Comic-Con Live-Blog: AMC's 'The Walking Dead'
It's Comic-Con Friday and the line for Ballroom 20 wrapped down stairs, around the Marina and practically to Mexico.
Up first on my live-blogging docket? A little zombie show called "The Walking Dead."
Don't expect many spoilers, but click through for the full recap...
11:24 a.m. Chris Hardwick is our moderator. He welcomes Frank Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman (loud applause) and Greg Nicotero.
11:24 a.m. Gale Anne Hurd announces that Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" will premiere on Sunday, October 16 at 9 p.m.
11:26 a.m. Once again, "Walking Dead" will be a part of AMC's "Fear Fest" block.
11:26 a.m. Robert Kirman heard about negotiations with AMC after Darabont and Hurd made the pitch. "You've got to hand it to AMC for being a network that had the vision to try something this crazy." They note the number of networks that didn't have the vision to do this. "And now they all want a zombie show," Darabont cracks.
11:27 a.m. "I was doing the comic and thinking 'Well, I'll always be doing the comic,'" Kirkman says, recalling the years of pitching "Walking Dead" in other mediums.
11:27 a.m. Chris Hardwick makes it clear that he loves "Dream Warriors," calling it his favorite "Nightmare on Elm Street." Darabont goes into a story of writing the script with Chuck Russell in a cabin in Big Bear. They wrote the script three weeks before "Dream Warriors" began shooting. And now you know!
11:29 a.m. "When I grew up in Pittsburgh, I just assume that everybody loved zombies," Nicotero says. "With this, we were really determined to follow the spirit of the art work and push things further," Nicotero adds, saying that he goes so far as to cast every single zombie performer. There's a zombie school in Atlanta where they train the extras on how to be zombies. That's not a nice thing to call Emory! [I kid. I kid.]
11:31 a.m. "You can shoot me in the face!" Hardick gushes, saying he'd love to play a zombie.
11:32 a.m. Hardwick tells a story about scaring people at a party by loudly explaining how "Walking Dead" was a realistic depiction of a zombie apocalypse. "But you're no stranger to scaring girls away," Kirkman interjects.
11:34 a.m. "It's a bit of pressure knowing that everybody loves the show. And there's expectation now," Kirkman says, adding that those expectations have "empowered us to try harder." Darabont adds, "This year we have a room of writers who know the show."
11:35 a.m. "Partner with the most talented people you can find. Three of them are sitting up here. If you can do that and you have great underlying source material, that's what a producer does," Gale Anne Hurd advises.
11:36 a.m. Comic-Con premiere trailer. Here's what we see: POV shot of Jon Bernthal running. Very intense. And behind him? An army of zombies. He fires a shotgun aggressively. Empty city streets. Flashback to what Rick experienced when he came out of his coma. And the events of last season. We're leaving Atlanta. "The end of civilization... Was just the beginning." We're on the road. "The strain of survival... Takes its toll." Several people from the core group are splitting off. Tensions. An explosion. A breakdown on the road in a traffic jam. And here come the zombies. Lots and lots of zombies. A set piece in a sea of stalled cars. Pretty evocative. Hey, a quote from HitFix! Gotta see if it was my review or Sepinwall's.
11:42 a.m. It was Sepinwall's review.
11:42 a.m. The cast finally comes out. They all come out together, so I can't tell you who got the most applause. Harwick asks if this is Andrew Lincoln's first Con. He replies, "This is my second Con, but it's still just as scary."
11:44 a.m. "It's the greatest job I've ever been involved in and it just keeps getting better and better," Lincoln says. Sorry, "Love Actually."
11:44 a.m. "You work as hard on a failure as you do on a success," Sarah Wayne Callies says. And yet she still was excited when the numbers came out and they got another season. "They're the best television scripts I've ever seen," Callies says of the Season Two scripts. "The most dangerous things out there are the monsters inside," Callies says of the season's theme.
11:46 a.m. "Every stage of the way, every person I've met... have just only made this better and better and it has been capped by you, because I think that the 'Walking Dead' fans are the best in the world," Bernthal says, calling "Walking Dead" fans the "smartest" and "most badass."
