It’s time to meet Elizabeth Ludlow
“Oh, my God! I should have just put it in my pocket,” Elizabeth Ludlow exclaims, chuckling after recalling the story of the sandwich Norman Reedus unexpectedly gifted her. That kind of anecdote is just one of many instances of on set shenanigans on cable’s biggest show, but she couldn’t have imagined anything like this in her wildest dreams. In fact, had things gone according to plan, her face would have been the one you’d notice on CNN as you rushed through concourse A, trying not to miss that connecting flight. Instead, you’re watching her as Arat on “The Walking Dead,” waiting for her stoic and shrewd character to do something to scare the holy hell out of you. “I thought that I wanted to be on CNN and do the whole news anchor thing, but then as I got deeper into my career in college, something in me just kinda changed. It just wasn’t fun for me anymore.”
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Elizabeth’s one great love through childhood and adolescence was playing soccer, but after deciding to attend Georgia State University, she took the opportunity to change focus and experiment with a long held, but little nurtured pastime: acting. “I’ve always been interested in it, since I was a little kid,” she admits. “I just never really had the time to commit. I actually moved to Atlanta specifically to try and get involved in the acting business.”
Though her first credited job was on an episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” she looks back on the time she played Up Rush, one of the superhuman characters on the sci-fi detective show “Powers” as particularly influential to the roles she’s attracted to now. “When I did that, it kinda really, really sparked my interest in the whole superhero world.” Fast-forward a few years (and a few auditions), and Elizabeth found herself with her biggest break to date, playing right hand Savior woman to Negan on “The Walking Dead,” the weight of which is not lost on her. “It’s the most popular television show; definitely [actors living in Atlanta] would give a left leg to be on [it],” she states firmly. “If you can make it there, you can pretty much go wherever you want to from there.”
By Elizabeth’s own admission, her character hasn’t had much to say, but that doesn’t mean her impact hasn’t been felt on-screen (R.I.P. Olivia). Despite Arat’s scarce dialogue, Elizabeth feels a certain kinship her. “She has found a way to adapt in this world and move up in a type of [way that highlights] women’s empowerment. The way that she moved her way up into the ranks and is now working with him, as opposed to working for [Negan]? I really relate to that.”
Elizabeth has felt the effects of Arat’s impact off-screen, as well. “I definitely have a bigger following now, that’s for sure. I’ve been auditioning like crazy this pilot season. It’s really been a 180 for me.” Included in the big change in her life: her part as Easik Mother in Marvel’s upcoming film, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” “It was amazing, but it was very difficult,” she reveals. “It was very difficult to try to show emotion through prosthetics – it restrains a lot of the movement in your face. Also, working with just a blue screen is very challenging. It was intense, but it was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
Though she’s only been a part of “The Walking Dead” family for a short time, Elizabeth is already fiercely loyal to her cast mates. When asked about Marvel Studios’ recent trend of casting actors from the show in their movies and television shows, she had this to say:
[C]asting directors and people, they can just see the potential and they can just see the talent. Despite the award shows – despite getting snubbed and all that stuff – I mean, it’s the most watched show on television! People are watching it! There’s something about it that’s working and the core of that is the actors. I think the work speaks for itself.
So while she can relate more to Christina Applegate than Veronica Corningstone these days, Elizabeth couldn’t be happier about where she is professionally. “I picked up a very large package of fan mail today. That was pretty cool!”
Wanna know a little more about Elizabeth? Check out the quick-fire questions below.
Best tip for surviving the zombie apocalypse?
Cardio is key.
So, about Norman Reedus sharing his signature sandwich with you…
To this day, I don’t know what makes it his [signature one], but it was just grilled cheese and tomato!
Which three characters would you pick to join your post-apocalyptic survival team?
Rosita. I’ve always liked Rosita. The way that she had the strength and courage [to try to kill Negan]…I respect that. I really like Tamiel. And I gotta have Michonne. When I first started watching the show, I wanted her part so bad.
Who would Arat want to recruit from Alexandria?
Ooh…I’m gonna take Carl. He’s got a little bad side to him and we might be able to hone in on that have him be a really good worker…that sounds horrible! “I wanna manipulate the child.”
What’s it like working with Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes)?
You can tell that every other actor is watching him and taking their own mental notes. The opportunity to watch him is almost like going to an acting class. It takes him a lot of energy to get to where he is on the show, so being able to watch the process is inspiring. You hope as an actor that you can get to that point one day and be able to carry something like this on your shoulders.
Can you tell us about the other roles you auditioned for on the show?
I honestly don’t know because they change the names and they change the script. I remember one of my auditions…I think I was a valet person? I wasn’t caught up with the show but I was like, “There’s a valet on the show? Where does this come into play?”