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If you’re experiencing vampire overload but still need some freaky frights, then reserve your All Hallow’s Eve for AMC’s new original series about a lone cop who awakes in a world torn apart by shuffling zombies. Based on the outstanding graphic novel series of the same name, The Walking Dead wowed all comers at this year’s Comic-Con with top-notch talent and special effects. The cast and crew were also there to discuss bringing the beloved comic-series to life.

the walking dead rick grimesThe story begins as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is gunned down by a desperate criminal. He awakes in a deserted hospital with only his robe for company. Corpses are littered everywhere, and upon returning home, he finds his wife and young son are missing. He begins a quest to find them, whether dead or alive.

Despite his all-American good looks, Lincoln is actually from London. Astute yanks might recognize him from roles in The Pacific, Numb3rs, and Love Actually. He confesses he never heard of the comic series until he was about to be cast. “I wasn’t aware of the comic book at all,” he confessed in his native accent. “I went to my local comic store in London, and said ‘what’s the deal with The Walking Dead?’ … and he showed me a wall of [The Walking Dead] comic books. He said ‘It’s the single greatest and successful comic book we’ve got.’ I said, ‘I want in on this!’"

the walking dead stillsHis enthusiasm for the role showed through as he gushed about the opportunity to star in such a popular series. “The loyalty to this comic book is mind-blowing. I’m so grateful; this is quite the golden ticket I’ve got.” He also spoke fondly of his co-star Jon Bernthal, who plays his in-show cop buddy Shane Walsh. “Jon and I came out early to soak up the heat. We spent two weeks and just hung out together. I think that was so important to the dynamic between Rick and Shane is that we did everything together. We became a couple of goofballs”

Director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) is helming the project, and promises this will be a refreshing take on the well-trod genre of the apocalyptic zombie thriller. “One thing we are all desperate to not do is the obvious, the expected thing,” he said, and added that this would be more than a simple “good guys versus zombies” gore-fest. “I think the genius part of this series is that everyone feels justified in what they’re going for; there’s no clear good or bad.”

Greg Nicotera, a seasoned special effects expert who has lent his skills to blockbusters like Transformers and Spiderman 3, reassured us that the finished show would pull no punches when it came to violence but also wanted to emphasize there will be more to the show than his rotting latex and gnashing extras. “Our network is about pushing the envelope. It’s about storytelling, it’s about conflict, and once in awhile some one's going to get eaten.” The cast and crew promised us that the trailer for the show omitted a lot of the gory details found in the actual show, but, Nicotera chimed in, “we’re dedicated to making this as authentic as we can.”

Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Rick Grime’s wife, Laurie, agreed “I wake up from nightmares because of what this show puts into me.” Hopefully your back bone is stiffer than Callies, who readily concedes “I’ve never read a comic book or watched a horror movie before.” If not, Walking Dead will surely frighten you to death.

THE WALKING DEAD premieres Sunday, October 31st at 10/9c on AMC. / Issue 116 - September 9251
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