Each episode of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 has had a different focus, with different characters in the expansive ensemble taking the forefront; and this week’s “Bury Her Next To Jasper’s Leg” was no different, turning squarely to June Dorie (Jenna Elfman).
Decider: Because of the pseudo-anthology format this season, you’ve been able to embrace different genres… This episode — at least in part — was almost like a medical drama in certain areas. What was it like to tackle that, versus the regular mode of Fear The Walking Dead?
Jenna Elfman: We had an amazing consultant for me… For the opening scene inside the truck when I’m prepping to do the surgery on him, I think we rehearsed that for three hours, not on the day of filming. I was, “Guys, I really need to get my head wrapped around this because, also, she was a trauma nurse, and an ICU nurse.” And when people have this kind of training and do it for as long as she has, there’s so many things that are just a second nature, and they’re not… They don’t go into hysterics at an emergency. Their job is, especially trauma, is very calm, and everyone has their job. And this is [all] background. So when you’re on a learning curve, you have to learn everything there is.
You know, when you’re learning your lines, you have to learn everything about it, and then throw it away so that you can be very organic. I’m deeply grateful to nurses and respectful of EMTs and grateful for them. I’ll always want to honor them when I’m playing June. So I just really wanted to do it right, and he was so helpful. So that was just for the opening scene. And then for the scene, when I arrived at the oil fields, when you’re assessing a trauma situation, you have to triage. … I was picking his brain constantly, going, what are the things you’re looking for? Because it’s all observing and calculating. Observing and calculating and deciding action. Observe, calculate, decide, action, execute.
It’s written that [way when] I’m entering, and walking in, it’s all the dialogue, but I had to build in there. She has to triage, and she has to assign, and delegate while triaging… Once we get in there and we get into the area with all the people, again, triage the staff, delegate, handle, end of the scene. And all of the emotions, and the dynamics, and the relationships… It was all a lot — in a great way — because it was very stimulating, and he was right there the whole way helping me. So, I’m just so grateful for that.
At the end of the episode, John and June are heading in separate directions after we’ve seen them just get back together, at least in terms of TV time. Did June know that John was probably going to leave when they were driving off together?
There was a scene where we see June, see him drive away. But then we had a problem with the truck, and then COVID hit. And so we didn’t do it. So originally as written, you would have seen June’s response to seeing him pull away.
I don’t think June thought he would ever do that. Not in a million years. … Because when she parts ways with him, she’s, “You will follow behind. Right?” And she’s on this high of having gotten Ginny to give her the hospital, and she’s trying to say this is us now, it’s new. We can change. Now’s a new moment. There’s some other threats. It’s not just Ginny. I think she’s being optimistic and trustworthy and having faith, because he won’t tell her what’s really eating at him. She doesn’t actually know what happened. He won’t tell her. So she’s a little bit in an enforced naive condition on this whole thing.
She’s amazing to work with. She’s a fantastic actress and she’s so committed. And so in it, which is just great. … I loved having a scene of these two strong women, highly motivated about their own goals, and purposes in conflict. Trying to make the choices relating to their own path of survival, and those paths being in direct conflict, and wrestling with their humanity, and what’s important to them. And it’s women, not talking about men… It was really delightful and satisfying and fulfilling to do that scene with her.
This episode pulls back to the curtain a little bit on the End is the Beginning people… They seem like pretty bad news. What, if anything, can you tease about that going forward, and how it intersects with June?
I think, I would just say June’s committed. She’s committed to… She’s a committed group member. That’s all I can say!
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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