Andrew Lincoln is best known for his role in playing Rick Grimes for nine seasons on The Walking Dead. He brought a ton of heart to a character living in horrific conditions in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It was a career-defining role in what amounted to really his first big work on the screen. So one could be forgiven if when they see Lincoln all they think about is that borderline iconic character. He hasn’t been in all that much else. But there is a movie on Netflix now that represents the actor’s first big foray on-screen since Rick Grimes was written out of The Walking Dead. Now you can catch Penguin Bloom on Netflix.
Penguin Bloom stars Andrew Lincoln and Naomi Watts, a couple dealing with a tragedy in their lives. On a vacation in Thailand, Sam Bloom (Watts) suffers a catastrophic injury when she falls off a ledge at a tourist lookout. The accident leaves her a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. Suffering from depression from the horrific injury, she recedes from her family and into a depression around her new circumstances. But then her son Noah (Griffin Murray-Johnston) finds a stranded baby magpie and brings it home. The story follows how this tiny bird (they name it Penguin), and the family’s insistence on raising it, mirrors Sam’s own struggle out of the abyss. Check out the trailer for Penguin Bloom:
As you can see from the trailer, Andrew Lincoln’s character is very much the pained father, struggling to deal with the fallout from the accident in his own right. It is, for sure, quite the removal from the Rick Grimes character he played on The Walking Dead in terms of tone and plot. But there are elements that do overlap. For starters, the insistence on family and protection is still very much there, something the actor has brought deftly to the screen for many years.
Penguin Bloom is based on the book Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family, written by Bradley Trevor Grieve and Cameron Bloom. Andrew Lincoln plays the author Cameron Bloom who tells this story from his own eyes and how raising this bird help bridge some of the grief and sadness the family felt in the wake of the accident.
From a critical perspective, Penguin Bloom, earned solid, if unspectacular marks in its reviews. The general consensus being that the story could have used a slightly defter touch in how it handled some of the plot pieces. But critics were near-universal in their praise for both Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln who brought an overabundance of emotion to their respective roles. It is a wide-range of feelings and hurt that play out on screen, but the two were clearly up for the task. While Watts is already entrenched as one of the best actresses around, for Lincoln it’s a sign that he has a long career ahead of him in more conventional roles.
While Penguin Bloom was Andrew Lincoln’s first major role post-Walking Dead, there are still plans for him to return as Rick Grimes in some fashion. Remember, the last we saw of the character wasn’t in a death scene but rather being ferried away in a helicopter to parts unknown. Leaving that story open-ended allowed the writers to bring him back at some point if the stories aligned. Recent rumors have him coming back to the character but not on the AMC show. No, it looks like he’ll be up on the big screen when The Walking Dead film finally hits. That movie, which could culminate the original television show is scheduled to start production early this year.
The Walking Dead did continue after Andrew Lincoln left the show, putting out a 10th season and now gearing up for number 11th in the next year. It’s been a remarkable run that, even with a dropoff in audience, does maintain a core fanbase. It’s even inspired spinoff shows as well like Fear the Walking Dead along with upcoming works like The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Tales from the Walking Dead, and even one centered on just Darryl and Carol.
Andrew Lincoln has laid relatively low since leaving The Walking Dead and that continues to be the case. He doesn’t have a whole lot in the production timeline. But there’s still a chance to catch him in a much different look on Netflix right now. Go check him out in Penguin Bloom.