Interviewers were buzzing with energy at the pressroom for The Walking Dead, eager to get some intel on AMC’s apocalyptic-zombie show whose second season returns October 16th. It appears there is a genuine market for the otherworldly on TV, and AMC has put its own mark on the genre with its penchant for great storytelling. Here, I talk with cast members Laurie Holden (Andrea) and Norman Reedus (Daryl) as well as legendary sci-fi producer Gale Anne Hurd about the new season. In it, they discuss the production of shooting the highway scenes, what sort of romance might be in store, as well as their weapons of choice should they ever find themselves in the zombie-world they portray. Find the full transcript after the jump.
Question: Tell us something about the new season that’s been really fun to shoot
HOLDEN: Oh everything’s been fun to shoot
HURD: Oh well I think that the highway, I mean that was really big. We actually closed down a Georgia highway for a number of days. We were on the local news because we caused traffic jams.
Your own Carmageddon.
HURD: Except it was a real Caramgeddon (laughs).
HOLDEN: It was a real Carmageddon and a helicopter kept coming above the freeway and circling.
HURD: And we were like “Wait wait wait, there were no helicopters in the zombie apocaplypse!”
HOLDEN: And we though “Hm maybe we should point the gun at them but then figured they’d probably really shoot us.”
How has it been having the new cast members? Have they had any questions for you coming on the show?
REEDUS: They all came on going “Oh. My. God I love this show.” They all knew the characters really well—all of our characters. They came in with hugs. They fit right in and they bring their own unique flavor to the soup.
Can you talk about filming that highway scene, being underneath all those cars?
HOLDEN: I’m trying to figure out what I can say to that I’m allowed to say to you!
HURD: Well there were lots of zombies
HOLDEN: I wasn’t under a car. There were some terrifying sequences with some zombies.
REEDUS: It got sloppy.
HOLDEN: It got sloppy in a really fantastic way. You’re going to love it when you see it. But I gotta stop there.
Anything you can add to that, Norman? Something fun about that scene?
HURD: You got to ride a really cool motorcycle.
REEDUS: I ride a dope motorcycle. It’s a Triumph. It’s sort of the scout-mobile for the rest of the caravan.
HURD: It’s interesting you see the RV break down. It actually did break down, remember? It wouldn’t actually move for a week—it had to have its engine completely rebuilt. So, sometimes art imitates life and sometimes life imitates art. That happens a lot on our show because the zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened yet.
Can you talk at all about what’s going on in the next season?
REEDUS: Well I guess we could say that certain people take certain roles that maybe weren’t their position in the first season. There’s a lot of ‘who can you trust’ and ‘who can you rely on’ that switches in ways I don’t think you’d respect. How’s that huh, vague enough for you? (Laughs).
HOLDEN: Andrea has a little bit of anger this season. You’d think she’d perhap be a little more grateful to Dale for saving her, but…no.
Does that have to do with her sister?
HOLDEN: I think she feels that she was a bit manipulated, that that wasn’t the choice she wanted to make but she didn’t want to have any blood on her hands. So, anytime anything goes wrong, it’s like “See, Dale? See, Dale?” Which, is the biggest acting challenge because Jeff DeMunn is like the most amazing man in the world so to be mean to him on a daily basis is rather challenging.
REEDUS: I think all of the characters are trying to find their reasons for survival. And you know everyone’s reasons are different: some have children; some are looking for something; some are just trying to find their place in a group, you know whatever. Everyone’s trying to find a reason to live, and they bounce off of each other and some do it in packs, some do it solo.
HOLDEN: And figuring out where they fit in this world. Like if this is the world that I have to live in from now on, how am I going to make this work for me? Like, who in this pack is somebody I can relate to and learn from? It’s very survival and ‘who do I share empathy with?’ It’s really grassroots-human.
HURD: Something unique that happened between Season 1 and Season 2 was that all the principal characters came into the writers’ room and had this interaction with the writers.
How has the filming changed? Obviously in the first season you didn’t have to deal with the popularity of the show and the obstacles that poses.
HURD: Well now we’re shooting at Raleigh studios, and we have security there. But when we were out on the interstate, there were helicopters circling. We were on every nightly local news show. And then we were shooting out in a local town and literally in the middle of the night there were about 100 people with their lawn chairs and their blankets just watching, and they couldn’t see very much. It was very, very cool, and we have the best cast because the people who were working that night went over and took pictures and talked with them.
Do you see the zombies before you arrive on set, and also what is a time when you’ve showed up at work and it’s taken you back because it’s too disturbing or too gruesome?
REEDUS: We’re used to seeing zombies walking around, that’s for sure. But there’s a way that Greg [Nicotera] makes the zombies and a way he teaches the zombies a way to be zombies, there’s a very sensitive sad sort of feeling in their faces. And you don’t see that til we roll. So when were’ rolling it’s a different feeling. So to see a zombie walk by with a Twinkie in his mouth is not unheard of, but being with them when they’re reaching out and really feeling—it’s a whole different vibe.
Is it ever gut-turning?
REEDUS: Funny you should say that…! (Laughs)
HURD: That’s something we can’t talk about.
REEDUS: It’s a funny play of words…
If you guys were to ever find yourself in a zombie apocalypse situation, what would your weapon of choice be?’
REEDUS: Well, I’m really lovin’ the cross bow, I gotta say that. The only bad part about a crossbow is that you’ve got to go get your arrow back, you know what I mean? But, you know I got a rag in my back pocket.
HOLDEN: Gun, gun, gun, gun, gun (laughs).
How would you feel about your characters [Daryl and Andrea] hooking up sometime? Do you see a romance coming?
REEDUS: You know, it’s interesting. It’s the end of the world….”yeah, whatever!” But you know, I don’t think anybody’s going to be putting rings on anybody’s fingers, you know what I’m saying? It’s a hook up world! It’s a one-night stand kind of world.
HOLDEN: He’s been checking me out in scenes.
REEDUS: Been checking everybody out.
HURD: Come on though, you’ve read the comic book, there’s romance!
HOLDEN: But… we are deviating from the comic book!
REEDUS: And I’m not in the comic book so I can nail anybody.
Uncharted waters…So speaking of another person not in the comic book, will we see more of Michael Rooker this year than we did in the first season?
REEDUS: We’re hillbillies, maybe we’ll hook up! Who knows, who knows.
Q: Is there a scene or set piece from the comics that you’re looking forward to?
HOLDEN: Yeah, I’m looking forward to having my gun. I’m allowed to say that. It’s all about the gun.
Will you be able to be true to what goes on between Shaun and the Governor?
HURD: That’s pretty intense. Pretty, pretty intense.
HOLDEN: I don’t know how you would show that.
Norman, had you been in a motorcycle before you had to film that scene?
REEDUS: Actually I have two motorcycles. I’ve done some motorcycle stuff. I was in the new Lady Gaga video, that’s my motorcyle in Judas. I have a motorcycle in Georgia, and also I have pick-up truck with giant black wheels, and all the other truckers wave to me when they see it!
How did the Lady Gaga video come about?
REEDUS: She asked me to do it. She asked me to do the first one that Alex Skarsgard did and I said no. We have mutual friends. She’s a cool girl. She’s awesome.
Click here for all our Comic-Con 2011 coverage.