Part One of Quint's day on the set of THE WALKING DEAD!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. “The Kirkmans are coming with us.”
After a night of ridiculous southern comfort food (I mean, fried ribs? Really?!?) at Fox Bros’ BBQ in Atlanta, Georgia I checked into my downtown hotel room and received a message from The Walking Dead’s publicist confirming my pick-up time the next morning… and with the above quoted sentence just thrown in there like it wasn’t anything.
If you’ve even glanced at this site in the last few weeks you’ve probably heard me gush over Robert Kirkman’s comic book THE WALKING DEAD. Since 2005 I’ve been a constant reader. No other publication has pulled me to the comic store like this since I was a kid.
I was already over the moon to be visiting the set of Frank Darabont’s pilot for the Walking Dead series and then to hear I’m going to be sharing a ride with Robert Kirkman? Get outta here.
And what a ride it was. They were shooting out in the boonies, some 45 minutes from Downtown Atlanta at a corner Texaco gas station at the crossing of two country highways. So, it was a nice amount of time to share some small talk with Robert and his lovely wife.
After a couple wrong turns we ended up seeing an electric sign at the side of the two-lane highway that urged caution up ahead. As we crested the hill we saw an overturned truck and I think every one of us thought it was a traffic accident. At first. Then we got closer and saw crew parking signs. Yep, all part of the set, but they kept the overturned truck and a crunched up car on the highway the whole day, with cops at the four way stop directing traffic.
Crew parking and was in the parking lot of a small Baptist church. No shit. And they were shooting on a Sunday, no less. I can’t imagine what the church goers thought about the post-apocalyptic vision right outside their doors. I mean, KNB’s trailer was right in front of the church. They must have thought the rapture was upon them when the stream of zombies came shambling out of the effects trailer.
For those worried that AMC is going to shackle Darabont and his collaborators the only thing I can say is that I was there for one of the earliest scenes of the series and I saw an eight year old zombie girl with her cheek chewed off, teeth showing through, get shot in the head.
It was the first zombie day and I was the very first set visit for the production. As I was ushered in front of the monitors, under the tent and out of the hot Georgia sun, I could see them blocking the next shot, which featured some KNB corpses in cars as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) walks down a hill, between cars, towards the gas station.
The gas station was a working Texaco closed for the day and was a great post-apocalyptic vision… at least 40 cars crammed in to the small space, even some parked on the grassy hill, all covered in dirt with doors hanging open and luggage tied to the roofs. A spray-painted sign with the simple message “No Gas” flapped in the wind above the pumps.
The first thing that grabbed my attention as the first shot went up was Rick’s big floppy brown Sheriff’s hat. If you’ve read the books you know how iconic that thing is and what it means to the father/son relationship of Rick and Carl Grimes. Rick’s whole outfit looked right out of the early days of the comic. The hat looked perfect. I know it’s a small detail to obsess over, but I’m a nerd, that’s what I do.
The second thing I noticed was that Darabont was shooting the pilot more like he shot his earlier films and not in the frenetic, hand-held style he employed on The Mist. Long, steady takes… vintage Darabont. To be completely honest I was relieved to see that. I quite like The Mist, but every time I watch it I wish he had been able to film it less like TV and more like his dramas.
Each take went on for maybe two and a half minutes as Rick slowly walked towards the gas station, a gas can and funnel in his hands. He stoops and peers into some cars as he passes, cautiously approaching the station. One camera was ahead of Rick as he walked, backing up in front of him. Another was a longer, static shot, seeing him walk from far away and grow larger in the frame as he approached.
This set-up ended when Rick got to the gas station.
David Tattersall (The Majestic, The Green Mile, Star Wars prequels) was the cinematographer of the pilot, another great indicator of a professional approach to this story. They were also shooting 35mm, not HD, yet another bonus.
Darabont was at video village one tent over and was directing via bullhorn if it was something simple (usually a camera direction – “A camera, frame right!” etc-). He’d run in if he had anything more detailed for the actor or camera department.
The dude looked like a kid in a candy store. He was having so much fun. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with this being the first zombie day… or maybe he just likes killing kids on camera. Or both.
