The walking dead has had its fair share of memorable characters – for better and for worse. One of those memorable characters was Andy, played by actor and artist Jeremy Palko.
Andy was a member of The Hilltop appearing in Season 6, alongside Jesus, who first mentions Negan to Rick and the group. Apart from The walking dead, Mr. Palko starred in the television series Line and, more recently, Ruthless.
When the pandemic put the world on hold, Palko took to painting and has been selling his one-of-a-kind work ever since. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Palko about his experience on The walking dead, how his passion for painting started and got some information about his most recent role on television.
Q: In The walking dead, you played a character named Andy from The Hilltop. How does it feel to join such an influential TV series? Did Andy have a story?
A: What an honor it was to be a part of this incredible and influential show! I have never forgotten how cool and lucky I am as an actor to have had such an opportunity. Playing Andy was such an amazing experience. There wasn’t much information about the character, but it was easy to establish and create a general story showing how established everyone was in the Hilltop community.
Q: Unfortunately, your character is killed by the Saviors during the iconic attack on a Saviors outpost. Were you aware of Andy’s fate since his casting, or did you find out later?
A: Like most of the actors in the series, we waited every week to know the fate of our characters. I remember getting the call from Scott Gimple and immediately thinking, “Oh, let’s go …” and of course I heard that Andy was going to die in the Savior’s outpost. A disappointment, sure, but isn’t it cool that the producer calls you personally to thank you for your work ?! Never heard about that. It was also cool to see Andy’s character start and end at the Savior complex.
Q: In which direction did you want to see Andy’s path go?
A: In short: alive! As an actor, you would really prefer to keep working. But kidding aside, I was really hoping Andy would become a bigger character in Hilltop. But since Andy survived three seasons in a zombie apocalypse, there’s really nothing to complain about. Very grateful.
Q: What was the overall experience while filming The walking dead?
A: Work on The walking dead was unlike any experience I’ve had as an actor so far. Most of the time, when you’re on set, you’re there for a short while, and then you come home. With The walking dead, the idea [of] the family is real. Everyone on set, from bigwigs to stockings, treated everyone professionally and with a sense of family. I have heard this word a lot. But it’s absolutely true – The walking dead is a giant family.
Q: Recently you played Deputy Billy Poke in the TV series Ruthless. What can you tell us about your role and the TV show for those who don’t know?
A: Working with Tyler Perry has always been an item on my bucket list. And during my quarantine, I was cast as Deputy Billy Poke in Tyler Perry’s Ruthless. Working with Tyler Perry has always been an item on my bucket list. I just finished season two, and what a unique experience it was. We shot in quarantine, which meant we had to shoot on location at Tyler Perry Studios for two weeks in a bubble. It was like an actor training camp. So much fun and so stimulating at the same time. We all stayed on the studio grounds for two weeks while filming.
Q: What do you think is one of the biggest differences between shooting a movie and watching a TV show?
A: Personally, I did not find too much difference when it comes to the preparation of the roles. Usually the only difference is the time you need. Movies tend to run within a specific time frame whereas TV shows can last for years as they do in The walking dead.
Q: You’ve recently become a real artist, sharing and selling your artwork. What can you tell us about your paintings? How did it all start?
A: Such a unique period in which we live. During my forties last year, I picked up a brush for the first time. I never knew it would turn out to be such a passion! After I sold my first painting, I used the money to go to Michael’s and buy a bunch of art supplies. It really took over my life and turned into something I didn’t know I liked. I paint pretty much every day. I started selling my artwork on my website ArtByPalko.Square.Site and I recently discovered the strange world of NFTs. Painting has been such a fun trip – I would recommend anyone looking for a new hobby to try painting. I believe there is absolutely no wrong way to do it, and you will find out so much about yourself in the process. It really is an amazing and creative way [to] stay inspired as an actor or artist in my opinion.
Q: Do you have a particular artistic style? Which artists inspire you?
A: I never plan anything when I paint. I’m just going to see what appears on the web. I am inspired by different things, ideas and people on a daily basis. It can be simple things or mundane things that inspire anyone. I’m just trying to focus on how I’m feeling or thinking about that day and see what comes out of it.
Q: Do you intend to present your works at an art exhibition?
A: Last year I was lucky enough to be accepted into a handful of art exhibitions. It was such a cool experience for people to watch my work. As an actor, you always present someone else’s ideas through their words. With art, it’s really a representation of me – my thoughts, my ideas, my views put on the canvas. It’s a very vulnerable experience, but I was very happy to see the positivity it can bring to people, and the support that people have shown is very important to me. Really humiliated.
Q: You’ve been able to connect with fans at conventions and charity appearances including Rhode Island Comic Con and The Camp Marimac Charity Bash. What upcoming appearances will you be making this year?
A: I love attending the Comic Cons and meeting people. Talking about acting and my work with people has been an experience that I absolutely love and look forward to. The pandemic has unfortunately suspended many Comic Cons. But we’ll just have to see what happens. Like many people, I am so ready to go on a trip again!
Q: Do you have a favorite experience or memory of appearing at a convention or charity event?
A: Where to start ?! There are so many good memories that it’s impossible to name one. I do, however, remember the very first time I did a panel on stage. I was incredibly nervous! There were about 2000 people in the room. But luckily, I was on stage with a few actors, including Scott Wilson. What an incredible human being. I remember meeting him for the first time and talking to him before going on stage. He was the cutest, funniest, and most gracious “famous person” I have ever met. Calmed me down without even trying. By the way, the 2,000 screaming fans were pretty cool and mind blowing as well.
Q: What projects, whether film, television or whatever, do you have coming up in the near future?
A: I just finished a TV show called Tales which will soon be broadcast on BET. Other than that, paint as much as possible and audition for some pretty cool projects. Crossed fingers!
Would you have liked to see Andy survive on The walking dead? Comment your answers below!
Season 11 of The Walking Dead returns on February 20, 2022.