The Walking Dead

How Colman Domingo helped bring Kim Dickens back to Fear the Walking Dead

The actress talks about getting over the disappointment of being "killed off" on the horror drama series, and how Domingo acted as a liaison to help bring her back.

Fans were not happy when Madison Clark was killed off back on season 4 of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead. And they weren’t the only ones. Kim Dickens, who played the tough as nails post-apocalyptic leader (and lead on the show) was refreshingly candid about her disappointment with the move at the time, calling herself “heartbroken” over a storyline in which Madison sacrificed herself by leading zombies back into the baseball stadium and then locking herself in so the others could escape.

Seeing as how Dickens clearly was not thrilled with being written off the show back in 2018, once producers started entertaining the idea (and endless fan requests) to bring Madison back, they had to figure out the best way to approach the star to see if she would entertain the idea of returning. Or, rather, the best person. And that person turned out to be a member of the cast.

“Colman Domingo and I have remained really good friends,” explains Dickens. “He was sort of the liaison for them, because I think they kind of asked him to gauge my temperature.”

Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Kim Dickens as Madison Clark - Fear The Walking Dead

Kim Dickens and Colman Domingo on ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ | CREDIT: RICHARD FOREMAN JR/AMC

So how did that conversation go between Dickens and Domingo? (Incidentally, Dickens & Domingo sounds the name of an incredible buddy cop movie that should immediately be put into production.) “He was like, ‘Will you talk to them?'” recalls Dickens. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll talk to them. But why do they want to talk to me? We broke up!'”

After a hearty chuckle, Dickens adds “No, I said, ‘Of course I will.’ I just showed up on the Zoom [with producers] and I said, ‘I’m here to listen.’ And they pitched me what I thought were really fun, kind of brilliant ideas.”

Those ideas will finally hit the screen with Dickens’ much anticipated return in the season finale on Sunday, June 5. She will then go back to full cast member status for season 8, which begins filming this summer.

When did the talks to bring Madison back begin? How did Dickens get over the disappointment she felt when originally let go? And why are fans to thank for her return? We spoke to the star about journey back to Fear the Walking Dead.

Fear the Walking Dead- Kim Dickens

Kim Dickens on ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ | CREDIT: LAUREN “LO” SMITH/AMC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So when did the talks start to get you back on the show?

KIM DICKENS: At this point, the talks started about a year-and-a-half ago. Because it was literally a year before I filmed it that we had started talking, and once we finally agreed to do it and worked it all out, I had to keep the secret for practically a year. It started in the pandemic, and it caught me by complete surprise.

The timing was right for me. it was the pandemic, I was in between things, and I could really commit to it. They felt like they were really going to write the Madison I knew. I felt like I had faith in them. It just seemed kind of good to go back. I always felt Madison had more stories in her.

I remember talking with you when Madison was killed off back in season 4 and I think it’s fair to say you weren’t exactly thrilled with the development. Was there a part of you when you were asked to come back that didn’t want to open up that wound again?

Well, like I said, it caught me by surprise. But yeah, you’re right. Back when it happened, I was disappointed, and I really was pretty clear about that. I kind of wore it on my sleeve. I was honest with the fan base and I said, “Look, I didn’t choose this. I thought there was more stories to tell. I’m disappointed.” And I was. Then you got to move on. That’s our business. Jobs end and things change. That’s part of the perseverance required of us as performers is to pick yourself up and move on.

And I did. I went on to do great things that I really enjoyed, great projects that were really fun for me. I did some comedy, I did a thriller, I did another dark comedy, and it just was like, “Yeah, let’s just keep moving.” And then when it came back around, by then, I’d let it go.

I didn’t know what they were going to ask me, what they wanted to talk about. It could have been just one episode. It could have been something that didn’t interest me. I just kind of went into it open-minded and I was aware of the fan base and their reaction. I’d seen that through the years. and I thought that was really cool. It made me feel good. It made me feel like, “Oh good, Madison did matter.” I felt like the fans lit the fire a little bit under that idea. I don’t know for certain, but I certainly appreciated it. I had let it go. just kind of doing my own thing.

I’d remained friends with Colman and Alycia and Danay and the gang. But every so often I would have these visions of Madison, like how she could pop back into the scene or just an image would cross my mind if I was driving or something, and it was the weirdest thing, because it was like it was still inside me, I guess. I would think like, “I don’t know why they don’t bring her back. It’d be so cool.” That was kind of my experience.

Fear the Walking Dead- Kim Dickens

Kim Dickens on ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ | CREDIT: LAUREN “LO” SMITH/AMC

Did you keep watching the show after you left?

No, I hadn’t continued to watch aside from watching Coleman’s directorial debut. I didn’t keep up with it. Then when I spoke to the guys and we decided that this is what we were going to do, I said, “Well, what do you want me to do?” And they said to jump in and watch season 6, just to get the feel of how they were telling the story now, which was the anthology style.

I started jumping in 6 and got excited to see everyone guns-blazing and great performances. Then, by that time I also was like, “I’m going to try to get in shape!” Because this job is more challenging than others, I tell you. But in a great way. That was sort of my preparation.

Then I started watching season 7 when it came around, because I wasn’t getting scripts until I was in it. I was watching it like a fan then as well, and I started to get nervous. I was like, “Oh wow, I’m on deck. I’m about to be up to bat. This is the season!” It was exciting. I thought the work they were all doing was incredible and just became beyond epic.

I can’t imagine how excited Colman must have been to get you back in the fold.

I think he’s excited. I mean, that guy is busy, but we are excited. We kind of are giddy about it.

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