andy to come the day we were shooting that final scene, and I said I want you to be there for Chandler. I want him to know that Andy’s still here and Andy is going to be with me the whole time — that Andy won’t leave him. Because John left him, Jeff left him, and I left him. And those were the people he started with. So Andy was there and he handled it so perfectly, from one actor to another. There was no amount of patronizing or grown up talking to kid thing.
EW: How do you even emotionally prepare yourself for a scene like that where you are dying, giving birth, and giving a pep talk to your son? That’s a lot to process.
CALLIES: I think in a way the preparation for that scene was the two-and-a-half seasons I shot before it. I got that script, I read it once, and it took me a half-hour to recover. I knew how it was going to happen, but you read the words and go “Argh! Well, f—, there’s that.” And then I just figured you can’t plan that. The worst thing you can do is get in your own way and think about it too much. So I learned the lines and I just ran the scene once a day alone in my head. And I watched a lot of stuff. Guy Ferland [the director of the episode] is just one of my favorite directors ever. He and I go back to Prison Break. And he shot the scene where Jon Bernthal dies. Apparently, they bring him in to kill off the leads of the show! [laughs] So Guy and I had been talking for about a month, and I said. “What are the great deaths? What are the deaths that we believe?” So Guy and I both watched Full Metal Jacket. And I was really struck by Arliss Howard in that [as Cowboy]. It’s a really, quick, kind of strange death. So we watched a lot of stuff and read a lot. But Chandler and I really did not rehearse the scene until we just sort of got there. And we all decided we all had so many emotions in our hearts right now, so let’s give ourselves permission to be really raw and be really honest with each other even though it’s going to hurt. That’s probably the best way to get this done.
EW: The last thing Lori says is “Goodnight, love.” Is she saying that to Rick, to Carl, to the unborn baby?
CALLIES: When we shot the first episode of the season, and Lori comes to Rick after the campfire and says, “We got to get the house in order,” he walks off into the night. Just ad-libbing on the day, the last time we shot it, I said “Goodnight, love.” And they had cut before I said it. And Andy turned around and said, “What did you just say to me?” I said, “Goodnight, love.” And he said, “That’s the most heartbreaking thing I think I’ve ever heard you say.” And it wasn’t on camera and we didn’t want to do it again because it wasn’t a line in the script. And then when we were shooting this last scene, so much of her concern is for Rick because she knows Carl is going to be fine. She knows he’ll heal, but she’s terrified of the rabbit hole that losing her is going to send Rick down. And so I think, to me, that moment was for Rick, as in I hope somewhere in your heart you can just heal. I mean, what else is there to say? It’s over. It’s okay. Let it be okay. Don’t kill yourself over this. But then when I watched it, I heard echoes of it to Shane and to the baby. I don’t think it necessarily plays as something that’s just about Rick, although that was certainly what was in my mind.
EW: Tell me about what it was like for you right after you finished filming.
CALLIES: I stayed on set in the room partly to stay in the moment, and partly because by the end of the day I was literally glued to the floor, there was so much blood. I couldn’t get up. At the end of the day, I got up. And I’m half-naked, covered in blood, my hair is this rat’s nest mess. I come out and behind the monitors is my entire cast. Except Laurie, who was somewhere else. But the entire cast. Jon Bernthal had tried to come out for it from L.A., but couldn’t make it. It was amazing. It was really moving. Leaving a show that I care so much about that way, those scenes, the way they’re written, I kind of got to say goodbye on camera. I kind of got to just leave it all on the field, and get it out of my system, and have all those emotions. And you know, I just kind of feel, “Okay, I did it.” If you want to know about how I felt about leaving the show, watch the episode.