In the break before the next set-up I got to give a hug to Denise Huth, Darabont’s lovely producing partner and all around cool lady and started talking to another one of the series’ producers: Ms. Gale Anne Hurd. I met her a while back when she came to Austin with The Incredible Hulk and then again later at Comic-Con and she ended up being my set buddy.
In fact at one point she totally schooled me as I was relaying a story about Arnold Schwarzenegger. We were talking about zombie make-up and how some extras might want to stay in their make-up so they can scare the shit out of people on their way home. I brought up the well-known story of Schwarzenegger staying in his first stage Terminator make-up from the first movie so he could go to diners and freak people out. Hurd turned around and said, “That’s categorically untrue.” She would know. In my defense, I did hear it from an effects guy on one of The Terminator commentaries or documentaries and Katherine Schwarzenegger wrote this article and says he came home in make-up and terrorized her as a kid.
But other than that things went swimmingly. Hurd gave off a very motherly presence, always making sure I was keeping myself hydrated and out of the hot sun.
The next shot was essentially the same action, but from much further away. Long lenses tracked Rick as he wandered down the hill, weaving in-between abandoned cars. The A camera always had him in frame, but the B camera would sometimes lose him, big blurry cars in the foreground obscuring him, only to pick him up again as he passed behind them.
From this they moved on to the very first zombie shot in the series. I knew this was coming up because I saw KNB’s Greg Nicotero running around wearing rubber gloves spattered with blood. He either decided to become a doctor and was performing emergency surgery or the undead were among us.
Let me run down the full action of the scene because from here on out they jump around in time with their coverage.
Rick leaves his cruiser on the road. He’s hasn’t seen a zombie yet, just corpses. I believe he is completely unaware of the zombie uprising at all at this point. He walks down to the packed gas station, sees corpses in cars, sees the “No Gas” sign and then he suddenly hears something: a shuffling sound.
He bends down, placing the gas can and his floppy Sheriff’s hat on the ground and looks underneath one of the cars. He sees a pair of small feet shuffling by in dirty bunny slippers. They get to a bloody teddy bear and stop. A tiny hand reaches down and picks it up.
Rick shoots up, calling out “Little girl! Little girl? It’s okay, I’m a police officer.” He rounds the car and sees her back as she slowly walks away, her blond hair dirty and clothes filthy. She stops, slowly turns revealing her zombie eyes (an infected red on the whites) and a gaping hole in her cheek, teeth showing through. The bloody teddy bear is clutched in one hand.
Rick is confused and revolted at the same time. She takes a slow step towards him and he backs up. She acts like those people you see in movies who are lost in a desert and see an oasis. The little girl starts slow and as she gets closer she shuffles faster and faster. Rick doesn’t have much time to react. He pulls his revolver, steadies it and takes a brief moment, hesitating… Undead or not, this is still a little girl.
He fires, taking her out. Unfortunately he also draws the attention of the biters in the area. They exit cars all around him and he ends up hauling ass back to his car, holding on to his hat like Indiana Jones running from the Hovitos at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He jumps into his car, the trunk still open and he peels away as a crowd of zombies crests the hill from the gas station.
So, the first zombie shot in the entire series was of two corpses in separate cars. “A” camera focused on an African-American lady with sunken eyes and Charlie Adlard zombie dentures. “B” camera was on a white dude in a suit. They look completely dead, slumped in their seats.
It wasn’t until around this time that Darabont noticed me sitting behind the monitors one tent over. He smiled and said, “Welcome back to the circus!” then proceeded to fire weapons like a Hawaiian shirt-wearing cowboy.
The action from earlier is repeated as Rick walks by their windows, peering in and seeing them. But now the camera is on the zombies, seeing Rick in the background. After Rick passes Frank gave it a moment and then he pulled the trigger on a .38 pistol. He fired blanks of course. It was to represent Rick shooting the little girl zombie.
In the first take the zombies jerked awake, looked around and slowly opened their respective car doors, exiting their automobiles and out of the shot.
Darabont tweaked this a bit and in the next take instead of “jerking awake” the zombie merely open their eyes and they exit the cars a little bit quicker. They got a few takes of this action and moved on.
An older gentleman was escorted onto the set by Andrew Lincoln and I could see him being introduced to people. Turns out this man was Ian Anderson, lead singer and flautist for Jethro Tull, also Andrew Lincoln’s father-in-law.
