Keven's Zombie Interview Round-Up for THE WALKING DEAD
Published: October 29, 2010 - 8:44pm
EXCLUSIVE: Over the last month I've interviewed 10 of the featured zombies from AMC's upcoming TV series The Walking Dead; Check out some of the highlights from this exclusive 10 part series and then tune in this Sunday for the premiere on Halloween night.
Keven: You mentioned that you were on a tank chasing after Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes on the show), that must have been enjoyable.
Sonya Thompson: Its always a good day to chase after the lead of the show. I did my own stunt work on that one. That scene was very exciting, he looked kind of scared. (laughing)
Keven: What was it like working with the incredible make-up crew for the show? Greg Nicotero is one of the best – if not the best in the horror industry right now – did you get to meet him?
Larry Mainland: He’s not only a great artist; he’s one heck of a great guy as well. I was fortunate enough to have him make me up 3 times! The first time he saw me he told me he was personally going to do my make-up, “because you’ve got the perfect face for a zombie!” At the time, I didn’t realize how big of a compliment that was and I had no idea who Greg was either. After he made me up that first time and I arrived on the set, Frank and a few others raved over how I looked. They took me off to do some special shots and when I finally did the scene (the car scene), I learned very quickly what they meant by it being special. I was totally surprised when that picture was the first one shown to the public that was not shot in Hollywood…and it’s been used for many different things since.
He did a great job on the make-up for the promo shots too. Some of them almost scared me (seriously) when I saw them at the end and I hope they use some of those down the road, but they did put out one of them in the comic book. It’s a scene with Sonya Thompson (wonderful actress, person and now friend) and we look AWESOME, if I do say so myself!
Greg made everyone he worked with feel very comfortable. All of the people who worked for him were the same way. He was the best there, but they weren’t far behind and could do just about as good a job as he could. But hey, we’re talking about the crew who did all the creatures on Narnia! They should be good…
Keven: Did you work with Frank Darabont closely? If so, what was he like on set and did he give you any tips on how to look or act?
Christoph Vogt: First time I've met Frank Darabont was in the Zombie school when he gave pointers on the zombie's motivations, and specific movement. He had his hands full on the set, but even after a long shooting day, Frank always made sure he thanked us in person for job well done. That just the way he is! Let's not forget Michelle Maxwell MacLaren (Breaking Bad) who I had the pleasure to work with on this set. She did an outstanding job directing and I would work for either of these directors again in a heartbeat.
Keven: Can you talk about any scenes that you're in and which episode(s) we can expect to catch a glimpse of you so our audience knows to keep an eye out? Can you speak on which scene(s) you were involved in?
Steve Warren: I think everyone's read about the scene where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) rides into town on a horse and zombies end up eating the horse. Depending on how it's edited you may see me with a mouth full of entrails.
My big individual moment comes when I chase Rick and Glenn (Steven Yuen) up a fire escape ladder. It was 95 degrees and I was sweating too much to grasp the rungs. I couldn't have done it as myself but as a zombie I could. Now I'm proud to say I did my own stunt.
Keven: Your scene is with the show's lead, Andrew Lincoln (Rick), what was he like on the set. There's a lot of pressure on him in playing such an iconic character, what was he like behind the scenes?
Melissa Cowan: I didn’t meet Andrew until the day we filmed, I actually didn’t get to meet him personally before going into make up, so I think it was very real for him when we filmed. He had no idea what I looked like underneath the entire getup; once he saw “me” he was like wow, who knew such a beautiful girl could be under all of that. (laughing)
But while we were filming, he would always come up and give me words of encouragement, tell me what a great job I was doing, would ask if I was OK with the heat, contacts, if I needed anything to drink etc, even on the other days when I worked, and I wasn’t “bicycle girl” and was other zombies we always chatted... He is a sweet heart, very soft spoken and genuine guy.
I actually would get motivation from him while filming, the day that we filmed bicycle girls scenes, you could tell he was trying to stay in the zone, in which he did a great job.
We would film for a while and then take a break to change camera angles or whatever and he would first approach me and we would chat briefly and then he would walk away from everyone and just remain in character it seemed like. A lot of people find that hard to do, but we could come back from an hour long break and the first take he nails it, he is an incredible actor. I think the fans are going to be very happy with him.
