First time I ever laid eyes on Anthony Guajardo he was covered in tattoos and calling everybody “puto.” Little did I know at the time that beneath The Walking Dead grime of a character named Miguel dwelt a young actor with a heart of gold.
The truth is there’s a lot more to this intelligent, engaged teenage actor from San Antonio, TX than zombies and temporary tattoos. I asked Anthony to make an appearance here to talk about something besides walkers and share his hopes for 2011.
Somehow I convinced Anthony to take me on essay style in a battle to the death of his fingers …. He gets points for bravery, especially after what happened to IronE “T-Dog” Singleton when he decided to take on the crew!
What news stories, current events or trends caught your attention in 2010? And why?
What really continues to freak me out is all the violence and death. Every time I turn on the news, it feels like there is a new fight starting. Like a few weeks ago when North Korea bombed that island. You’re sitting there watching the news and all you can think is “where next?” and “what kind of domino effect is this going to cause?” Everyone hates war, and yet there are so many wars going on around us, so many that the U.S. is already involved in.
Sometimes it feels like most of the conflicts are rooted in peoples’ ignorance or misunderstandings, or even worse, politics that have nothing to do with the actual people living in the areas. How can it be a good thing, people going out and dying because of ignorance? And you look at the situation and think, what can I do to stop this?
Do you have a particular issue or cause that you advocate for?
I am especially vocal about animals. We have six dogs and one cat at home, four of them rescued animals. Our one dog Gizmo – his name at the shelter was Yucky because they found him hungry on the street and his coat had turned into something like dreadlocks – he had such a rough beginning, we want to give him a good end. He’s older now, suffering from arthritis and is half blind but we’re doing what we can.
I find it very hard to understand the things that people will do to animals, even just abandoning them and assuming they can take care of themselves. It’s cruel, especially when there are facilities out there that will take in animals. There’s just no reason for it …and the scary part is that even with that, people still do it, people are still cruel.
What did working on The Walking Dead teach you about people, survival and how we treat each other?
That people aren’t always what you expect them to be. I remember when I first got on set and was looking around at all these established actors and big scary dudes made up to be “vatos” I was a little intimidated. But the truth was that all of the actors were really nice, hardworking people ….and the “vatos” were just a bunch of big teddy bears.
It really hit home when we started shooting because as we filmed I realized that is how it would probably be—the core characteristics that aren’t sometimes “PC” to associate with groups of people but are there, would come out. Some critics of the show later said it was just stereotyping, but I believe it would be true in that situation. You’d have the stereotypes – the Hispanics, trying to keep their heads down, just protecting their own. But you would also have people out there within each group trying to be better than the kind of person any stereotype describes…people willing to reach out, work together and trust that fighting side-by-side is better than fighting alone.
Looking ahead to 2011, what would you like to see happen in the world?
A year of peace? I mean, I know it’s not going to happen just because I wish it would, when is the world ever really at peace? But it has been a while since we in the U.S. had a year where we didn’t have to worry about war. Nobody should have to worry like that, but it seems like everyone is. It would be great if people around the world could concentrate their thoughts on something more positive for a while.
More realistically, on the domestic front, I hope we’ll begin to see the economy begin to turn around. Right now it seems everywhere you look people are just trying to hold on … losing their jobs, losing their homes … trying to keep together lives they have spent years trying to build. It’s tough. I know with what people in my own family are going through sometimes you just want to start screaming, or just give up… even though you can’t.