As luck would have it, Mr. Anderson was seated next to me and we got to bullshit for a while about the humidity of the summer and how that fucks up the specific microphones in his flutes. He said he’s had to tell his manager to lower the amount of shows he does a year to 120 (!!!) because he wants to take it a bit easier. He also reminisced about touring with Led Zeppelin in ’69.
It was quite a gas to see the crew come up to him, totally in awe. A lot of them would bring up specific shows (“I saw you at the Cow Palace in ’84!” etc) and Anderson engaged them all.
When Robert Kirkman was introduced to Ian Anderson, Ian said after his son-in-law got the job playing Rick he looked at the comic and wanted to know where all the zombies came from. Kirkman gets this question all the time, I’m sure, but he doesn’t get it all the time from a rock legend. He said they don’t ever explain how the zombies came to be in the book. “That’s the boring part to me.” He’d rather focus on the characters trying to live in that world.
This whole conversation spun into more zombie talk as Anderson described telling his 2 ½ year old granddaughter about monsters and how zombies were the first she could pick out when he was imitating them. He took his cues from the George Romero NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and then imitated one of those zombies for us, as he did with his granddaughter. Surreal moment to say the least.
Oh, and he carried his flute around with him in a nifty black case with a strap that hung over his shoulder. Cool, right?
I removed myself from conversing with Anderson so I could go check out the zombies up close.
These were fresh corpses. Wet. I met two in particular, a tall guy named Cody that had two different full-eye contacts… one made that eye look terribly damaged, the other a bright infection, and a shorter guy named Chris. Chris had incredibly realistic scratch marks on his neck.
In order to keep the make-up from melting in the sweltering heat, the zombies pretty much had the run of the air-conditioned Texaco interior. I hesitated to leave the blissful coolness of the gas station store, but upon exiting I was face to face with little Addy Miller, who was all dressed up as the little girl zombie.
The detail on her cheek piece was crazy. It really did look like a hole in her cheek, the teeth showing through. As a result of her make-up she couldn’t really move her mouth that much. Her eyes were darting around with all the new attention, obviously nervous.
Frank came up and knelt down, shaking her hand and talking to her. Andrew Lincoln came up to speak with her as well, both men trying to put her at ease… you know, before they blow her head off.
The ADs asked for people to pull back, give them some room for a more private rehearsal, so I went back to the tent to catch up on some note taking to make sure the detail of the zombie encounters didn’t dry up between me seeing them and me writing this piece.
And then the skies opened up.
It started as a drizzle, then became a real heavy summer storm. The crew scrambled to cover equipment with plastic tarps. This delayed production for all of 10 minutes and then the rain stopped just as suddenly as it began.
Frank grabbed a shot under the car at Rick as kneels down and peers under. Shuffling feet, blurry and out of focus, pass in front of the lens and he reacts.
It was a simple shot, but what I love about watching these things come together is seeing the level of detail put into these small shots. The production design team came in and littered up the ground with crumpled newspaper (a must for a post apocalyptic story), hubcaps and cardboard, which added just the right level of detail to sell the world.
Frank got this a few times, building on the shot… at first it was just Rick kneeling down, but in the next few takes the camera panned with Rick’s boots as he walked by… they leave frame then after a beat back into frame before he kneels down, as if he was walking by, heard a sound, slowly backed up and knelt down to peer under the car.
The whole time they were shooting people would drive past… some locals even walking up to buy groceries at the store only to stop dead in their tracks when they saw the end-of-the-world vision before them… their familiar and small country gas station now packed with busted up and broken down cars. And a movie crew. And the undead.
One of the most entertaining moments of the visit occurred when a biker couple slowly rolled by on their hogs. The biker lady took one look at what was going on and yelled out “Daaaaammmmmmnnnnnn!”
The next shot had Rick calling after the little girl, hurrying around the car from a medium shot to a close-up as he gets his first real look at her. He takes a few steps back, pulls his revolver and holds it up into a very Dirty Harry shot and mimes him firing (he can’t because it’s too close to the camera).
This series of takes was one of the more crucial moments for me as a fan of the books because this moment had to be sold by Lincoln. This is where I would see if his Rick would be acceptable.
