Elizabeth Faith Ludlow On Playing Negan’s Savior Lieutenant
On September 9, 2020, Elizabeth Faith Ludlow, Negan’s Lieutenant Arat, joined Dead Talk Live to talk about her time on the show. People may know Elizabeth from movies, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and TV shows, like The Vampire Diaries and Halt and Catch Fire. But fans of The Walking Dead know her as Arat on the show.
Elizabeth Ludlow portrayed Arat, a lieutenant of Negan’s Saviors. She had proven her loyalty to Negan by carrying out his order with merciless cruelty. Arat had defended Negan from assassination attempts to failed rebellions. Her morality knew no bounds as she had killed or disfigured without question and had no quarrel about killing kids. Negan valued these vicious qualities in her as he trusted her completely before Arat ended up betraying him in an attempt to redeem herself. Despite her eventual remorse of her actions, her past came back to haunt her at the time of her execution.
Despite some early technical difficulties, Elizabeth was able to do the live stream interview with Dead Talk Live’s host, Viz. After introducing Elizabeth, Viz mentioned that Arat was a mostly new character for the show. Even, her character was loosely based on another, Tara, from the original comics. However, a different Tara was already established within the show. Elizabeth commented that the show’s writers decided to change up her character’s name by spelling it backward.
In the show, Negan ordered Arat to “kill somebody”. Arat pulled out her gun and killed Olivia, a fan-favorite character. When asked what she thought of the scene and if she experienced any “negative backlash” from the show’s fans. Elizabeth confirmed it before talking about when she first got her script for that scene. Elizabeth said that she was “excited” about it as she wanted to do a scene with “action” in it.
She explained that before, Arat did not have any “opportunity to do that on the show. That moment established Arat as someone on a higher level with Negan”. Despite her excitement, Elizabeth felt bad as “Olivia or Ann [Mahoney] was going to be her last day”. Elizabeth felt guilty, but in truth, she and Ann end up becoming “really great friends” on the show.
A contrast between Arat and Simon, Negan’s other trusted lieutenant. He commented on how Simon is a “psycho who couldn’t keep his mouth shut” while Arat is a “silent cold-blooded killer”.
After drawing that contrast, Elizabeth was asked about her experience with working with Jeffery Dean Morgan, who portrays Negan on the show. Elizabeth answered on how Jeffery was “wonderful to work with” and that “he nailed that [Negan’s] role”. Even, Elizabeth was “ecstatic to be able to work next to him” due to “his extremely long and productive career”.
Moving onto a viewer’s question, “What was your reaction first of all when you finally did land the part on the Walking Dead as Arat? Were you nervous or excited?” Elizabeth replied that she was “over the moon” as she wanted a part in the show since season 5. Despite the long wait, once she got the part, “everything happened so fast” for Elizabeth as she was able to jump right into her character. Viz complimented her for lasting three seasons on a show where longevity is not guaranteed.
Despite being a ruthless member of the Saviors, Dead Talk Live’s Host was actually surprised that Arat flipped ‘sides’ by trying to integrate with Rick’s group and other communities. Elizabeth stated that it did not surprise her. When Elizabeth first got her part, she knew that her character was going to do a lot of bad, but it somehow wouldn’t take away her humanity. Arat had to follow Negan in order to survive, but she did try to get in the “good graces” with the other communities. She even helped stop a potential brawl among the communities.
“How far in advanced did she know of her fate in the show?” Elizabeth replied that Scott Gimple, the showrunner of season 4 to 8, had a tradition of telling the actors of their fates a week before filming. Arat’s met her epic final fate but was asked if she blamed Daryl and Maggie for turning their back on her. Surprised, Elizabeth couldn’t find an answer. “If she would do the same thing [if she were in their positions]?” Still surprised, Elizabeth answered, “personally, no”.
Viz clarified by asking if she was in their character. Perplexed, Elizabeth still couldn’t answer before commenting that it was a hard scene to film. He further examined the scene and the reasoning behind the characters. He expressed that he was split on the morality of the scene. Part of him wanted Arat to get retribution for her past actions, while the other wanted her to be saved. Elizabeth revealed that the fans felt the same way.
Elizabeth was asked to talk about her experience with other projects. Her breakout role was on The Vampire Diaries in 2013 before starring in the Walking Dead. After finishing the show, Elizabeth moved onto movies. She starred in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 in which it was difficult wearing all the required make-up.
Dead Talk Live airs daily at 9:30 PM Eastern U.S. Time on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter