Actress Lauren Cohan knew she had to take a break from The Walking Dead after becoming too comfortable on the hit zombie drama.

The star has been a series regular on the TV adaptation of the hit comic books since 2011, when she joined the cast as Maggie Greene in season two, but she will only feature in a few episodes of the upcoming ninth season after deciding to step away and try new projects.

“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 tells The Associated Press.

However, Cohan reveals her character isn’t being killed off, as producers wanted to give her the option of returning at a later date.

“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 continues.

Branding the opportunity “a gift”, Lauren adds, “The Walking Dead is responsible for more (of her career) than I can say.”

Season nine, which will also mark the final run for co-star Andrew Lincoln, is set to premiere in October (18), but in the meantime, Cohan has been building up her film resume with new Mark Wahlberg movie Mile 22, which was directed by Lone Survivor filmmaker Peter Berg, and she enjoyed mixing in comedic lines with action sequences.

“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,” Lauren explains. “It always feels like you’re opening a window into real life.”

She is also poised to return to the small screen next year (19) as a CIA operative in TV movie Whiskey Cavalier, a comedy/drama co-starring Scott Foley.

“The hardest part is not laughing…,” she smiles. “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.”