AMC TCA July 2015 Over the past decade Kim Dickens has amassed one of the most enviable television resumes imaginable, with stints on landmark series such as "LOST," "Friday Light Nights," "Sons of Anarchy" and "House of Cards," as well as her acclaimed series regular roles on HBO's "Deadwood" and "Treme."

As if the Old West or hurricane-torn New Orleans hadn't already provided stark, challenging enough backdrops for Dickens' performances, her next gig ups the ante: as a member of the cast of 'Fear the Walking Dead," the hotly anticipated spinoff/prequel to AMC's "The Walking Dead," the actress plays high school guidance counselor Madison Clark, who must navigate the onslaught of the zombie apocalypse with her fiancé and respective, splintered families. And although she had to wrap her head around the genre, she admits that now taking out walkers is both exhilarating and exhausting.

Moviefone: You've done some exceptional television over the years. Why did you want to be a regular on this particular show?

Kim Dickens: Well, it was sort of like, I finished "Treme," and I'd finished "Gone Girl." It was a big decision in my life: like where do I want to live next, character wise, story wise? It's like, I sort of took my time. And this thing came to me, and they said, "Do you want to audition?" And I said, "I don't think I'm right for this genre. I don't think I fit into that. I have not done that genre." And then I read it and I met with them and I was like, "Wow -– this is an amazing character! And this is really fun!" And it seemed like something totally different for me that I'd never done. And it's been nothing but fun. This has been a challenge and physical and it's kind of amazing. So I'm glad I made the decision. I just sort of have to follow my guts, my gut instinct was like, I don't know. I think this is it.

What was it about her that made you want to live in that role, possibly for years?

Well, I just like the high stakes of it all. I like the fact that the characters are going to be always on their toes and evolving and changing and questioning who they are in each moment. And it just seemed like a lot of really amazing stuff to get to play and explore.

Have you come to appreciate the genre?

It's super fun! I appreciate all the actors that perform on "The Walking Dead" because it's a workout. It's grueling. And it's really rewarding because it does challenge you that way. But Cliff [Curtis] and I were both saying, "I have never been more tired in my life" at the end of the season. But it's really fun. I really love it, and I'm always proud of the characters I do. I just feel like I've been fortunate. And I say no to things that if they're just the wife or just the girlfriend, it's not going to propel a story and not be fully dimensional, so I feel fortunate in here, again, is another well rounded human being that I get to play.

What's fun about doing action?

It's just challenging. It challenges you in a different way. It requires you to be very physically adept, and to choreograph things and work as a team in a different way. And you push yourself.

Was there anything that was challenging or difficult?

Well, I don't really want to give away anything, but yeah, there's stuff. Stuff I do that I don't do every day [Laughs].

When you shoot a show with a gory aspect or even actors as zombies, did you ever find yourself creeped out -– or do you go the other way, finding it hilarious?

Well, I think laughing is a defense mechanism. You're like, oh. That's intense. But no, I'm a little squeamish. I don't like horror things so much. As a youngster, I saw "Jaws" and the "Exorcist" and "Halloween," and that was enough. I'm done. Now, you learn your lesson. But the amazing thing is just in the work is in the special effects and everything. It is just astounding to see in person. And the performances of the people that are the zombies is stuff, those are very skilled background players and stunt people. And the work is amazing, and it's breathtaking. And like I said, Cliff and I both get a little squeamish, so it's not for the faint of heart.

When you go into a prequel to such a big show, did you have any trepidation?

You know, I didn't think about it enough. Had I thought about it a lot more, I would have been like, "Oh, sh--. What am I doing?" What's amazing is that it already does have this incredible fan base that is so loyal and passionate. And I don't think we expect ourselves to just get the instant fan base or anything. We might get some. We might get some people that aren't fans of the original. Who knows? But I appreciate their excitement about the show, and I didn't worry about it at all. We were just there working really hard and putting our hearts into it. Then, as it gets closer to presenting it, I do feel a little pressure, like, [gasps]. "I hope they like it!"

Of all the great material you've worked on, was "Gone Girl" an even bigger game changer?

Yeah, "Gone Girl" is one of those things that came along, and I thought "Are you kidding me? I get to do this?" I never would have imagined that I would – the competition level is just so extreme. There's so many wonderful actresses that usually get to do those kind of roles. And for some reason, [David] Fincher looked my way, and I felt a real strong connection to the part and to the Gillian [Flynn's] script and novel. So that was a mindblower when I got that phone call. And working on it was one of the great joys I've had. He's an incredible, incredible director and teacher.