NEW YORK (AP) -- Even battling zombies day in and day out can get repetitive.
After eight seasons of fighting for her life on AMC's "The Walking Dead," Lauren Cohan knew she needed a change when she felt a little too comfortable with the job. That's why she's saying goodbye to the role, though producers are leaving the door open should she change her mind.
"Eight years is a really long time to be in those emotional depths and it's really fun for me because I never thought about drama as much when I started this career and I always kind of assumed I'd do like light fare," she told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
She has always fought against the idea of being too comfortable, in work and life overall. There was a time she scratched that itch by moving into new houses.
"This is a much better way of doing it," Cohan laughed.
Cohan, 36, will appear in the first half of season nine, premiering in October. She considers the offer to return "a gift."
"There's a chance for me to still explore the Maggie character and it's going to be fun to see if that can be done," she said.
She gave the show lots of props ("'Walking Dead' is responsible for more than I can say") but is looking forward to new film and TV projects.
The first is "Mile 22," starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg with the hope of becoming a film franchise. It follows a secret CIA task force that must retrieve and transport an intelligence asset through 22 miles of hostile territory. It's fast-paced and intense, but also funny.
Cohan said the cast was encouraged to improvise in some scenes.
"It's fun to play the witty dialogue and I always love in Pete's movies how there are a lot of normal people with interesting conversations," she said. "It always feels like you're opening a window into real life."
Next, Cohan will act opposite Scott Foley in ABC'S "Whiskey Cavalier," debuting in 2019.
"The hardest part is not laughing," she said. In the dramedy, Cohan plays another CIA operative but one who gets matched with Foley's superstar FBI agent to solve cases.
"They have this wonderful 'Moonlighting' vibe," she said. "I'm an emotional character with a steely exterior and the guys are much more in touch with their feelings. It's funny! It's great. It's a really fun departure for me."