11:48 p.m. "Every script is gold. I'm working with my friends who are so good at what they do and I think you're going to be so thrilled. If you're a fan of the 'Walking Dead' graphic novel, I think you're going to be so thrilled this season," Laurie Holden says.
11:50 a.m. When asked about his character's up-beat attitude, Jeffrey DeMunn says, "I guess he's just so terribly nearsighted he doesn't realize the trouble he's in." Frank Darabont called Jeffrey DeMunn and said, "Hey Jeff, how'd you like to come down to Atlanta to kill zombies?" And DeMunn said yes.
11:52 a.m. "You wake up. You do a tick check.. check for ticks... You just check everywhere... You check for ticks. You go to work. You take it all in. You sweat your butt off and then you go home and do another tick check," says Steven Yeun on his daily routine. Apparently ticks are a major problem on the "Walking Dead" set. "There's ticks where we shoot. And sometimes, you know, they're small. You don't notice them. One of them climbed... my mountain... and planted a flag... right on the peak... of my mountain," Yeun elaborates. Yup. That's just about enough information. Perhaps too much. Maybe.
11:54 a.m. The crowd loves Norman Reedus, who bought himself a big truck that gets him approving glances from "rednecks" down South. He loves Georgia. "I may never leave," he says. And the best part of Reedus' job? "Dude, I run around with a crossbow and shoot zombies in the brain."
11:56 a.m. "Robert Kirkman, you did my podcast a few months ago," Hardwick begins. "Are we plugging your podcast now?" Kirkman interjects. The purpose of the intro is Kirkman's confession that in the event of a real zombie apocalypse, he'd kill himself. "Yeah, I'd jump off a bridge," Kirkman says. Hurd says, "Read the comic book, learn the rules."
11:58 a.m. Any Season 2 teases? "It picks up about five seconds in an overlap with the end of the first season. It's literally them driving away from the CDC. There's not of this bulls*** 'Six Months Later' stuff," Darabont teases.
11:59 a.m. First crowd question is about possible casting on Michonne and The Governor. Robert Kirkman suggests "Ed O'Neill" for both roles, because he wants to meet him. "And my second go-to is John Stamos," Kirkman jokes. Darabont adds, "We're actually having those conversations as we speak."
12:01 p.m. Do any of the actors do their own stunts? "I did pretty much all my stunts apart from taking my horse down. Even the driving and I only learned to drive four years ago," Lincoln says. Jon Bernthal hedges, but adds, "We do as much as we can ourselves. It's an incredibly game group of actors and an incredibly game crew. Best crew in the world." "When you get bruises and cuts, it's like you've earned your day. It's like your war wounds," Holden says.
12:03 p.m. Reedus is asked which is weirder, "Walking Dead" or working on a video with Lady Gaga. "By far this is the best and the weirdest. It doesn't get much weirder than this, so I'd say this one. I love Gaga, though. She's super-cool," Reedus says.
12:04 p.m. What advice does Greg Nicotero have? "Just constantly document what you do," Nicotero have. You have to study what people have done before and what people are doing now. Nicotero got a complimentary phone call from Rick Baker about the makeup on "The Walking Dead," which he called "astounding."
12:07 p.m. "I've done 800 movies, this is one of the best projects, because I get to be with these people every day," Nicotero says.
12:08 p.m. "He is going to blow your mind this year," teases Callies about the performance by the actor playing young Carl this season.
12:09 p.m. Robert Kirkman apologizes for not taking Andrew Lincoln to a Cracker Barrel while he's been in the South.
12:11 p.m. "I think the plan is to get there but it's not something we can rush. We have to take our time with it," Kirkman says of the evolution of Lincoln's Rick versus the evolution of Rick in the comic.
12:12 p.m. The fake blood doesn't taste gross. It's just corn syrup. But the stuff that gives zombies their black teeth takes disgusting. "There are little black puddles all over the set," Nicotero says. They've streamlined the zombie-making process. It only only requires 90 minutes to prep a hero zombie.
12:14 p.m. The last question is about Jeffrey DeMunn and his theater work. "The two disciplines feed each other is the one thing I can say," DeMunn says, noting that doing theater tunes up the memory as well. "They add an energy to each other, but beyond that, I have no idea how 'Death of a Salesman' helps you kill a zombie.