Based on a long-running comic book series, AMC's The Walking Dead has done a fantastic job of tweaking the source material, adjusting storylines and adding characters where the producers see fit.
One new character introduced this season is The Governor's confidant and head of research, Milton Mamet, portrayed by Dallas Roberts. Although Milton has been featured in several episodes, he remains one of the show's more enigmatic and unexplained characters because we don't know anything about his past or much about what exactly he does for the Governor.
In this week's edition of Dead Alert, the official email newsletter of The Walking Dead, Dallas Roberts participated in a Q&A session and touched on his personal connection to Milton, his expectations when he joined the series, and more.
As a geek most of his life, Roberts acknowledges he didn't have to do much research for his role as Woodbury's resident egghead.
"I was the guy literally in the chess club who decided to wear a bow tie for the last two years of high school, so I obviously wasn't trying to get the ladies. I understand that part of Milton," he admits. "I find that with any good run on a show with good writers, they put something on paper and you put something back on film and that affects what they put on the paper the next time. It's been a growing, evolving relationship with Milton and I feel like hopefully everyone is working together to make him as great as possible."
Due to the nature of the series, Roberts expected a more physical role when he signed on, but he has been pleasantly surprised so far.
"When you get a job on The Walking Dead you imagine you're going to be running through the woods with a lot of weaponry shouting, 'Look out!'" he notes. "But I haven't had to do a lot of that this season. Woodbury is a completely different setting than our sort of crack team of apocalypse survivors have dealt with — it's much more civilized and organized. People who had guest starred in Season 2 would be like, 'Is this the same show?'"
The Walking Dead is Roberts' second AMC series, as he previously had a prominent role on the conspiracy drama Rubicon. It was through his Rubicon character, genius-level MIT graduate Miles, that Roberts discovered the whole Walking Dead phenomenon.
"It's funny, the first day I walked up to [Miles'] office on the Rubicon set, there were a bunch of comic books on his wall," he explains. "And I started to read comic books and The Walking Dead was one of the ones I picked up. I had never been a comic book guy before, but by virtue of trying to find out about Miles a little bit more, I ended up stumbling upon The Walking Dead. So I was a big fan of the comics and continue to be today."
In one of my Walking Dead reviews earlier this season, I expressed a desire to see Milton evolve (or devolve, depending on your point of view) into a crazed Josef Mengele-type mad scientist conducting bizarre experiments on zombies and humans. Unfortunately, it sounds like my dream will never come true.
"Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize that literally every idea that Milton has forwarded since he showed up on the show has failed," laughs Roberts. "That will probably keep the megalomania necessary for a true mad scientist from taking hold."
The mad-scientist direction seemed like a natural fit for Milton, but now that the Governor lost his zombie daughter Penny, he probably doesn't have much interest in research anymore.
Would you like to see more Milton?