Sabrina Gennarino portrays Tamiel. It doesn’t matter whether you call her group the Junkyard, the Heapsters, the Scavengers, or the Garbage Pail Kids. I know I don’t feel like a hoarder anymore after seeing their piles of junk! Remember the first glimpse we got of Tamiel, even though we had no idea who it was? Source: AMC Tamiel is one of Jadis’ trusted lieutenants, who kidnapped Father Gabriel after taking all our Survivors’ supplies. When Rick and crew were surrounded by the junkyard people, I never thought Father Gabriel would step up the way he did, holding a knife to Tamiel’s throat. Source: AMC Sabrina graciously agreed to answer our baker’s dozen of questions about her life and acting. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up there and in New York City.
What was your first acting role?
Let’s see…that would be…My earliest memories…I was writing, starring, directing and producing the Christmas plays in my grandmother’s basement, much to the dismay of my brother and cousins. As a grownup…I think it was Spin City…got to play a reporter 🙂
How did you get the role of Tamiel?
To this day…I still don’t know :-). I only know I’m incredibly grateful to the Fincannon’s (casting), AMC, and Mr. Scott M. Gimple. Seriously though, I auditioned. I auditioned once before but didn’t get the gig. I was insanely bummed. Like REEEEEAAAALLLLYYYY bummed. But then I got a call to audition again. And I got lucky enough to have gotten what has so far, been the best. job. ever.
Were you a The Walking Dead fan before getting the role?
Long story short(ish)…I was incredibly stoked when I heard about the show before it started. I was geared up and ready. I watched part of the first episode and then when Rick shot the little girl walker, I just couldn’t do it. See…I just had my daughter, who was my first and only child, and was uh…emotional to say the least. I mean, if you think about it, that’s how good and realistic the show is! But after my first audition, I was like, well, hopefully I’ll get another shot so I should really check this out. I mean millions and millions of people all over the world can’t be wrong, right? So I binged the f**k out of it and am now a die hard fan.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the role of Tamiel, like giving her a backstory of any kind in your own mind, maybe one that would help justify why she was part of the Heapsters?
I have a fantastic backstory…so beautifully detailed, all in the brilliant mind of Scott. He shared it with me and I was blown away. My mind immediately raced and the excitement of it made for many sleepless nights. It made my job so effortless as I was just immediately, well, Tamiel, after talking with Scott. I hope we all get to see it so that brilliance can be shared.
Have there been any funny or memorable behind the scene moments?
ANY?! More like so many! It is such a gift to be a part of The Walking Dead Family. From the three people it takes to get me into costume to get it over what Andy (Lincoln) and I call “chinese sticky buns hair;” to Danai saying I look like a crazy chick that even Michonne wouldn’t mess with; to Pollyanna McIntosh, Thomas Francis Murphy, and I doing the “Catwalk” Dance in our best Zoolander “Magnum” on our way to the top of our heap to frankly, just listening and watching everyone else laugh and joke around with each other. I would have to add a camera to catch all the funny moments. Which, ya know, is another major blessing. It’s some serious shit we’re doing so keeping it light on set helps so much. Denise Huth is great at that, as is the entire, and I mean entire, cast and crew. Greg Nicotero and Jeff January, the two directors I’ve gotten to work with, are also hysterical. But when it’s time to settle and do the work, it’s time to settle and do the work. And Andy Lincoln is just amazing at that! He and the rest of the cast made me so comfortable. My first day, I had to shove Andy. And I’m like, “Its Andrew F**king Lincoln! I can’t shove Andrew F**king Lincoln!” So I gave him a little push. And he laughed and said, so sweetly, “Is that all ya got!” He’s a fantastic leader both on and off screen. Truly a dream come true.
You have starred in movies and television. Which do you prefer and why?
I don’t have a preference. Every one is a different experience. Every one is a chance to explore something new. To become someone new and walk in those boots…er…I mean shoes. That’s why I do what I do.
What about the screenplay you wrote, produced, and starred in or will soon?
Oh, wow! You’ve done your homework! I love it! It’s called Craftique. It’s hilarious! It’s a mockumentary in the vein of Best in Show meets The Big Lebowski meets Talladega Nights but for crafters (yeah, like quilters, Tupperware painters, Potholder makers and so on). Whoa, that’s a lot of meetings but it’s just that funny. We have some amazing people on board already and more to add. I can’t. f**king. wait!
Do you have any new acting roles in your future?
I do and I can’t wait until I’m able to share them. 🙂
Is there anyone who has been an inspiration to you in your acting career?
There have been so many in terms of actors and actresses that have inspired me to even just be an actor. But in terms of inspiring me personally, to keep going, that would be my husband. The times I’ve wanted to give up, he wouldn’t let me. Without him, I wouldn’t have gotten my first feature, After, done. I’ll be forever grateful to him for that, even when he someday, in the hopefully very distant future, gets tired of my shenanigans and kicks me to the curb. 🙂
You are a writer, producer, and actor. Which do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy them all and they all torture me. They all suit different aspects of my personality and many times clash with each other. But they also inspire each other and give insight to each other. Like, as a writer, I kick ass at dialogue. That is the one thing I actually know I’m good at. But as a producer, I’m like, “wow, uh…how can I say this…can we cut some of this cause I don’t think we can afford to shoot it all?” and then as an actor, I’m like, “but that’s so meaty! Who wouldn’t want to have that part and say those lines?! I know I would!” So yeah…torture.
What can you tell us about the restaurant named after a painting of you and the many paintings of you by Artist Ramon Santiago?
Again…damn good homework, Sassy! Well, I don’t think the restaurant is there anymore but Ramon Santiago was a very dear, close family friend. I even called him, “Uncle.” He was a brilliant artist. He had been painting me since I was a child almost to the day he died. One of the paintings Ramon did of me was bought by the owners of the Strathallan Hotel in Rochester and I guess they liked it so much, that’s what they decided to call the restaurant. A tribute more to Ramon’s work than me…that’s for sure.
Is there anything you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know?
Well, I don’t know what you know but…I like Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels, I’m a vegan, I snore like a freight train, I am a “How the Universe Works” and science geek. Oh, and I’m appearing at my first convention! The nice folks at Horrorhound Weekend are giving me my virgin appearance March 17-19 in Cincinatti. I can’t wait to meet fellow The Walking Dead Fans! I just hope I don’t talk their ears off 🙂
What great, expansive answers to our questions! I appreciate you sharing with all us fans. I’m leaving this photo of Sabrina here; it is a far cry from Tamiel with the sticky buns hair. She is absolutely breathtaking! Source: IMDb I wonder what Tamiel will be doing on The Walking Dead next. Tune in with me on Sunday nights on AMC at 9/8C and tell me what you think @sassypoo.r