Tom Payne Says He Was Frustrated With His Walking Dead Role


The Walking Dead mid-season 9 finale saw the death of another familiar character. As you surely know by now, the first and definitely not last, unfortunate victim of the Whisperers was Paul “Jesus” Rovia. Seeing as Jesus has been on the show since season 6 and is still around in the comics, it came as a surprise to fans that the character was written out in this way.

Now that his time on the series is over, though, actor Tom Payne has come clean on his mixed feelings about how Jesus has been handled over the past three seasons. He revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he felt “frustrated” that the full potential for the character was never realized, so in some ways, he’s not really that sad to say goodbye to the part.

“I loved the character. It’s sad to say goodbye to the character. But there was just so much potential in the character that wasn’t realized. I was frustrated by that and wished we had explored it further. I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to that frustration. It was constant. I had been training for two years. I was so prepared for this character and what he was capable of.”

Payne then went on to elaborate on his frustration, saying that he hopes to move onto different kinds of projects that allow him to see for certain where his character will be headed beforehand, as opposed to the serialized nature of The Walking Dead. He does make clear, though, that he’s thankful for the strong moments he had throughout his time on the show and is pleased that he was finally able to do some more with Jesus this season.

“There was just lots of unrealized potential. That was very frustrating for me. When we finally showed off this year what he was able to do, that was great. I have no wish to go back to being frustrated by a character. It’s really just part of being on an ongoing series. You’re constantly hoping the next episode you get, something will happen for you. You’re on the edge of your seat all the time, pressing your hands together and hoping that something cool will turn up. You can only do that for so long. I’m looking forward to doing something now that has a beginning, middle and end, so I can see the character in front of me. I spent a long time hoping my character was going to have more to do. I was happy to have a great beginning, a great bit [in the middle] with Lennie, and then a really great ending. That’s enough for me.”

Showrunner Angela Kang has also spoken about why Jesus was offed in the mid-season finale, promising fans that it was a tough decision from her and the writers room before they ultimately decided that he should be killed. Going by Payne’s comments, though, you can’t help but wonder whether the actor’s frustrations at least partially fed into Kang’s decision.

Anyways, The Walking Dead season 9 continues on February 10th, and judging by the promo below, it looks like things are about to get pretty exciting.