TV veteran and “Gone Girl” co-star Kim Dickens has scored a lead role in “The Walking Dead” don’t-call-it-a-spinoff series at AMC. She’ll star opposite Cliff Curtis in the show, which is set in a different part of the same world.
Per Deadline, which broke the news, Dickens will play a guidance counselor who has two kids (the previously cast Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Carey) and is in a relationship with Curtis’ character, a divorced teacher. The character is described as having “a darkness to her” and “a troubled past.”
In other words, it’s the sort of character Dickens has ample experience inhabiting, and which she does extremely well. Just about every TV role she’s had in the past decade, from Joanie Stubbs on “Deadwood” to Colette Jane on “Sons of Anarchy,” could be described the same way as this one is. Let’s examine the preparation Dickens has had for the part.
Dickens played Joanie Stubbs, who begins the HBO series as the madam at Cy Tolliver’s Bella Union and eventually sets out to open her own brothel. Her history includes a cruel father who essentially sold her to Cy and deep-seated guilt over failing to prevent her dad from having sex with her sisters. Troubled factor: Off the charts.
She recurred as Cassidy Phillips, a woman who met Sawyer in the years before his time on the island, became his student in con aristry, bore his child and, after he pulled a scam on her, pressed charges that had him sent to prison. She also encountered Kate before the crash and became her friend after the return of the Oceanic Six. Troubled factor: Asking a con man to teach you his ways probably means you’re not at the best place in your life.
‘Friday Night Lights’ (2010-11)
As Shelby Saracen, Matt’s mother, Dickens plays a woman who left her child when he was young (she and Matt’s dad divorced) and is now eager to reconnect with him. Neither one of them is in a great emotional place, but they slowly build a bond. Troubled factor: Moderate — it’s implied that she divorced Matt’s dad because of abuse, but when viewers meet her she’s attempting to make amends.
Dickens had a central role in HBO’s series about post-Katrina New Orleans as Jeanette Desautel, a chef struggling to keep her restaurant open after the storm. She moves to New York in Season 2, then returns home to face another set of challenges in opening a new place with corporate backing. Troubled factor: Though Janette is always presented as a decent person, the external pressure on her is often really high.
‘Sons of Anarchy’ (2013-14)
She appeared in seven episodes as Colette Jane, a madam (again) who does business with Nero and Jax, who also turns to her when he’s having issues with Tara. She meets an untimely end at the hands of the Chinese when they shoot up the brothel. Troubled factor: Hey, it’s “Sons of Anarchy.” Everyone has problems.