Major Dodson is young, but that hasn't stopped him from appearing on one of the most horrifying shows on television, The Walking Dead. Considering that he also appeared in last season's American Horror Story: Freak Show, Dodson apparently has no problem with things that would make other boys his age squeamish.
In an interview with Tech Times, Dodson spoke about how he handles dealing with those scary things on set, as well as what it's like working with the rest of the cast of The Walking Dead.
And of course, he discusses that scene with Carol (Melissa McBride) in the armory, as well as mentions his favorite kind of cookie (take note, Carol).
Dodson, 12, spoke about what it's like being part of two shows that are horror-based. At times, the images he sees might prove traumatic, at least for other children. Does Dodson ever have to remind himself that these things he's seeing on set aren't real?
"Sometimes, yes," said Dodson. "Not way too much because, like in American Horror Story, with John Carroll Lynch, they actually made me watch the makeup process when they made him into Twisty the clown. So that helped me realize, 'OK, it's not real, he's not going to climb through my window at night and kill me.' "
However, there are still times when Dodson must remind himself of what's real and what isn't.
"I'll be honest, sometimes I do have to think that in my head and that kind of reassures me," he said.
Dodson's path from American Horror Story to The Walking Dead required several auditions, the first that he did on tape. Although the process was top secret, Dodson had a fake script that included a scenario very similar to that first big scene of his with Carol in the armory.
"I auditioned for Sam via tape with a fake script, and of course, it was highly confidential, where Sam walked in on his Uncle Jim going through his mom's purse and then going on to play out what would happen if he told his mom or anybody else," said Dodson.
However, even after that, he still had to jump through a few hoops to become Sam.
"About a week after, I believe, we were called to Atlanta to audition live with director Greg Nicotero and the other producers," said Dodson. "So I auditioned for that there and they called me back in another time after I auditioned live and they asked me to do some improv for Sam. So I did improv for them and I eventually got the part."
Of course, Dodson made an impression with The Walking Dead fans during a scene last season, where Sam catches Carol trying to steal from the armory in Alexandria. That results in Sam getting threatened by Carol, creating an extremely tense moment for both characters. For Dodson, though, working with Melissa McBride was fun.
"She was good at it," he said. "It was still kind of scary, though, I mean."
Because of that scene, though, Sam and Carol now have an interesting relationship and Sam has even taken to Carol, although she's hesitant to get close to him, due to her past. And although Sam has seen his mother in a new light, Carol remains something special to him.
"Sam has kind of seen how tough his mother is, but he still knows Carol," said Dodson. "But she's not a very dedicated caretaker. She's been traumatized more than once."
Although Dodson is one of the youngest actors working on The Walking Dead, he still feels that the cast and crew have made him one of their own.
"Everybody on the show is one big family," said Dodson. "We are The Walking Dead family, as we all say, but it's true. We talk and we actually hang out together. I get a little hug from Melissa every single time we meet. We talk, we mingle, we eat together. It's amazing to work on this show with these people—something I never thought I would do—but something I'm very happy I'm able to do."
Of course, no actor can ever truly feel comfortable on the set of The Walking Dead because their characters' fates hang in the balance. No one is safe from death and the series has even shown that children can die during the zombie apocalypse. But what about Sam? How will he survive?
"Well, Sam is staying upstairs because he doesn't know what happened downstairs or outside the house," said Dodson. "So he doesn't want to go downstairs because he's found that upstairs is the safest place for him."
Of course, there's also the question about cookies, something Carol bribed Sam with on the show to keep his mouth shut about her breaking into the armory. But what kind of cookie does Dodson himself prefer?
"My favorite kind of cookie has to be chocolate chip with miniature M&Ms," said Dodson. "And I like them to be gooey. My mom's are the best."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.