THE WALKING DEAD Comic Con 2010 Panel

I went to the panel for AMC’s upcoming zombie series THE WALKING DEAD (an adaptation of the comic book series) at Comic-Con 2010 without any idea what it was about. After an hour of listening to the cast and creators, as well as watching the preview not once, but twice (well, really it was four times if you count the other two times I watched it at their booth), it quickly became my favorite panel this year and I am now practically beside myself with anticipation for this series. It looks absolutely, positively fantastic!

The panel featured cast members Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden and Emma Bell as well as series creator/director/executive producer Frank Darabont, executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and Robert Kirkman, makeup artist Greg Nicotero and AMC’s senior VP Joel Stillerman.

Highlights from The Walking Dead Comic Con 2010 panel…

A couple of people came dressed as very realistic zombies, stumbled their way towards seats in the front and appeared to make the cast a bit nervous.

The show will premiere as part of a global launch in October, being shown in multiple languages and countries at the same time.

A comic originally, the creators promised that The Walking Dead will be bold for television but also that it will be very character based.

They held a “zombie school” in Atlanta before auditions but didn’t teach any of the actors how to play a zombie as Robert Romero once said that if you did that, you’d end up with a bunch of zombies who walked exactly the same. So instead they would simply line up prospective zombies and call out “Action!”, then watch to see who had natural zombie talent.

The seasons will be shot like six, one hour movies.

It will stay true to the comic book, but also branch off in other directions.

They announced that Michael Rooker had just been added to the cast and everyone in the audience cheered when he stood up to take a bow from his seat in the front row.

Andrew Lincoln (who plays the lead character, Rick Grimes) had never heard of the comic before he got the role but as soon as he did, he read them all and loved them.

Sarah Wayne Callies kept forgetting to talk into the microphone, prompting everyone else from the cast to slide theirs over until there was an entire fleet in front of her.

Sarah remarked that working on The Walking Dead has ruined her life as she’d always been too scared to see horror movies and now was often plagued by nightmares.

The show is shot in Atlanta as that is where the comics are based. The cast joked that the heat there was so bad that all of them were on “the AMC diet”.

The makeup is so good that when they break for lunch, no one ever wants to eat with the zombies.

Jon Bernthal spoke very highly of Andrew, praising him both as an actor and a person and saying that playing the conflicts between their characters was hard as they had become such great friends off screen.

Andrew Lincoln was brought nearly speechless by Jon’s praise but finally said that he loves everyone on the cast, but he and Jon were close and had dubbed each other “the Keystone Cops”.

The creators said that they are toying with the idea of tapping well known horror directors for upcoming episodes.

They are very happy with the treatment they have been getting from AMC, noting that the network is known for its cutting edge shows and so far they haven’t been asked to hold back on the horror and gore expected from a show about zombies.

Composer Bear McCreary was sitting in the audience and brought on stage to talk about the music. He said that it will be scored like a drama, but will occasionally have the obvious musical cues often heard in horror movies.

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(Photos Source: AMC Blog)