When it comes to television it doesn’t get much bigger than Walking Dead. It’s always a hot button issue come Monday around the water coolers at work. Hell, even during the show I’ve been known to receive and deliver texts. All of which have some sort of emotions behind them. Come on! Oh my god no way! Did you see that? These are just a few of the ways these messages start. That has to say something about the show right? To create this tangible essence, to make you feel like you have something invested into these characters speaks volumes to the writhing and acting that goes into the show. So when Slack Jaw Punks had a chance to go to a panel at Motor City Comic Con featuring some of the key players we were all about it. What juicy behind the scenes info did we find out? I guess you’ll just have to read below.
Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh) on how he got involved in the show:
Just for me I auditioned and read the script. Pilot season in Los angles and California is a real important and busy time as you are first starting out as an actor. I would never give this advice, but I got me a show an offer and a good bit of money for an idiot kid like me but I read the Walking Dead and I told my agents, until I can get an audition for the walking dead I can’t take this show. They all thought I was a manic! But I just knew that the Walking Dead was the greatest. I went on a lot of auditions and screen test, with Frank Darabont it’s an incredible process getting onto that show. They really tired the Rick and Shane character together at the same time, a lot of chemistry reads and trying to find that pair. And when I gazed into Andrew Lincolns eyes it was special. I was super excited to get on it, then I read the comic book while I was eating a sandwich and by the time I was done eating the sandwich I saw that I was dead in the comic book and thought awe man! Well, this aint going to last long.
Jon Bernthal thoughts on planning Shane the necessary evil in the show:
I thought it was a real honor to play that character in the show. What an awesome opportunity to take a guy when you first find him he is having a conversation with his buddy having a couple of burgers fries and a pile of ketchup. Talking about his marital problems trying to be the best friend he can, I knew where he would end up sleeping with that woman tearing apart this family and trying to kill him. With two seasons of work I knew it would be a crazy arch and journey to go on. And unlike a lot of other people on the show I had a very cool and daunting and helpful tool which was, I knew I was going to go at the end of the second season. So, I really could plot out and be strategic about how I played him and where he was in his morality. It’s funny people come up to me and say you know I really hate Shane. And that’s cool you all can hate him if you want but for me I thought it was really cool to not play him as a villain like the mustache twirlling guy. It was really important for me to have him come from a place that he was really trying to do the right thing trying to keep the people he loved alive. Try to be there for his friend, try to be there for the woman he loved and a kid he thought of as a son. I think it’s cool because he was the first character on the show that became the product of this new world.
Jon Bernthal on the final conflict between Shane and Rick:
I pouted around like a little punk at the end because I didn’t get my way at the end. Andy and I wanted a little different ending. Basically, the idea was that we would go into the woods kill the prisoner I would’ve started changeling Rick and tell him I’m a better father than he is and tell him I’m a better man than he is and all this crap, really try to push him. The only difference is I wanted Rick to take his gun out of his holster and say you’re my brother Shane, and say what do you want me to do kill you? and throw his gun away. This would make Shane go crazy and Shane would dig into him even further. Place his gun against Ricks face saying I’m a better father than you, I’ve tasted Laurie you know something really awful. I wanted Rick to stab Shane and Shane fall down on the ground dead. As Zombie Shane reanimates Rick picks up Shane’s gun click, click, click it’s empty and Carl comes out of the woods to shoot him. The only reason Shane took rick out to the woods was to make Rick take that step to make him man enough to raise his kid. It was a dark murder suicide but a way of really fucking with his best friend.
Scott Wilson (Hershel Green) tells us about his favorite scenes while working on the Walking Dead:
It’s not an easy question. The scene with Rick and Shane going at it was a great scene. After they chopped off Ol’ Herschel’s leg off and drag him down the hall which leads up to the next episode where in cell and the leg is gone. What they did was cut a hole in the bunk so I stuck my leg down there so it didn’t look like I had a leg. So I decided just to stay there thought the scenes because I didn’t want to slow anything down. So, you know the scene where everyone’s around me looking over poor Herschel and stuff in the middle of the scene I start snoring. So I wake up with everyone standing around laughing at me. So I have to say that’s the funniest scene I’ve been in with the show.
Scott Wilson talks address Herschel’s change throughout Walking Dead:
It goes back to episode eight. That’s a question I kept asking the writers. Where does Herschel go? If he’s coming to the realization you’re asking him to change his whole being, the kind that would pull a trigger? That’s the beginning of Herschel dropping out and falling off the wagon. He was going through his own issues and they wanted him to die behind the bar during the shooting. I said no he’s not going to die behind the bar he doesn’t give a crap, he doesn’t care he’s going to sit there and watch it, if he gets shot so what? It doesn’t feel like he doesn’t have that much to lose, he’s lost a lot. I think that scene kept me from being taken out that season. I got a call saying they were taking me out I said cool it’s been fun. He said no I like what you’re doing maybe a few more episodes and then that came and so on and I think that scene made them want to see a little bit more oh Herschel.
Jane McNeill (Patricia) speaks about what she sees as the most shocking and surprising death on the Walking Dead:
Scott’s death in season four which hit me by surprise and I called him on the phone was like Scoooottt! That was a hard one in itself. And when Lizzy and Kyla died I was absolutely dumbfounded by that episode. I felt like it was such a strong episode Carols work and Melissa’s work I was really blown away by that one because again it raises the issues of how to do maintain dignity and humanity in the face of such horrible catastrophe? You’re faced everyday with this inhuman life and yet struggle within yourself inside with what makes me human and what makes me different from that?