When The Walking Dead shambles its way back on to TV screens later this year, the backdrop will shift from Hershel’s farm to the infamous prison featured in the comic books. For many fans this was a major turning point for the series as it introduced a number of new characters and showed the greater threat that humans could pose to one another. Now it’s time for the TV show to follow suit with the announcement of Danai Gurira as Michonne and David Morrissey as The Governor in the much-anticipated Season 3.
To celebrate its success and to tease a little bit of what viewers can look forward to, Fox International held a press breakfast for international journalists to meet with the key cast and crew of The Walking Dead. In attendance were Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey, Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, Gregory Nicotero, David Alpert, Denise Huth, and Gale Ann Hurd.
The breakfast itself was a nice hot buffet served on your own authentic prison tray. Coffee and juice came in metal tankards which only added to the prison atmosphere. Once everyone was seated and started on their breakfast, the cast came in to mingle with press and do some one-on-one interviews. I was fortunate enough to have executive producer Glen Mazzara across the table and veteran actor David Morrissey right next to me.
Morrissey is no stranger to playing the villainous or unlikeable character, but he couldn’t be further from that in person if he tried. Aside from being very humble and down-to-earth, he was also keenly interested in the history of San Diego Comic-Con itself and how a small group of fans had created something which was now so big. We discussed the history of Comic-Con, his experiences with comic books, what it’s like to play morally ambiguous characters, and more over a nice leisurely breakfast.
The scene then shifted to the front of the room where the cast and crew all sat at a long table (not unlike a wedding reception) and the main event began. UK TV veteran and budding comics writer Jonathan Ross was on hand to introduce everyone and glean a few stories about their work on The Walking Dead. Some of the more interesting facts to come out of the morning’s discussions included.
– Gale Anne Hurd is considered an honorary Brit thanks to her massive love for Arsenal Football Club. Despite the fact there are several Brits involved with the show, she is the only one who is a Gunners fan, which explains why she is known as @GunnerGale on Twitter.
– Andrew Lincoln’s real name is Andy Clutterbuck, something which lead to much teasing at school (and was continued by Jonathan Ross on the day).
– Sarah Wayne Callies understands why some people don’t like Lori, but for her it’s one of the best and meatiest parts. She talks about the various roles Lori has to fill as a wife and mother, and how these might differ in the world of The Walking Dead. Most of all she’s glad that majority of fans can differentiate between her and the character.
– Norman Reedus had a fan give him some fresh squirrel to cook and try. He didn’t end up eating it, but found a friend who he could convince to do it for him … The results were not good.
– Danai Gurira used to work out at the gym and wish she could kill someone on screen, so now The Walking Dead allows her to do that. She loved the sword training and how it made her feel.
– David Morrissey sees The Governor as a morally ambiguous character with various nuances and motivations that make him more than just an ‘evil’ character.
You can see the full half-hour video of The Walking Dead Press Breakfast on my Vimeo channel. Viewers with vertigo or motion-sickness should be warned that it is rather shaky, but if you can endure my camera work then you should enjoy it. One of the highlights comes just near the end when actor Steven Yeun (Glenn) is asked about his reaction to the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comic book.
For those who can’t get enough of The Walking Dead – and let’s face it, how could you? – I’ll be filing my report on The Walking Dead Escape in the next few days. If you’ve ever wanted to see me dead or wondered what it would be like to play a zombie, then stay tuned for pics, video and a full write-up.
Chris Thompson is a writer, speaker and podcaster who has appeared at conventions across three continents. When not on the road, he works at @OrbitalComics in London and contributes articles on the side. You can hear him on @TheOrbitingPod and @PopCultureHound podcasts.
Here you go folks!