Eleanor Matsuura plays Yumiko on "The Walking Dead", season 9.
Never one to shy away from awesome characters that take you on their personal journey (and struggles) on "The Walking Dead", the latest addition to the great cast we've seen so far is definitely one to watch.
Japanese-English actress Eleanor Matsuura who is the latest kickass female on the zombie apocalypse show plays Yumiko, a bow and arrow wielding survivor.
That's not all, being part Asian, fans from this part of the world also attribute her character to filling the hole left by fan favourite Steven Yuen's Glenn since season seven.
As if that's not enough 'representation responsibility' to carry, Matsuura's character is also a lesbian. As per the comics, Yumiko and Magna (played by Nadia Hilker), who come from a new batch of survivors, are featured prominently in Season 9 of the show as a couple.
Following Andrew Lincoln's exit as Rick Grimes and now with the latest announcement of Danai Gurira who plays Michonne leaving after the current season ends, we need someone as strong as Yumiko to reign in the rest.
Cinema Online had the great pleasure of speaking to Eleanor, and she tells us of the responsibility her character has to bear in a series as big as this, and what fans can expect from Yumiko in the future...
Yumiko and Magna make up a new lesbian couple on the series.
Cinema Online: Hi Eleanor. Deadline just reported that "The Walking Dead" is the most in-demand series in the world. How does it feel to be part of TV's biggest show right now?
Eleanor Matsuura: Oh, I didn't know that! That's such a great thing to hear. It has definitely been a wonderful ride. I feel so welcomed and it's been amazing being part of this incredible team. The cast and crew made me feel right at home despite me having just joined in.
What can you tell us about your character Yumiko? She seems pretty bad ass and did you require any training for weapons before filming? Especially with Yumiko's use of the bow and arrow?
I love my character. She's such a strong and serious survivor! What I probably love most about Yumiko is that she's very unpredictable. No one should get too comfortable with her. She's also fiercely loyal and will protect those that she cares about fearlessly, even if that means having to kill someone. I did spend a couple of months training, getting fit, and of course with the bow and arrow, and I'm confident in using it. It gives edge to Yumiko.
Representation in showbiz now is especially important and you get to play this strong female character, who is a lesbian and who is also part Asian. How are you managing with all this responsibility?
The representation of women on the show has been impressive! It is really diverse and they are all so very complex. Of course there was a huge amount of responsibility felt with bringing Yumiko to life, but it's also great to play a character who represents Asians and to bring that on a screen through a huge series like "The Walking Dead". It's been a great honour. Playing a lesbian, there are some moments between Yumiko and Magna that just proves how loyal Yumiko is, and I'm really proud of that.
The last and most important question, how do you think you would fare in a real-life zombie apocalypse.
Oh definitely, I've had some martial arts training before this and I know how to use my weapons. I would surely make it in a zombie apocalypse! [Laughs]
Will these new batch of survivors make it alive from The Walkers? Or even the Whisperers?
"The Walking Dead" season 9 is currently back for its second half. Watch it every Monday, at 11.30AM with a primetime encore at 9.30pm on FOX.
Subscribers of video-streaming service, FOX+, can now enjoy box sets of season one to eight of "The Walking Dead", as well as the first half of season nine (available in select territories).
Cinema Online, 13 February 2019