The Walking Dead returns today! In part I of our report from The Walking Dead season 4 breakfast panel in San Diego, emcee Jonathan Ross had begun by asking the producers present – Gale Anne Hurd, Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman and Dave Alpert – about their plans for the upcoming season.
He also asked the cast members there – Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Andrew Lincoln, Chad Coleman, David Morrissey and Norman Reedus – about their individual roles in the upcoming season, before opening the floor to numerous questions about walkers, the relationship between Daryl and Carol and the return of Rick’s friend Morgan (Lennie James).
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Question: I’m always curious about the relationship between Daryl and Carol. How will this develop in season four?
Gimple: There will be much development. Circumstances…ah, I’m so spoiler-phobic! I will say their relationship develops a lot, but I would say, individuall the characters themselves go through things that really reveal how much they have changed in the zombie apocalypse
which I know doesn’t say much but uh, watch out because
Question: My question is for David Morrissey. How do fans react to you, cos you’re such a bad character?
Morrissey: Yeah, I was in the post office and this woman in front of me turned around, and she absolutely freaked that I was behind her. People love to hate you, on Twitter people just say that they hate me, so I take it very positively (laughter) I don’t walk around with a patch on, I think if I did, I would get a bit more volatility. He’s a great character to play, and I take it as a compliment when people spit at me in the street (laughter).
Question: I love everything about the episode ‘Clear’ [when Morgan returned]. My question is, will we see Morgan again in the fourth season?
Gimple: (Gimple and Robert Kirkman exchange furtive glances before Gimple speaks) You know I would never tell you. Never tell you!
Kirkman: I was gonna tell you!
Gimple: We will see Morgan again, and I’ll end this sentence there. And you know what, thank you.
Question: You guys have mentioned that there’s going to be more of a threat. Being that everyone now can deal with the walkers so easily, how do you make the walkers themselves more menacing?
Kirkman: Hold on, they’re not easily dealt with. They’re managed in certain situations, but as you’ll see in season 4, they’re still very clearly a threat, and it’s not something you can’t always prepare for. I think that by the time you get to season 4, these people have lived in this world so long that they’ve learned certain ways…to survive in this world, and manage the walker situation, but there’re always going to be situations where you’re not prepared for them. They’re more deadly than they’ve ever been before, and we’ll see lot of those moments in season 4.
Question: What can you tell us about the leadership of Rick in the fourth season?
Gimple: Well, he has stepped away from it. I think the leadership last year weighed heavily upon Rick, a great deal, and had an effect on his psyche and his family, so leadership has changed in the prison because of the priorities, and he’s contributing in a very different way. But we’ll see it, parts of it, very soon.
Lincoln: It felf different, in a good way. That’s been one of the most exciting things this season, playing different facets of the same guy and trying to regain the man he once was. It’s been fun, and and it feels more humane in some ways as well. He’s sort of realising his parenthood and responsibilities.
Ross: It strikes me what an incredible opportunity it must be for you guys, to have the chance to play these characters for so long and having gone through so many changes, and have the chance to fully explore some of them in a way you never can in a feature film. You think if you return to film, in that sort of short performance, will you find that frustrating, a difficult change back for you?
Lincoln: That’s a really good question, cos I’ve seen a lot of films recently where they’re trying to cram who these people are, the plot and then wrap it all up in one movie, and it’s a real, real challenge, I think. One of the greatest liberations doing this, is that you have 38 hours of character time that people have sat with and invested in. And it takes the pressure off you somewhat, as an actor, to try and to do too much in a scene, which helps your acting, I think certainly for me.
Question: What was your favourite zombie kill?
Reedus: I liked the hatchback smashing his head in the back of the hatchback. That was disgusting and fun.
Morrissey: You never forget your first (laughter). Mine was the helicopter pilot, but in a humane way I thought.
Coleman: Ditto for me, you never forget your first. Just the way I was brought in, I came in, hammer swinging.
Wilson: Well, I guess at the end of season 2, when Hershel picked up the shotgun and went oiut and…blazing, knocking zombies off, one after the other. I started to feel sorry for them after a while.
Cohan: I loved blade under the riot gear helmet, that was probably the most fun moment.
Yeun: I think the chair walker was really fun. That was lot of fun, just stomped the crap out of it. I got a little peeved.
Gurira: I actually can’t decide. I really loved the double decapitation in my first scene, but then in Clear, I loved the crispys – taking one out, and then taking another one out.
Lincoln: I’ve lost count now. Probably the pilot girl, I couldn’t believe we got away with that, frankly. And then I loved, I called it zombie sandwich, which is when they were on top of me, and then I blew them away through the mouth of the first.
Ross: Do you guys ever dream about zombies, do your eve dream about killing zombies? Does it sort of enter your subconscious?
Cohan: I definitely did, when I first started on the show. I would wake up and there’d be a zombie on the pillow. But then I just asked him to wash his face (laughter).
Nicotero: I know Sarah Callies dreamed, in season 1 she had nightmares, every night, about walkers. And then season 2, I remember her saying, I think I’m good, I don’t really dream about them any more. And then we made them more gory, and she started dreaming about them again
Question: Did the crew ever have a chance, or want to, play a walker on the show?
Hurd: Greg Nicotero is our go-to walker.
Nicotero: It’s a lot of fun. In episode 10 last year, when the walkers get into Woodbury and they start tearing someone apart, [someone] runs up and shoots the walker, it was the make-up that they did on me. And I stood there talking to Scott Wilson, I had all the make up on, and the dentures. And he was looking at me like, I know the eyes, but I can’t for the life of me tell who that is!
Hurd: ‘Why is this extra talking to me like he knows me?’
Nicotero: On season 1, my first introduction to all the actors, the walker that’s eating the deer was a walker that I had played. And the script supervisor didn’t understand why the walker was talking to the director about what the coverage of the scene would be. That was the first day that Norman showed up on set, and I was sitting in the van covered in gore, I’m like, hey, how’s it going? And he was like, umm, fine?
Reedus: ‘Who the hell is this guy?’
Nicotero: There’s some people in the crew who have played zombies. I think a couple of the actors have even said, I’d do it but no one can ever recognise me. [I go]: Really, you guys wanna sit in make-up and get all sticky and hot and stay in a field with ticks all day? And then uh: maybe not!
Question: If the apocalypse ever ends, what do you think your character will do first?
Cohan: Get a dog.
Yeun: I would buy a bald property.
Kirkman: (incredulous) From who?
Yeuun: I would just be like, this is mine, this is mine, that’s mine.
Reedus: Go straight to Hooters. (laughter)
Question: How did the Governor get away in the warehouse with Andrea, [when he was] swarmed by walkers?
Morrissey: He fought like hell. That’s the thing, he was cornered and he fought like hell. I think all the characters at one point, like Steven when he comes to Woodbury, they find something in them and it takes them to that level. You get lucky, but also you fight like hell, and it’s at those moments that you really find out about yourself and what you can do, and that leaves something on you. Actually, the fact that that you can work with that brutality, that you can survive, find it inside yourself to kill that way, just go for these people. He definitely learned something about himself in that moment, and he took that into the next episode. It happens to all the characters at one point, where they actually go, ‘I can do this’. And it’s not necessarily a bad feeling that they have [that they can survive]. That’s what the show is about, it’s about survival.
And that’s that. But here’s the best part of the breakfast panel – we met Norman Reedus!
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