He looked the part, his boyish look from LOVE ACTUALLY had been shed a bit, age and experience showing much more on his face. As discussed already, the costume department did their job in making the Rick from the book look right.
But the performance is key.
At the end of the day I was invited into Lincoln’s trailer to have an informal discussion about the project. No tape recorder just him and me chatting about The Walking Dead.
I told him I was a massive fan of Kirkman’s books and was very happy with what I was seeing. He then asked me, as a fan, what I liked so much about Rick as a character.
I thought for a second and I said, “I like that Rick isn’t a super hero. I like that as the story goes on he’s put repeatedly through the ringer. He’s a broken man. No matter what he does, how strong of a leader he is, people die and that wears him down. He’s going to reach the point of no return at some point. He’s already cracking up in the current run of books.”
Lincoln smiled and told me he and Darabont had just had a conversation about Rick not 45 minutes before I entered that trailer where he said the exact same thing. Rick doesn’t have an unlimited amount of himself to give. Everything he does, everything he witnesses, everybody he loses ends up taking a piece from him until he, eventually, won’t have anything left to give.
“Even today, Rick shooting the little girl took a sliver from him.”
I saw that on his face in this close-up. I saw emotions ripple over his face one after another… from confusion to repulsion to disbelief to fear to panic… in one fluid string that felt entirely real.
This shot, by the way, was captured in the rain. The Georgia sky had opened up again, but the hope is that the rain wasn’t caught on camera. I hope not, it’s a great, early textured piece of work that will eventually define the heart of Rick Grimes as a character.
Lunch was called and I found myself sitting across from Mr. Darabont as we chowed down.
To be continued! Check in tomorrow night for the second part of this set report, which includes all the little girl zombie action, a recap of my lunch conversation with Darabont (I did ask when we’ll get to the prison… find out when tomorrow!) and much more!
So you don’t feel too bad, how about an exclusive photo just for you guys? This is Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes about to shoot an 8 year old little girl zombie in the head (Scott Garfield © TWD productions LLC):
Click for the bigger version!
Tomorrow I’ll have an exclusive zombie pic never seen before! Come on back now, y’hear!
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June 22, 2010, 1:43 a.m. CST
thanks for posting it
June 22, 2010, 1:48 a.m. CST
by nolan bautista
..should be dark brown..i like little details on my undead..October cant get here fast enough!! cant wait!!
June 22, 2010, 1:50 a.m. CST
This thing looks incredible and each and every new thing I've heard since day one has only added and added to the awesomeness. Rights bought by AMC. Sweet. Darabont directing. Holy shit. Good cast. Great. Gruesome special effects. I love this.
June 22, 2010, 1:53 a.m. CST
And am looking foward to watching this and as for the book I wonder if Rick and the crew are going to become the bad guys in thier happy new home :>
June 22, 2010, 1:54 a.m. CST
by nolan bautista
like the Roger zombie in the original "Dawn of the Dead"..when that sheet fell off his face! yikes! creepy!
June 22, 2010, 2:04 a.m. CST
by nolan bautista
that footless zombie in the beginning of the original "Dawn"..the one crawling towards the SWAT guy..i remember watching that in the theaters and thinking to myself : holy shit,its the first 5 minutes of the movie and i'm already freaking out and theres another hour and forty-five of this coming up!!
June 22, 2010, 2:16 a.m. CST
by Jim Jam Bongs
details, as you said.
June 22, 2010, 2:26 a.m. CST
And Ian Anderson? Hell yes.
June 22, 2010, 2:26 a.m. CST
June 22, 2010, 2:27 a.m. CST
June 22, 2010, 2:29 a.m. CST
and Andrew Lincoln was the bomb in Teachers, yo.
June 22, 2010, 3:24 a.m. CST
I think he should have referred to how the zombie apocalypse happened. Even if it was just spoken about, briefly and in passing. Bizarrely, for a story about zombies, it actually stretches credibility TOO much, if no one ever ever asks about where they came from, or reminisces about what happened in those end days, or if they didn't know, then to have characters theorise about how it all happened. <p> It's the one sour note in an otherwise damn perfect comic.
