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The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

With The Walking Dead finale just around the corner, the cast reveal some incredible behind-the-scenes stories from their first days ever on set.

The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon)

I remember the first day me being really nervous. The scene where I come out of the woods was my first scene, and I didn’t know what all of the dialogue meant and thought it was going to be hard to say, but I just went for it. The second scene, they gave me about a dozen squirrels on a string. They just handed them to me last minute and I had to figure out how to throw them.

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with that role yet, I hadn’t quite figured it out.  When I turned around and saw the whole cast (which was a lot of people who were already friends), I felt really insecure and I just ran with that chip on my shoulder from there on out. When they started to accept me, I did the same. I was happy it went that way . 

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The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Lauren Cohan (Maggie Rhee)

The first day, it was getting off the horse, and arriving at the house, and being on the porch with Lori. I’m pretty sure it was just that. It was being on the porch with the binoculars and seeing Andy running in the distance with a shot Carl. And I think my first line on the show was “Dad.” [Laughs] It was a really nice advantage to shoot pretty sequentially and to have had all the scripts ahead of time. The show definitely dumps you right in. It puts you right in the zone and was all very tangible.

The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter)

I’m on the flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and I’m trying to play it cool like I wasn’t losing my mind because I was now working on my favorite show. In the middle of the flight, I looked over and saw that I’m sitting next to the guy from Band of Brothers and Southland! I’m freaking out. We land, and I see this big fist reach across the aisle.

Oh my God. He wants to, as the kids say, bump fists! It was the day after Labor Day, and I decided to wear a white sweater. Why? I get cold on planes. There was also a part of me that wanted someone to say “Hey, it’s after Labor Day… not supposed to wear white anymore.” And I would’ve come up with a pithy response that would’ve made that person question their life choices up to that point.

I took one step outside into the Atlanta swamp, and wasn’t I the fool? I remember after about 30 seconds my sweater was dripping wet and weighed like 20 lbs. Renee from our transportation department came to pick us up and I asked if we could pull over so I could throw my sweater on a random clothesline to dry out. “No” was her response. I guess these Georgia folk ain’t ready for my dumb sense of humor. Cudlitz kind of laughed.

The first thing I remember saying to Cudlitz was asking if he liked football.

“I like hockey,” he said with an authority that cut off any followup questions. I was hoping he would say, “Yeah, I like the Green Bay Packers” and I would say, “Same. Are you an owner like me?” and he’d say, “Yup” and then we’d laugh and hug and tell everyone we were best friends. But no. He liked hockey. I mean, he’s not Canadian. That one didn’t make sense to me. So now I’m thinking, “Great, is this how it’s gonna go with this guy?”

We rolled into the basecamp where they were set up filming for that day. Andrew Lincoln was not even in our first episode, but he made the hour-and-a-half drive down from Atlanta to meet us. He played it off like he was there to do a fitting or something, but after working with him for years, I found out that was all BS. He was there just to meet us and give us the lay of the land. But he didn’t want to be a weirdo about it. So he pretended he was there for some other reason. He did that for everybody. What a swell guy.

I sat in the hair and makeup chair to figure out what to do with my hair.

Taylor Knight ran our hair department and I told her I was so excited to be there. She just kind of snorted and in her thick southern accent said, “Everyone comes here to die, baby.” How could you say that to someone? I kind of chuckled and said, “Well, hopefully not me.” She snorted again and under her breath said, “Honey, pleeeeeeeease.

That was my first of about 5,000 “honey, pleases” I heard come out of Taylor or someone impersonating Taylor. I don’t know many people outside of sitcom characters that have a signature phrase and this was completely natural and unforced. Everyone had an impersonation, their version of Taylor. Within moments, Cudlitz, Christian Serratos, and I were saying “Honey please” to each other.

So Taylor cut my hair into a mullet and I was mortified.

My beautiful blond hair was no more. I had a dark brown, flat top, baby-party-in-the-back situation going on. I was beside myself. I asked Renee, the transportation driver, if she could take me to a store so I could buy a hat. She took me to a shop that sold trucker hats for $2. That night, Cudlitz, Christian, and I went to some Italian joint in Peachtree City.