Keven: Tell me what it was like playing a zombie and having a gun pointed at you by Andrew Lincoln. He mentioned that he had a hard time with that scene and that everyone was very nice to you during the filming of it - did Andrew say anything to you before or after the scene?
Addy Miller: Well actually yes he did. We were inside in the air conditioning and he said something like
"Let's become friends before I shoot you."
I don't really remember his exact words, but he was really nice and made me feel more at ease. Also after I had all my makeup taken off and went back to set, he said something about knowing I was a pretty girl under all that makeup. (Smiling) I really liked that.
Playing a zombie wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I had actually been a zombie before on another film, but not with the full makeup and the padding for my fall. I wasn't scared of the gun, I knew it was empty because a crew member showed it to me before we did the scene.
Keven: What was it like working in a shut-down street in Atlanta - it must have been creepy to see it look so devastated - did any regular people not involved with the production catch a glimpse of you in zombie mode?
Danny Capes: Yes, it was wild working on the deserted downtown streets of Atlanta. They made it looks so real, that the end had come, it still is kind of unreal. Yes, some people saw us from their apartment buildings and also when we would walk from the set back to our first holding spot of the day. It was actually funny, walking through Woodruff Park at like 5 in the afternoon on a Saturday and seeing everyone’s expressions.
Keven: Did Frank Darabont or any of the other directors give you any advice or speak to you on the set?
Bryan Stretch: Absolutely. Both Frank & Michelle MacLaren ( 2nd Episode Director) were very communicative & easy to talk with.The moment Frank saw me, he looked at me and said,
"Stretch, you look like Dawn Of The Dead 5. I've gotta use you."
I told him, "Frank, you name it I'll do it. I serve at the pleasure of the production." So...He did. Frank pulled me aside after we'd wrapped the 2nd big day on the tank and he asked me if I'd done any stunt work because he loved what I did that day. I told him that I was zombie that opened Zombieland, and he said, "Awesome. this is Andy Martin, my stunt coordinator. I want you to open Episode 2 when Andrew comes out of the tank. How do you feel about getting knocked off the top of it.
I asked what he had in mind, then we proceeded to act out what he had in mind. He threw swings as he'd say what he was thinking & I'd react like I was taking the hit. I was fun riffing with him. After that I immediately told him, " I'm in. Ummm, Will an airbag or pads of some sort be provided?" He smiled. I can't say enough about the makeup job Kevin, Andy & Greg did on me, and the opportunity Frank, Gail & Michelle gave me. I only hope that my performance met their expectation.
Keven: What was the makeup process like transforming you into the undead? Did you meet Greg Nicotero?
Cody Rowlett: Well, I actually met Greg Nicotero before filming while in one of the many pre-production 'Zombie Training' classes. We were learning to walk, move and react like the 'undead' and Greg Nicotero and Frank Darabont observed so that they could choose some 'featured' zombies. Being tall and very thin, they pulled me aside and asked me how I felt about being in full makeup, possibly shirtless. I basically told them that they could do whatever they wanted to me! I mean.. come on! I was built for this! They were very thorough in making their decisions and very respectful. I remember going home that day thinking that this was going to be an amazing production.
The day that I arrived on set to be in full make-up for the first time they pulled around six of us to go to the make-up trailer where we lined up outside and I, being a gentleman, allowed some of the ladies to go first. I actually ended up being last in line. I got called in and I was told to choose a chair, so I chose the seat on the end. It just happened to be Greg Nicotero's station of all people! I sat facing away from the mirror and observed several others being transformed and airbrushed to the point where they were unrecognizable. Every time I looked in the mirror I had another wound or accentuated feature on my face. I glanced at Greg a few times while he was working on my face and neck and you can tell that he takes great pride in what he does.
He was very cool, focused, friendly and respectful. Almost like a longtime friend that you only see a few times a year. He would take photos of us on set and show us how gruesome we looked, walk around with extra blood and grime to make sure that we were looking our absolute 'undead' best. The entire effects team was outstanding and meticulous even when being rushed.
Keven: You were a part of the horse feast scene? I'm told it was quite horrific to see?
Kristen Sanchez: I was right in the middle of it and it was awesome. Seeing them bring the buckets of blood and guts out and load it into the horse for us to "eat" - it was like a riot scene. I almost got crushed and by the end of it I was just covered with the blood.
It took days to wash all the blood out of my hair.
Check out the full Interviews below: