The Walking Dead Set Visit Part II: Zombies Invade the ATL
“The people that are playing the walkers are incredibly committed,” adds Lincoln. “They get in very early and they have long hours. All the sequences that I’ve had to do with the walkers have been amazing. They’re so charged for it.”
The production held an open casting call to locate the best and the brightest local undead. And once the right men, women and whatnot were assembled, they headed to zombie school to prep for production.
“We actually spent three days and auditioned everybody,” says Nicotero of the zombie casting. “It was interesting because I initially thought my experience with zombie movies is you just let them do whatever they want to do. George [Romero] always said, ‘You show 50 people one movement, then you have 50 people doing all the same thing.’ So we sort of just lined them up and said, ‘Let’s see what your zombie walk would look like,’ and then they would do it and we would say, ‘Try this or try that.’ You know, sort of fine tuning everybody.”
“You learn what your motivation is,” adds Hurd. “We’re hungry, we want to eat. And the fact that not everything is working quite properly. We talked about the inspiration being not the super fast zombies, but the cemetery zombies in Night of the Living Dead. They can get up to kind of a jog.”
Both Darabont and Nicotero, who has worked with Romero several times, are zombie purists. In their mind Romero’s zombies are the bible by which all others should be judged. “It’s not that I’m against [fast zombies],” says Nicotero, “it’s just not what I grew up with. It’s interesting, too, because a couple takes we did, where a couple of the zombies kind of broke into a run, and after one take Frank’s like, ‘Did they run too fast? They shouldn’t be running. Slow them down.’ This is trying to be creepy and moody and, you know, you’re building up all this kind of scary tension.”
Kirkman promises the show will have some easter eggs for fans of the series paying attention, but you won’t be seeing him amongst the undead any time soon. “I have decided that I do not want to [be a zombie], simply because I don’t like myself,” says Kirman. “It’s a problem I have. I can’t wait to sit down and watch the finished pilot. If I were to walk by on that screen sometime, it would just ruin the whole show for me.”
From what we saw both live on set and in images from the production, the zombies look simply stellar. We’ve seen great work from Nicotero before, but he’s truly outdone himself here, especially considering the time constraints of shooting a television show compared to a feature. When the dead hit your TV on AMC this October, prepare to be disgusted (in a good way).
Look for Part III next Thursday.
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Walk with the dead in the Dread Central forums!