As rattled as I was to now have a mullet, I remember looking at Cudlitz’s hair and thinking, “I’m so glad my hair isn’t that.” I might’ve even said that out loud. On the way home, we passed a sign on the highway for Ginger Cake Road. I desperately tried to get Ginger Cake to be Mike’s new nickname. Cudlitz wasn’t having any of it. I believe his response was, “Is this how my time on the show is gonna go?” Yuuuuuup. Honey, Please

The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier)

What was only known at that time, of course, was that this was a six-episode pilot for what it was hoped would become an ongoing series. For some of us, the fate of our own character within those episodes was also unknown. All I knew for certain about my character was that “she’s an abused wife and mother… and you’ll be needed for maybe three episodes.” Maybe? And I’d seen the image of Carol letting a walker bite into her neck in the comic book, so I didn’t expect to be around very long. The not-knowing-when was intriguing.

My first day on The Walking Dead was day three of the third episode.

That they’d already been filming for weeks, I knew they were well into a good working momentum together, and my overwhelming thought of the day was not to screw it up. Lucky for me, Carol was mostly in the background, and I was comfortable there, you know… acclimating… feeling it all out. Moreover, how could I screw that up? “Melissa, can you move a little camera-left, we can’t see you back there.” This would happen often. 

I vividly recall my excitement at the sight of Madison Lintz and Chandler Riggs, both Atlanta locals whom I already knew. Seeing that both of these terrific young actors had landed this opportunity was a big deal to me, for them, and for all of “the local” actors I recognized on set that day. I was also happy to see some of the local crew on set that I’d not seen in quite some time. And several others in the cast and crew were people I’d briefly worked with on The Mist a few years prior. Seeing all of those familiar faces, it was just a really warm feeling and a very nice surprise!

The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

My first memory is we do a thing called story time of  a scene prior to filming where the assistant director reads the script and the actors do the lines and we just kind of get an idea of the words and whatever it is. And in this, it’s just Negan talking. And it’s 17 pages of Negan talking, and a lot of stage direction. But I remember I didn’t have a script with me and I remember seeing the cast, everyone in the lineup, looking at me.

I knew Norman a little bit, and we’d said hi, but no one knew what the f— they were getting with me. And we were still in street clothes and I was all off-book. I knew all the lines already, and I could just see Andy looking at Norman and everybody’s like, “Ohhhhhhhh.”

I remember putting on the outfit that night, and [showrunner] Scott Gimple was in my trailer and we were looking at the Negan outfit for the first time.

It all happened that day because I was doing The Good Wife at the time. So I flew in, went to set, did a quick thing while they were set up cameras, I was doing my wardrobe fitting, and the next thing I am in that trailer waiting.

I had a little walkie talkie with me waiting for the assistant director to say, “Action, Jeff. Action!” And I was gonna come out. And I remember it vividly. Everyone in that lineup was so with me and so connected for those two nights of just brutal work. I’ll never forget it.

The Walking Dead Cast share incredible stories from their first days on set!

Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko Okumura)

My alarm went off at 3.45am, the earliest I have ever set it for work, or maybe anything. I had just moved to America with my family and my 7-month-old baby. I was so tired and nervous I completely left my body. I think I just floated onto set, but not a relaxing float, a stressful float… I honestly have no real memory of it or it’s hard to remember what’s real. We were in the woods, it was hot, sweat was dripping into my eyes, and I remember thinking, “How will I ever remember everyone’s names?”

Lauren Ridloff (Connie)

My first day on set was also Andrew Lincoln’s last day. I wasn’t actually shooting that day —it was more of a tour, an introduction. When it was time for lunch break, we all went to the cafeteria and they had a magnificent huge cake made in the shape of Rick’s boots!  I think it was the first thing I took a photo of on set: Rick’s cake.

Keep following us for more news on the apocalyptic fiction series The Walking Dead and its whole universe!

Chiara

Fonte: EW

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Chiara Lombatti
Chiara Lombatti
When Cristina Yang’s mankind hate, and Sherlock Holmes’ deductive skills meet Randall Pearson’s anxiety and Jamie Fraser’s multilingualism (featuring Claire Fraser’s curls and Kate Pearson’s voice). Translator and feature article with a great love for cinema, TV series and books.

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