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A rundown of the Walking Dead Panel! Bear McCreary scoring! Possible B&W on DVD! Plus a brilliant sizzle reel!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I showed up to The Walking Dead panel over an hour early only to find the line extended down the hall, out the door and around the building. There were easily 500 people in line to get into a hall that was already packed for the Hawaii 5-0 panel. Keep in mind they don’t clear the halls, so there was no guarantee any of the line would get in. I tried to weasel my way in through publicist channels to no avail. Even the awesome powers of super producer Gale Anne Hurd couldn’t help me, the demand for this panel was so crazy. On one level I was very proud to see a visual representation of the eager fanbase waiting for this show (and I’m sure the AMC people were, too), but… damn! Those fuckers kept me out of the panel! I lowered my head in shame and sadness and made my way down to Hall H where I began watching the Drive Angry 3-D presentation… it looked kick-ass, by the way. Total cheesy exploitation the likes of which we haven’t seen since RACE WITH THE DEVIL. William Fichtner as a Satanic lackey hunting down an escapee from Hell (Nic Cage) trying to save a baby from a cult. With a ton of car crashes. After the footage played I got a txt from the AMC publicists thinking they could sneak me into the back area for the remainder of the panel. I got there with about 20 minutes left and from where I was standing I couldn’t hear anything due to the echo and location of the speakers. But luckily they did run the Walking Dead sizzle reel one more time. Before I give my impressions, I ran into a reader named Justin Quizon as the panel ended. Since I wasn’t there for the Q&A I asked if he would be willing to write up the panel stuff and he graciously accepted. Here’s his stuff:
Fans of Kirkman’s book...get ready to be VERY happy. Before we got to seeing some footage, we were first introduced to the creative team to the show. Director/Writer Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Make up efx master Greg Nicotero, and head of AMC SVP of original programing Joel Stillerman. A quick roundup on some of the information we got: -Gale (having a hand in a few comic-to-movie properties) got involved after hearing the popularity of the series and then reading the book. -Darabont, a huge horror fan, discovered the series at his local comic shop. Upon reading it he realized that the story that series was telling was the approach he wanted to do for a zombie movie, a genre he's been trying to figure out. -Stillerman loved the idea of the series, BUT he loved the talent that was already involved (i.e. when your script says it's written by Frank Darabont and when you find out that the producer is Gale Anne Hurd, you might want to make that show happen.) -They also annouced that the score of the show would be done by Bear McCreary, the composer for Battlestar Galactica. Soon, they finally showed the reel. The first scene we get is the first scene from the comics. Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes and his partner Shane have a blockade in the middle of the road, as a run away car comes straight towards them. The police blow out the tires and soon the car is tumbling over to the side of the road. A shoot out with the criminals erupts, ending with Rick getting shot and knocked out. Suddenly, Rick wakes up alone in a hospital (yeah, yeah, we know, we know “Just like 28 Days Later...”) We soon see the nightmare that Rick as woken up to. The reel shows scenes with Morgan (played by Lennie James) a survivor that finds Rick, a few quick scenes with Lori, Carl(!), and Amy in the survivor camp, Rick walking around dead bodies stacked on top of each other, Rick riding a horse in the middle of Atlanta...oh, and ZOMBIES. Tons, and TONS of zombies Great stuff, and the look as this classic cinematic feel to it. After the footage was shown, some of the cast came to the panel and joined the stage... Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick Grimes), Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori Grimes), Jon Bernthal (Shane), Laurie Holden (Andrea), and Emma Bell (Amy). Michael Rooker was hanging in the audience as he will be playing Merle Dixon (a new character made for the show I believe). Here’s a quick breakdown on the Q and A: -Andrew Lincoln (who’s British) got wind of the project after his agent gave him the sides. He went to his local comic shop in England and found out that the comic is the store’s biggest seller. -Lincoln auditioned his scenes with Jon Bernthal (who had his dog with him) in Frank Darabont’s garage! Lincoln credits Bernthal’s dog for getting him the part. -Sarah Wayne Callies blames Greg Nicotero for ruining her life! She points out that up until recently she had no scenes with the zombies yet. After finally sharing screen time with the undead, she's had nightmares since. Funny moment during the panel was that a few Zombies (or Roamers) were walking near the stage, Callies was freaking just a little. -Darabont hopes that some legendary horror directors (::coughGeorgeRamerocough:::) could work on the show in it's second season. -Fan favorites Micchone won't show up in the show till the second season. (Though Darabont is DYING to bring that character to life) -The show is shot on Super 16mm, giving it that classic grainy look. -The character of Tyrese will show up in second season, too. Darabont, while auditioning actors for Morgan apparently saw plenty of guys he would be great for the part (Kirkman jokes that the show would have 3 Tyrese's) -The show will follow the series pretty closely, but “veering off the path” to introduce new ideas, Darabont says they will make sure that they will go back to the path that Kirkman left. -The DVD could have the option (at least for the pilot episode) to watch in black and white! A great panel for sure. The Walking Dead comes out in October on AMC.
You can read more of Justin’s stuff at his blog. Thanks for the save, dude. Of that information, I only caught the Bear McCreary scoring, the idea that Frank wants to involve classic horror directors in future seasons and that he’s pretty much talked AMC into allowing him to re-time the pilot episode for a Black and White version on the DVD (and possibly the whole series if the fans are vocal enough). The footage was something else. I was there with Kraken, an equally big Walking Dead fan and he told me going in that he just wanted it to be good. It didn’t have to be the book, just something good. And what we got was something great. Shooting in 16mm makes all the difference in the world. The stock has evolved and the grain looks looks more like 35mm. Add to that the keen eye of David Tattersal and you get a look that’s both intimate and cinematic. Since the big moments of the sizzle reel were described above, I’ll leave you with my general feelings. The characters feel right, the tone seems perfect, the emotion is there, the acting seems to be nail-on-the-head perfect and the scope of the project seems just right. I have this weird feeling, a feeling I’ve had since I saw what they were capturing onset, that this could be a perfect storm project, one of those magical moments when the right people fund the right story with the right creative team at just the right price. There was a shot in the sizzle reel that had Rick on horseback riding through downtown Atlanta that was perfect… actually a series of shots, but the one that caught my eye first was a dolly that tracked with Rick on the horse as he passes a broken down bus. As the camera moves past one of the corpses moves, noticing the living, but then the camera has moved past. It’s just a slice of this reality at this point. There was also another great moment as Rick, on foot in the streets, being overwhelmed by the zombie hordes, ducks under a car. You can see hundreds of feet surrounding the car, but he doesn’t have a moment to breathe as zombies start crawling after him on their hands and knees. He shoot at least three in the head with his revolver. The next shot we saw was Rick jumping into a deserted tank, barely escaping the grasping hands of the undead, slamming the hatch shut just in time. There’s a crazy great overhead shot that pulls back showing hundreds of zombies, three or four deep surrounding the vehicle trying to pound their way in. The budget is big enough to get shots like that, but Darabont’s focus on character and character moments (as well as the original book’s emphasis on these elements) was evident even in this 4-ish minute long teaser. I really hope they release it online. It’s such a nerve-calmer/attention builder that I can’t see how they can resist for too long. Making a joke on my Twitter feed, I commented on the footage saying it was brilliant and that this show will likely cure cancer. Of course that was meant as a joke, but I’m deadly serious about my expectations for this series. Based on the source material, the talent involved, the footage I’ve seen and what I’ve heard from the creative figureheads of the show I think we could be in for some classic material. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • July 24, 2010, 4:32 a.m. CST