June 22, 2010, 3:51 a.m. CST
If a group is fighting and struggling to survive every day, they probably wouldn't want to talk much about the "time before." One thing it saps any drive to keep living, people would just get misty eyed and think that there will never be good times like that again and just not bother to fight anymore. Also, when is a good time to do this? Until they got the the prison, they were never safe. Even there once you start feeling comfortable and safe is when you die. You have to keep on your toes, stay frosty and never let your guard down. I also figure that people wouldn't really know what caused it. They just know that reports of the dead rising and attacking the living started one day and then the shit hits the fan without any time to ask "how" or "why". Hell, it took them until they got to the prison to realize that if you die even without being bitten that you come back (like Romero's Dead World). Before that they just suspected that it was a virus (like the Brooks Solanum zombies). I think there is more credibility in people just knowing that they do NOT know and
June 22, 2010, 3:53 a.m. CST
Anyway, more credibility in people knowing that they do NOT know and focusing their energy on where to find a safe place to sleep and where to find food. All the people who were just thinking about the past would be dead and those who wasted their time wondering "Why" instead of "how do I survive another day" would be zombie lunch sooner than later. Damn I love zombies... is it wrong of me to wish there would REALLY be a great zombie outbreak???
June 22, 2010, 4:18 a.m. CST
...love the books, i've finished tpb 6, and Lincoln looks and sounds like he's gonna be very good.
June 22, 2010, 4:21 a.m. CST
...was the BOMB in This Life, yo.
June 22, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST
Can't believe Egg is doing a Hugh Laurie!
June 22, 2010, 5:45 a.m. CST
...is too far away. Can't wait!
June 22, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST
is the kind of article that makes me check out Aintitcool every day. Cool stuff.
June 22, 2010, 6:45 a.m. CST
This is exactly what I needed man I feel so fucking relieved if they're killing child zombies I'm in! I didn't think Darabont would let the edge be taken away but I wasn't sure. I really like what I'm seeing and as a Walking Dead addict I really can't wait. Was there any speculation on what they're going to change from the comic? Will they still end up in a prison, will things take a different turn?
June 22, 2010, 7:07 a.m. CST
I thought Tony Moore did all the early issue artwork and Adlard took over later.
June 22, 2010, 7:08 a.m. CST
here in Georgia. <P> Pretty much all of Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 trailer/crew/craft service locations where church parking lots. <P> I couldn't help but laugh at the irony of it all, because I know some of those church groups protest against celebrating the Halloween holiday. Yet they had no problem leasing out their lots for a film production thats making a horror movie that takes place on Halloween. LOL. <P> With the same 2 location scouts involved on this film. That might explain why churches are still involved. I wish I could figure out where that 45 minutes outside of Atlanta was Quint (nudge, nudge) It looks very Covington, Newborn, Rutledge, Madison like. <P> I'd love to witness a day's worth of filming and maybe nab a auto or pic with Frank and Greg. They are here till July, but the film and crew locations are near impossible to find on the net. Unlike Halloween 2.
June 22, 2010, 7:24 a.m. CST
Packed with information (love the incidental details) and entertainingly written. Great to hear they're shooting this pilot like a mini-movie and staying true to the material.
June 22, 2010, 7:25 a.m. CST
and safe it up for TV, leaving the uncut stuff for the DVD/Bluray release. I'm not so worried about the gore, as I am the language. To survive/endure an epidemic like this. Adults are going to cut free with real language that expresses their frustrations of survival and getting on each others nerves. Night of The Living Dead could air uncut on late night nbc. You dont have to show it X rated to make it creepy and effective.
June 22, 2010, 8:03 a.m. CST
June 22, 2010, 8:10 a.m. CST
How come (very rarely if ever) video or pics are never taken, or posted of any of these AICN set visits? The guys will let you see their entire production, but not let you snap any stills? And instead, you're resorting to the technology of 19th century blog-diary, ala a John Dunbar.
June 22, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST
like a total bitch. Give her a slap the next time she shoots her mouth of like that Quint.
June 22, 2010, 8:29 a.m. CST
June 22, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST
On issue 41 now. Excellent series. iTunes just made a ton of dough off me. I am sure the TV series will be great, but the comics are amazing.
June 22, 2010, 8:45 a.m. CST
There is nothing else coming down the pike that is even remotely close.
June 22, 2010, 8:59 a.m. CST
how do i get a job on set? ill scrub toilets or fetch coffee....who do i have to blow?
