(Warning: Walking Dead spoilers ahead!)
29-year-old Emily Kinney, who plays Beth on AMC’s Walking Dead, found out about the demise of her character only a few hours before the script was released to the rest of the cast.
“The season finale was episode 508,” she told Entertainment Weekly, “and I found out during 507.”
Emily wasn’t alone. Many cast members reached out to her after they received the news.
“They seemed surprised too,” she said. “It’s always really hard. We’ve worked together for years now. So, it’s really sad.”
But it wasn’t just the news of Beth’s death that caused Kinney unrest. She immediately began thinking of real-life situations like the fact that she now has an apartment in Atlanta.
“I think as actors we are a little conditioned to think like, okay, you do a job and the job ends — it’s like freelance. You go to the next job. But I have been working on this show now for years and it definitely has been an anchor in my life. I schedule other things around the shooting schedule and all these people have become really good friends and so of course I am sad to leave the character behind and then there’s another part of me that is excited that I can play some new characters, and that’s exciting.
“But there’s also the life stuff, like, Oh, I have to get rid of my apartment. I have to figure out what to do with my cable! What does this mean for me and my schedule? And oh, but there are all these people and I want to see them because it’s my last chance. And then also it’s my last chance to give a really kick-ass performance so I really want to work on my scenes. I really want to dig in. So there’s a lot going on in your head any time that you lose a job but are also trying to give a great performance.”
Kinney’s character, one of the youngest of the team, has shown some growth over the years. Unfortunately this is also what led to her demise. But, nonetheless, Kinney was pleased with Beth.
“I was really thankful that this season that you did get to see so much of Beth and you did get to see her without her group and what kind of person she could be and how she could change in different circumstances. It’s fun to work on and I was really thankful. Although I’m sad it ended so soon and wasn’t expecting it to end so soon, I was happy that you really got to know her before she left.”
Kinney also added that she was pleased with her death scene.
“I’m glad I didn’t die in episode 4 and have it be Beth isolated,” she said. “Sometimes the big moments like that last scene where I get shot — as exciting as those moments are, I really love just coming to set and working on a scene and having a conversation with someone and making it feel real. I was thankful I was able to not end on days where I was just laying around bloody. I got to work, you know?”
Kinney, who still hangs out with Scott Wilson (Hershel), says she plans to keep in touch with the rest of the cast as well.
“I will try to stay in touch with everyone.”
The second half of Walking Dead season five returns on February 8, 2015.