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Garret Dillahunt: 'I still probably haven't recovered physically from' 'Walking Dead'

Spoiler alert! This article contains spoilers for Sunday's episode of "Fear the Walking Dead."

Garrett Dillahunt plays John Dorie on Fear the Walking Dead. Photo courtesy of AMC
Garrett Dillahunt plays John Dorie on "Fear the Walking Dead." Photo courtesy of AMC

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (UPI) -- It has been over a year since Garret Dillahunt worked on Fear the Walking Dead, and the actor said he is still recovering from the exhausting production.

"Being out in the elements, hot or cold, you're in the same outfit," Dillahunt told UPI in a recent phone interview. "You're walking on uneven ground. You fight, you fall, bang yourself up. Night shoots are the worst. It gets quite cold in Texas."

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His last episode aired Sunday, most of which he filmed in March 2020.

"I still probably haven't recovered physically from that show," Dillahunt said. "It's one of the most demanding shows, physically, I've ever been on."

The Walking Dead spinoff films in Austin, Texas. Dillahunt said the demands of production, and lack of sleep, built up over his three seasons.

"It's just an accumulation of stuff," Dillahunt said. "That said, the [Fear the Walking Dead] crew is there every minute of every day doing the same thing."

Dillahunt played John Dorie, a former police officer before the zombie apocalypse. He joined the survivors in Season 4 when Morgan (Lennie James) discovered his campsite.

The 56-year-old Dillahunt said Fear the Walking Dead producers began to discuss the end of John's presence during Season 5. Dillahunt said he loved working with the cast and crew, but was ready to move on by Season 6.

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"I'm an antsy guy," Dillahunt said. "I like to do different things. I thought the idea they came up with was a great one."

In Sunday's episode, John and Morgan help Dakota cross a bridge blocked by zombies. During the zombie battle, John sees that Dakota has a knife that belonged to murdered friend Cameron.

Despite John helping her, Dakota shoots John to cover up her involvement in Cameron's death. The episode began with John contemplating suicide, and Dillahunt appreciated the tragedy of John's murder after he decided to keep living.

"It was Romeo and Juliet-ish in a way," Dillahunt said. "John finally was about to head back, and then his original desire happens, anyway, but by the hand of someone else."

In the world of Fear the Walking Dead, anyone who dies turns into a zombie. Dillahunt's last scene is his zombie form washing up to the riverbed at which June (Jenna Elfman) finds him.

The episode director, Michael E. Satrazemis, told Dillahunt to play John's zombie scene like a baby lamb being born. Dillahunt said he agreed that John would have just turned into a zombie, so he played it like zombie John was trying to figure out what he was.

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"He probably turned just seconds before June finds him," Dillahunt said. "Is there a little bit of John in there? Is he caressing her leg or trying to bite her leg? She doesn't let him suffer long."

John's zombie scene was the only one left for Dillahunt to film after he finished filming in March 2020. Fear the Walking Dead returned to production in October under COVID-19 safety protocols and Dillahunt spent two more days filming John's zombie scene, in which June kills him permanently with a blow to the head.

The actor said he's been eager to talk about future projects, but had to wait until the episode aired to confirm his departure from Fear.

"It was hard to sit on for so long," Dillahunt said. "I'm kind of anxious for it to air so I can stop pretending about the rest of my life."

Those next projects include a role in the Netflix original movie Army of the Dead. Dillahunt plays a member of a crew robbing a Las Vegas casino during another zombie apocalypse.

"I think people should be prepared for a variety of unique zombies," Dillahunt said of the film co-written and directed by Zack Snyder.

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After finishing Fear the Walking Dead, Dillahunt also filmed Ambulance for director Michael Bay. Dillahunt plays a Secret Intelligence Service captain chasing Jake Gyllenhaal and his gang for stealing an ambulance.

"There's a lot of high speed chases," Dillahunt said. "There were a lot of machine guns, a lot of explosions."

During his down time in 2020, Dillahunt also co-wrote a comedy pilot for Amazon. Dillahunt said he expects the streaming service to announce the series soon.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC. Army of the Dead premieres May 21 on Netflix. Ambulance is due in theaters Feb. 18.

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