June 22, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST
As a teacher, I really don't want the time to pass by too quickly during the summer. But I cannot f'n wait for October!!!!
June 22, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST
i have every single issue, every tb. ive been collecting twd since the beginning and i mUST get on that set. surely we can work out a deal...i'll trade u ALL of my issues for a day at the set! ANYTHING!
June 22, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST
They put out an open casting call for zombies last month sometime. No clue if they're still needing people though. I never heard back, but then again, I don't have any headshots. All it says is to send your info here: email@example.com
June 22, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST
ive always loved you
June 22, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST
Yeah, that's worth $35 an hour plus benefits. Fucking cops are useless.
June 22, 2010, 10:54 a.m. CST
by nolan bautista
good point Mr. Bongs
June 22, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST
and even Egg! (UK readers will get it)
June 22, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST
Awesome set report.
June 22, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
My inlaws live there and I've been in and out of that town for the past few weekends--No mention at all of any movies going on there. Plus, 45 minutes is pushing it to get from Atlanta to Madison. Conyers would probably be more likely. McDonough is also about 30-45 minutes and has a significant amount of rural area surrounding it. <p> In all honesty, though, this is probably the least interesting aspect of the article. I think us Georgians just wanna feel important!
June 22, 2010, 12:53 p.m. CST
I'm a huge fan of the Walking Dead, and was thoroughly enjoying reading this. Then Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull were brought up. I just saw Jethro Tull a week ago, today, in Boston. In fact, I've been re-reading the Walking Dead in the past week since then...while listening to my Tull albums. I usually never listen to music when reading TWD, but on this reread I thought to put on some Heavy Horses, Roots to Branches, Songs From the Wood and many more.
June 22, 2010, 1:15 p.m. CST
Actors that can act, better storyline...ah George, how grossly overrated you are.
June 22, 2010, 1:21 p.m. CST
June 22, 2010, 1:41 p.m. CST
The little girl with the teddy bear? Man...thinking of my kid as an undead...wow. they're really going hardcore on this.
June 22, 2010, 3:03 p.m. CST
If you're stuck in that situation in reality and you're not a movie style super scientist or a movie stylized hero you probably don't even care. Even if there were an explanation as a regular everyday human being just trying to get along and live the next five minutes without being killed by roamers or vile human beings it doesn't matter where they came from. To me it's actually one of the most realistic things about the books. Watch Dawn of the Dead or Night of the Living Dead those people aren't concerned with the how beyond a passing "why what is this...oh shit zombies everywhere".
June 22, 2010, 3:05 p.m. CST
The man created the zombie genre. Without romero no walking dead. The primary influence on Walking Dead was "what happens when the credits roll, how do these people continue to survive beyond the tuime frame that movie showed me". That's like calling Stan Lee overrated. They're ground breakers, and clearly after 40 years the content and concepts are going to be improved upon but calling those people overrated for originating such enduring ideas is a little insane.
June 22, 2010, 3:18 p.m. CST
Also just wanted to suck some balls and say a big thanks to Quint for this set report. continue kicking ass.
June 22, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST
by Uncle Stan
The Vincent Price classic. Best adaptation of I Am Legend. Watch it and ask yourself if Night of the Living Dead could have happened without this film.
June 22, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST
I own Last Man on Earth on DVD and I don't deny it's influence on Romero one bit. But as far as the Walking Dead is concerned it's the nature of Zombies and the idea of a small (at first) band of survivor's attempting to survive in the face of countless flesh eating brain dead corpses returned to life. I've actually always found Last Man on Earth scarier than Night because the creatures Price faces are far more cunning than zombies.
June 22, 2010, 3:49 p.m. CST
<p>...is a completely valid question. The fact that Kirkman has no intention of letting us know is kind of bullshit. He can dance around it all he wants, but the fact is that he has obviously not been able to come up with a valid, believable back story for the zombies. It is that simple.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong, I love the comic book. Have every issue. Bought a number of original pages from the first couple issues. But never intending to reveal the origin of the walking dead is a cop out of the highest degree.</p>
June 22, 2010, 4:12 p.m. CST
Romero's films never revealed an explanation either. For me it's about as valid as revealing Midichlorians to be central to force aptitude. Don't need it. I don't consider it a cop out I consider it a narrative choice. he's said right from the beginning he had no immediate intention of revealing it if ever. There's something to be said for leading it up to reader interpretation and I won't be surprised if he seeds possible answers through hearsay speculation etc. It's about these people and their journey not a fallen satellite, or a satanic ritual, or a chemical spill.
