Tonight’s Paley Fest featured THE WALKING DEAD, AMC’s flagship show at the moment. The creator, Executive Producers and actors were there to share their experiences working on such a cultishly popular show.
Tonight’s event included no new episode. The moderator gave an excellently impromptu overview of the impact the show has had on television, and then he introduced the panel: Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Austin Amelio, Alanna Masterson, Ross Marquand, Josh McDermitt, Lauren Cohan, Tom Payne, Sonequa Martin-Green, Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple (emphasis on the M).
As a fan, I geeked out when Andrew Lincoln (Rick) came on stage. Who wouldn’t? That man is not only gorgeous, but he is the leader of our favorite people. My fandom was nothing compared to others. This may have been the rowdiest crowd I’ve ever been a part of. A mosh pit would have fit in perfectly.
Fans were screaming out random things while he was talking, and he, being the consummate professional, would interact playfully and then get on with the program. This was the case when fans did the same thing to other actors like Lauren Cohan. I can understand why people love her so much. Not only is she beautiful, but when it came to questions, she got up and directed the mic people to people with cheap seats (not me, though). Turns out the questions weren’t even for her, but brava for that!
This was my favorite question: “Will Rick and Michonne have a baby?” To which Andrew replies, “Well, we do have to populate the world”. The audience laughed because Rick and Michonne have been getting it in a lot lately, especially during an episode fans have dubbed “Bonnie and Clyde”. Rick really likes the likes of Michonne and vice versa. In one episode, Michonne whispers to him, “We are the ones who survive.” Oh, Robert Kirkman, is that a foreshadow that these two will be the lone survivors? Anywho, Andrew was A-OK with re-populating the world with Michonne.
Unfortunately, Danai Gurira was not there to give the yay or nay. But I know she wouldn’t have said nay.
Each actor has a special place in fans’ hearts. What’s interesting is that the executive producers do, too. I’m not sure if each one had been on an episode of “The Talking Dead”, but the fans know them just as much as they do the actors. This is very unique in tv-making.
Greg Nicotero spoke about the ways in which Sonequa and Christian silently bonded over the death of their lover, Abraham, played by Michael Cudlitz. He described having to cut that scene in the editing room and crying over their performances. It was a great moment hearing such an important behind-the-scenes figure compliment these brilliant actresses.
Scott M. Dimple also gave great insight on where the season is heading. He said that we will soon see the 100th episode of “The Walking Dead”, and in it, we will turn a corner into “…the next 100 episodes of the Walking Dead”. I groaned. So, did the audience. And I think Andrew shifted on to the other side of his butt. I’m sure no actor or EP or even fan wants to see 100 more episodes. Eek. Clearly, he was exaggerating, but it just didn’t land well.
The biggest highlight of the evening came from Sonequa. She shared that someone has a great theory on how this show could end: A wide-shot of the U.S. coast / boats blockading the borders / and you realizing that it’s only the U.S. that’s effected.
Yep, mind blown.
But Robert Kirkman poo-poo’ed that immediately.
Norman Reedus wasn’t able to appear either, but an unlikely source of catcalls goes to Jesus aka Tom Payne. He was bearded out; light-eyed; and kind of shy about the way the audience responded to him. He mentioned that he has to get used to people whispering, “Is that Jesus?” when he walks by.
The funniest moment of the event came from Andrew (darn you for being mentioned so much in this piece, but you’re such a star). He gave us an ideal way for Rick to die. I won’t completely spoil it for you, but it involves his struggling southern accent while saying “Carl”, which comes out more like “Caaaarrruuull); being bitten; but doesn’t get killed because he’s the cure (yes, he said these words); and then Josh adds, “Then I come and run him over in a dune buggy”.
The panel lasted about 2 hours. But since it was about “The Walking Dead”, it felt more like 5 minutes. Andrew Lincoln seriously wanted one more question to extend the time even though he was on Alaska time. He didn’t get his wish this time. But Andrew, if you’re reading, I would have liked that also.
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor