Comic Image Credit: Skybound/Image Comics
Every series needs some heart and soul—and a healthy dose of snark—to hold the characters and storylines together, right? Megan Holter, Kyle Barnes foster sister, provides all three in Robert Kirkman’s Outcast. caught up with Wrenn Schmidt to find out more about the shared humor between Kirkman and the live-wire character she plays, Schmidt’s own take on the role, and how she approached bringing the comic to life.

Cinemax: Did you read the comic books before you got cast?

Wrenn Schmidt: I read the first one. I think the first thought I had was: I look nothing like her. Absolutely nothing like her. Because the character is drawn so differently from me, and everything that was in the dialogue was in the script, for me, it was more about getting an idea of what the world was.

Cinemax: What was it like auditioning with Robert Kirkman in the room?

Wrenn Schmidt: I’ve seen the Walking Dead, so I know that’s a show based on a comic book and that it’s a really famous show. But walking into the audition process, I didn’t realize. “Oh Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman. That’s the guy. He’s in the room. That’s who that is.” And he was so relaxed in the way that he answered my questions. There were actually things in the pilot and the comic that you don’t find out what Megan and Kyle are referring to until later in the season, and Robert was really helpful as far as understanding them. He was super down to earth and easy-going. So it was kind of hilarious afterwards to be like, “Oh sh*t. That was the guy.”

Cinemax: Did you and Robert Kirkman and [showrunner] Chris Black discuss your character and how you’d bring her to life?

Wrenn Schmidt: I feel like a lot of it was already in the writing. Something I gleaned from the pilot filming process was that the humor Megan uses is also in the writing, and that feels to me most like Robert’s voice in some ways. He’s very funny, and he has a very dry sense of humor. He just throws it out there. And the more I can just kind of throw it out there, the more it’s going to land.

Cinemax: Her humor is very dry—especially around Kyle.

Wrenn Schmidt: She calls him “sh*thead,” “weirdo.” But that was something interesting, because every time I would underplay it, I’d be like, “Oh, that’s what Robert does.” I don’t know if he would actually feel the same, but I made that connection.

Cinemax: How did you develop a “backstory” for Megan?

Wrenn Schmidt: I just asked Chris and Robert about that. There was something that Robert said about her coming from a well-off family, even though it was clear that she and her husband Mark don’t have a lot of money. And we talked about how Megan just doesn’t believe in any of the demonic possession stuff. She thinks it’s total crap.

Cinemax: Right, she thinks Rev. Anderson’s crazy.

Wrenn Schmidt: Oh, she thinks he’s a snake-oil salesman. She thinks he’s full of hot air.

Cinemax: What do you perceive as Megan’s biggest challenge?

Wrenn Schmidt: I’d say, initially, it’s Kyle—how to get Kyle out of his shell. That’s the first two episodes for her, as well as navigating what it is to be the middleman when you’re unfortunately the defacto “go-between” between two people who you really love. And then everything changes for her in the third episode when her own personal demon shows up.

Cinemax: Can you describe Megan in three words?

Wrenn Schmidt: She’s strong. She’s kind of salty… They’re all going to be S words. She’s strong, salty, and…she’s really empathetic.

For all of her take-charge tough love, underneath it all she gets it. She’s still going to go about it her own way, but she gets it.