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Gurira leaves lasting impression on ‘Dead’

TV's Top 10: New Faces for Fall - Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira has never been a fan of the horror genre in either movies or TV. “I’m an absolute scaredy-cat,” she admits. “I avoid them with my life.”

But now, as the sword-wielding Michonne in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” she finds herself in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with zombies. Gurira’s badass character arrived on the scene near the end of the second-season finale, with a pair of chained-up armless undead in tow, and used her weapon of choice to finish off a zombie on the attack.

“It was really intense learning how to use the katana — enjoyable at some points and really painful at others,” she says.

“This role has a lot of intense physical work, which I savor as a performer. I come from theater and love intricately physical work that makes you have to use every inch of your being. This character pushes my body out of its comfort zone.”

Gurira, who is an award-winning playwright (“Eclipsed,” “The Convert”), Broadway performer (“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”), and TV (“Treme”) and film (“The Visitor”) actress, is the definition of a multihyphenate.

And now, portraying the popular warrior woman from “The Walking Dead” comicbook on which the series is based, Gurira knows that fans will be watching closely when the third season opens Oct. 14.

“I want to add to this excellent product that I’ve been entrusted with,” she says. “The beauty of Michonne is that she’s not a people-pleaser. She’s a very cool character to embody in that regard. There definitely will be an arc to her journey, on how she grows and develops as an individual.”