    kind of funny

    by FrodoFraggins

  • July 24, 2010, 4:34 a.m. CST

    that herc didn't get in at first

    by FrodoFraggins

    Sounds like they smartened up and got her in at least

  • July 24, 2010, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Hope they got Lennie James under contract

    by slimballs

    for if/when his character returns. Your show is always a little better with Lennie James in it. Curious who they would get to play 'Micchone'. That's a hard character to cast. Same as 'the Governor' Can't wait for this show. With this and Boardwalk Empire, Fall 2010 is going to have some amazing TV.

  • July 24, 2010, 4:53 a.m. CST


    by buffywrestling

    I want this so bad. It's like gory geek meth. I'm using a belt to tie off my arm - Inject me AMC.

  • July 24, 2010, 5 a.m. CST

    Can't wait

    by aversiontherapy2

    It all sounds so glorious! Must not raise expectations to unreasonable levels, must not!

  • July 24, 2010, 5:03 a.m. CST

    I found shaky video of the footage

    by aversiontherapy2

  • July 24, 2010, 7:07 a.m. CST

    The panel w/ Darabont,Kirkman & Hurd

    by buffywrestling

  • July 24, 2010, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Walking Dead Trailer from the Con

    by buffywrestling

  • July 24, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST

    I'm thankful for all the coverage

    by The McPoyle Clan

    I sure as hell wouldn't repeatedly wait in lines with no guarantee that I'd get in.<br><br>Everything looks good. And Lennie James is awesome.

  • July 24, 2010, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Slow Walkers FTW

    by buffywrestling

  • July 24, 2010, 7:33 a.m. CST


    by sam jacksons wig

    Thanks for the link, mate!!!<br><br> I's Darabont, it's Gale Anne Hurd, It'sa modern day cowboy on a horse tooled up to the max, it's zombie kids carrying teddybears, it's fucking good enough for me! Roll on October- finally something to look forward to on the fucking tube!!!!

  • July 24, 2010, 8:12 a.m. CST

    good music choice in that clip


    retro pop ballads are always a great juxtaposition with scenes of mayhem and horror....that was a well cut trailer- they better release it online!

  • July 24, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Please keep Romero as far away from this as possible.

    by Holeman

    The guy invented the genre, but he's demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's lost whatever he once had. Please keep him away from this series and only use people who actually still have a modicum of respect for the idea.

  • July 24, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    AICN is DEAD this morning.


    no pun intended. this place is dead. are all the talkbackers at comic con- really? really? surely they all have iphones or something to come talkback from the events or something. no?

  • July 24, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST


    by UltimaRex

    What ever happened to the colour control on your TV? You can watch EVERYTHING in black and white if you want to... Unless they are talking about real B&W and not greyscale...

  • July 24, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    If the show is moderately decent

    by Koyaanisqatsi

    it will have far surpassed the mediocre/shitty comic.

  • July 24, 2010, 11:54 a.m. CST

    I got a txt

    by mr teaspoon

    fck you

  • July 24, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    16mm. Cool, but...

    by ByTor

    Does this mean no HD? Not sure if Super 16mm has the resolution for an HD transfer...

  • July 24, 2010, 3:37 p.m. CST


    by thommcg

    You mean, as in The Shield; , "it does make sense and seem appropriate, though, that the 16mm film stock wouldn't translate to a good-enough high-def picture. And, while we're sure that a number of tech-savvy fans of the series already knew that, it's still good to have it out there from the studio, for everyone else who may not be as clued-in on the technical front of things. There are a number of other shows that this would also apply to (the first two seasons of Buffy, for example), so it's certainly worth bringing up from time to time. Far from us to proclaim ourselves tech-savvy or second-guess anyone, least of all the industry or the media, but in the face of the above some factual, objective clarifications need to be made: firstly, 16mm-sourced BDs exist already, both for movies and TV series; and secondly, many users and reviewers consider its picture more than deserving for high-definition. 'The Shield' was shot on the variant of 16mm called Super 16. The Super 16 frame has an exposed area of 0.493 by 0.292 inches, that is, less than half the surface of a 35mm film frame. Image resolution is thus lower and film grain more prevalent, especially when blown up to a big-size screen. Our older readers will remember the 110 photographic format so popular in the 1970s and 1980s and whose tiny negative size caused enlargements to often be grainy and fuzzy. This is roughly the same problem with 16mm cinema."

  • July 24, 2010, 3:39 p.m. CST


    by thommcg

    Or... Yes, it should be HD.

  • July 24, 2010, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Casting The Governor...

    by omarthesnake

    Duh. Tom Savini.

  • July 25, 2010, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Looking Foward To This.

    by proper

    aversiontherapy2 & Buffywrestling = Thanks,That was wuality,well chuffed to see that.I'd always thought the scenes when riding the horse [and demise,I hope that gets dealt with] would be great to watch in motion.Good to see Lennie James,Top boy actor.

  • July 25, 2010, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Oh Dear Part 883

    by proper

    wuality =Quality :>

  • July 25, 2010, 8:50 a.m. CST

    16mm HD transfer

    by HoichiTheEarless

    16mm easily has a better resolution than SD, so even if a 16mm HD transfer is not as clear as one transferred from 35mm, it's not something you could call SD quality. The resolution would be far closer to HD than SD.

  • July 26, 2010, 4:12 a.m. CST

    The pilot in B&W on the DVD/Blu-Ray?

    by V'Shael

    I don't get it. I thought you had to use b&w film to get the proper b&w effect. Is there some to *properly* get a b&w version from the colour master, that doesn't involve just desaturation?