June 22, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST
NOTLD was a landmark classic. All of his other movies are garbage, and way overrated.
June 22, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST
The question of "how did this start?" is really only needed when you're looking for a solution to the problem (ie, we will invent an anti-virus) or you need it to help add to the mood (for instance, in Quarantine (Not using REC because of demonic origins) they explain it as a form of super rabies. That helps the viewer go "wow...rabies are real. Imagine if someone genetically engineered super rabies, this could happen!!). For a narrative like Walking Dead or Dawn of the Dead, the problem isn't how to defeat the dead, but rather how to survive in a world full of them. Thus the reason for them to exist isn't needed. Much like that Farscape episode where they get shrunk and Sikozu goes (paraphrasing) "this is impossible! If they shrunk our matter, then we couldn't breath! And if they reduced the amount of matter, we shouldn't be as intelligent" to which Rygel replies "It's happened. We're here and it's real. Just accept it."
June 22, 2010, 6:05 p.m. CST
If you go back get the fried pickles. Served with ranch fucking dressing.
June 22, 2010, 7 p.m. CST
If you want good B-B-Q, go to Melears! They also have the best sweet tea in the state.
June 22, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST
Let them know that I can take you to two of them.<P> Right now
June 22, 2010, 7:47 p.m. CST
I have nothing against the lady, but my inner-Beavis always found that hilarious.
June 22, 2010, 9:57 p.m. CST
While I enjoy Day of the Dead I'll admit it's not up to snuff with the first two. But calling Dawn of the Dead overrated garbage is a little short sighted. Dawn of the dead, like Empire Strikes back took everything he did in NOTLD and improved upon it. Taking the action from a rural setting to an urban one making the movie even more relatable was a stroke of genius and Savini's work on the film and redefining of zombies for color remains a gore hallmark. As far as his other films go there are probably more hits than misses. Creepshow is an amazing love letter to EC comics and I won't een think of changing the channel when it pops on AMC late nights, Martin is a clever take on the vampire mythos before that became the craze, and Knightriers is pure drive in movie fun. HIs recent efforts don't have any of the vim or vigor they used to and his two major King adaptations are limp. I just feel like you're tossing out a broad generalization as far as his resume is concerned.
June 22, 2010, 9:58 p.m. CST
The cop coming out of his coma in the opening. It's a rip off of 28 days later. Not only that but comas are funny things. People don't just come out of them. I communicated with a few staff members at the coma ward at a local hospital for a project I was working on many years back. I hope I don't come off as a prick for saying that the opener upset me, because the rest of the story is very original with the material. But the opening. It owes Danny some money.
June 22, 2010, 11:23 p.m. CST
If I'm not mistaken, sometime between issue #48-60, Kirkman briefly mentions the origination of the zombie apocalypse. The character that he uses doesn't delve deeply on this subject, but makes a passing comment of what he/she knows. I haven't read past issue #60 so I'm not sure if that goes anywhere or not. Someone please correct me if this was in error.
June 23, 2010, 9:45 a.m. CST
<p>Of course we don't NEED it, I never said we did. But an interesting, well conceived explanation, hell, even a vague hypothesis or a hint at one, would only add to the story.</p> <p>"It's about these people and their journey not a fallen satellite, or a satanic ritual, or a chemical spill." I agree. Exactly the way Spider-Man is about the life of a young man dealing with the responsibility of possessing great powers. It's not about a radioactive spider. But that doesn't mean we didn't want to know how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. Do we NEED to know? No, not really. Does it make the story richer? Yes.</p> <p>Just because Kirkman has stated that he doesn't plan on revealing WHY the zombie apocalypse happened doesn't mean people aren't curious. It also strongly leads credence to the theory that he never bothered to try to come up with one in the first place. Which is fine, too. I just happen to think it's a cop out.</p>
June 23, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST
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June 23, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST
Yeah, I knew that, but Adlard stuck to the established design.
