Survivor or a dead man?

Josh McDermitt is tight-lipped about whether his character, Eugene Porter, is killed off in TV series The Walking Dead

American actor Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene Porter in the mega-hit zombie TV series The Walking Dead, is fielding press interviews - sporting his character's famous mullet.

Could the fact that the actor is still wearing the cheesy hairstyle instead of reverting to his natural blond waves mean that he is still filming the series? In other words, does this mean that his character has not yet been killed off in the show?

"I'm going to stop you right there," the 38-year-old says as soon as he hears the theory.

"The mullet is not an indication of whether Eugene survives. I haven't cut it because I know that this is exactly how fans think - that if I still wear it, it means my character is alive. So right now, you could be talking to a survivor or a dead man, but you really won't know."

It turns out that this is just one of the tactics that the cast members of The Walking Dead have had to resort to in order to prevent potential spoilers for future episodes.

Actor Josh McDermitt says that his hairstyle is not an indication of whether his character has been killed off or not. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

When another character, Abraham, was shockingly killed off at the end of the last season, the actor who played him, Michael Cudlitz, had to continue going to the set even though he had no more scenes to shoot.

McDermitt says: "We have fans who hang around outside of the set every day, so they will spot who's there and who's not. Michael had to keep coming to the set to hang out, so that the fans wouldn't realise that something was up."

As much as McDermitt understands the fervent eagerness with which fans want to know what happens in future episodes, he hopes that they can just "let things play out".

"I get it. I'm a huge fan of the show too, so I get why they want to know things. When I watched Game Of Thrones, I also wanted to know if Jon Snow died," he says, referring to another hit TV series.

"But I hope fans can just let the story tell itself," he says with a chuckle.

Perhaps one of the reasons fans are always so anxious to find out what happens next is because The Walking Dead has become so well-known for being unpredictable in who it kills off.

Even major characters who are beloved by fans are at risk of dying at any time. And it does not help to read the comic book series that the show is based on, as the TV adaptation often veers from the original storyline.

McDermitt says: "That's why as actors, we always flip to the last page of the script as soon as we get it. The episodes usually end on a cliffhanger and we want to know who survives.

"Only then can we go back to the front of the script and read it."

The actor was speaking to The Straits Times at an interview at Carlton Hotel yesterday. Singapore is his last Asian stop in a press tour that also covered Japan and Taiwan, and he moves on to do more publicity in Europe.

While in Taipei last weekend, he had posted an Instagram picture of himself visiting Longshan Temple. The caption read: "I was born in 1978, which is the Year of the Horse. It's partially against the Year of the Rooster this year. I was able to do a prayer ceremony to get luck for myself and, of course, Eugene."

For now at least, Eugene is still alive, but his well-being hangs in the balance as he has been taken away by the vicious Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

The actor says: "Eugene is not in a good place. Shooting this past season has been really tough.

"For the longest time, all of the main characters under Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) leadership have been winning. Now that Negan has come in and changed things around, it has been really hard on everybody. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here."

• The Walking Dead Season 7 airs on Fox (Singtel TV Channel 330, StarHub TV Channel 505) on Mondays at 9pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'Survivor or a dead man?'. Print Edition | Subscribe