June 23, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST
The essence of Spider-Man is in the origin of his power. The book starts with him as a nerdy teen getting his ass kicked left and right, if they suddenly jumped to him crawling walls jacked with muscles and beating the piss out of criminals it simply wouldn't make sense. "With Great POwer Comes Great responsibility" doesn't mean shit if you don't have an understanding of where that power comes from. Now if it had started with a super powered being already in the midst of fighting crime you wouldn't necessarily need the HOW or WHY. <br><br> Walking Dead drops you right in. Man is shot, man wakes up and there are zombies everywhere. There are also good and bad examples of explaining the basis for something. Resident Evil the film for instance is a complete piece of shit but you know exactly how all of that happened becoming bogged down in umbrella corporation etc etc etc. I also found the first video game series alot creepier when you were just wandering around a house without ever hearing about a T-Virus. <br><br> 28 Days Later is a great example of explanation helping the story along, but again it sort of kicks off with the cause being the impetus for the action. Walking Dead's "open to interpretation" style of backstory for the zombies is one I prefer as a reader. It leaves you to draw conclusions from seeds planted some scientific, some spiritual, the character, just as you would in real life draw their own conclusions. If we were thrust into that situation, no guy in a lab coat is going to waltz into your boarded up house or your refugee camp and start dropping Macguffins all over the place "hello strange group of stragglers that just happen to be in the same part of the planet as the guy who happens to have the exact explanation for what happened!" It just doesn't happen. I get that Zombies don't happen either but I appreciate the attempt at an immersive realism.
June 23, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST
I recall reading an interview where Kirkman addressed the 28 Days later opening similarity. I believe he said he already had written the first two or three issues of Walking Dead before 28 Days Later's UK release and what appears to be a coincidence is just that.
June 23, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST
I'm sure the church people might be pissed but Covington is no stranger to film crews. (Rob's)Halloween 2 was film here,and Vampire Diaries is film plus some others. Who can forget In the Heat of the Night (TV) and Dukes of Hazzard (TV)
June 23, 2010, 4:08 p.m. CST
I loved this article. I will be first in line at SDCC for this panel. Cant wait.
June 23, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST
that hat gets you off but the complete alteration of events doesn't irk you at all? 'cause in the comic he opens a door to a room full of zombies in the hospital thus making that his first encounter with them. Now call me a 'nerd' if you like but the generic shit you just described can't hold a note to the idea of a room full of animated corpses chewing casually away on 'bits'.
June 23, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST
<p>Shit, I certainly hope that Kirkman would be more creative about divulging zombie origin info than that, were he ever so inclined to do so.</p> <p>Let's see... they could find a page or two of the final edition of a newspaper in any given town discussing any/all (mis)information the goverment may have given to the public before shutting down.</p> <p>How about an AWOL low-level army grunt who knew about some cures/vaccines the FDA were working to develop just before the shit really hit the fan?</p> <p>Or maybe a nerd Ham Radio operator who had heard lots of chatter back when it was all going down about a meteor that landed up in Canada, the first place the zombies were later reported seen?</p> <p>ANYWAY, that's just three examples of ways that information could be delivered to the reader that do not require a lab coat wearing scientist spouting exposition.</p> <p>More importantly, all three scenarios are also ways in which hints or clues about said zombie apocalypse could be delivered without ANY of it ending up being canon, too.</p> <p>I guess my real beef is that it just seems to be ignored entirely. I'm not asking for it to be brought up every issue, but the occasional discussion, especially when new characters show up, just seems natural. Hell, if I were one of them, the first thing out of my mouth every time I met someone new (after I had established that they were friendly) would be, "So... you ever hear any theories on how all this shit went down???"</p>
June 24, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST
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June 24, 2010, 5:12 p.m. CST
As said, some of the best work on here in ages. <p> Has anybody seen much of Andrew Lincoln? He's not how I ever envisaged Rick at all (not to say that he won't be great in the role). Will he nail it?
June 26, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST
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June 27, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST
he says it's the first zombie scene they *shot* which doesn't translate to the first time there are zombies ever in the show after it's edited together. hospital zombies might have shot a different day. also, get used to it being different than the comics - if you read Kirkman's interview with Quint from May he talks about being on board with the tv series having pretty huge differences!
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