Shock Till You Drop hit the red carpet premiere of The Walking Dead season 3 last night at the Universal CityWalk (near Universal Studios Hollywood) and we had a chance to speak with the cast and crew about what we can expect when the season kicks off on AMC October 14th.
This writer had a chance to catch the first two episodes of season 3 and I can say that it starts out very strong and very bloody. Episode one alone has the most zombie-killing action we’ve ever seen on he show and Rick’s continued transformation is great. Picking up many months after season 2, the series opener finds Rick and the other survivors discovering the prison hinted at in the last season, meanwhile, Michonne (the samurai sword-wielding stranger) and Andrea struggle to survive on their own in the woods.
Here are some of the highlights from the red carpet which include the producers teasing us about what’s to come during the mid-season finale, Chandler Riggs on his newfound Internet meme popularity, the major increase in zombie action and more.
Glen Mazzara (Showrunner)
How this season is different: There’s more characters at play. More agendas. Last year, we had everyone trying to figure out what to do, they all had the same questions. This time, there are different points of view, everybody has a different agenda, those agendas are in conflict, so there’s a lot more drama to be had. A more complicated level of storytelling we want to do this season. Introducing Woodbury, the Governor, Michonne, this is why we love that comic and to finally put all of it screen and we’re very happy we’re getting to do it on our watch.
What we can expect from the mid-season finale: We go big and I expect to get a lot of tweets over Christmas like, “How could you do this to us?” Trust me, it’s there and we know what fans want and what people expect. We’re able to do it in this show because we’re able to go big and reach a certain level of excitement without going over the top.
Gale Anne Hurd (Producer)
Will we learn what happened to Rick and the survivors during winter? (Season 3 picks up several months after season 2.) You’ll pick it up fairly quickly what happened. You’ll see how they survived and what they had to resort to and the jeopardy, it’s omnipresent.
Increasing the budget for even better zombies: Yes, it did. And so deserved by Greg Nicotero and his team at KNB EFX. What I like is they use so many different techniques. There’s a combination of prosthetics, animatronics, puppets – he pulls out his entire bag of tricks this season. [To kill them] guns are really not the answer. It only attracts more zombies so let’s get up close and personal whether it’s with a sword or an axe or a fireplace poker, but that means you have to get close. You’re much more vulnerable now.
On the mid-season finale: It’s an emotional cliffhanger that’s related to what happens to a couple of fan favorite characters.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
On living in Rick’s skin for three seasons now and how that experience has changed: Certainly, with this season, there’s a jump in time, so you feel it. With those previous seasons, we don’t cover much time, so to jump forward and see the evolution and the change in leadership and the death toll everyone experiences, it takes Rick into the darkest and most isolated place he’s ever been in.
The family dynamic this season: It’s not good at the moment. Notgood.com. The kid has the most amazing journey this season and Chandler is giving some amazing work. You see the evolution of the boy soldier and it’s frightening.
On the action-packed, zombie-filled first episode of season 3: Well, I went onto set and the props guys are like, “We have the most zombie kills in one episode than in one season.” We had great fun. The thing I love about this show is when we get the balance right, between the horror, the fun, the thrills, the character development and when we get the alchemy right, it just sings.
Robert Kirkman (Creator)
What was the most drastic change, between the comic and the show, where you went “Wow, you brought something to the table I didn’t think of”: I think there’s quite a bit with the Governor to enhance his character. He always had dual personality in the comic book. There was the person he portrayed himself as and the person he really was. We’ve been able to accent that and David Morrissey has been able to expertly take on that dual role and really “Wow” everybody. The Governor is really going to be one to watch this season.
Are you thinking about directing a few episodes? [laughs] Absolutely not. That sounds like work. I don’t like the idea of waking up and telling people what to do all day long. No, no…
Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
Things get emotionally rough for Maggie at the start of this season, do things get worse? It does. It really does. It’s hard to believe. We have one hell of a journey this season. We’ve been through seven months of winter just trying to settle down, we get to the prison and we find our corn, we get food! But then things get really bad.
On the fun in killing zombies: It’s thrilling. We go into the scene with warm-ups, then we have our war cry, then we have these zombie extras and we’re trying to think of new ways to kill them. We’re working with Greg [Nicotero] and Russell our stunt guy. It’s relentless and endlessly fun. You get bloodthirsty.
Chandler Riggs (Carl)
On being featured on t-shirts that say “Carl, Stay in the House” and fan reaction to his character in season 2: It’s so cool, and I’m an [Internet] meme. I do sort of agree with the fans, but it’s the writers’ fault [laugh] so it is cool at the same time.
Carl’s growth in season 3: What happened with Shane and what happened with Dale and the swamp zombie, he’s trying to put that behind him and move forward as much as he can because there’s no other place to go. If he goes backward, he’ll just break down.
What has his excited about season 3: The end of this season has me so excited, I just love it. There’s so much action, I love it.
Emily Kinney (Beth)
On Beth’s dynamic with Carl this season: I think what you’re going to see is that Carl doesn’t really have anyone his age around and I think Beth is the closest, even though she’s older than him. But she knows what he’s going through. At certain times during this season, you’ll see him open up to me about what he’s feeling. The whole dynamic, I think it’s more of a “buddy” thing but he’s growing up, so it might be a little bit of a crush.
Danai Gurira (Michonne)
Does the series stay true to Michonne’s back story, will we learn where she came from or will she remain a mystery woman? I think it’s in her. The navigation of how and when, it’s a long game. I think you’ll get a little taste.
On working with Laurie Holden (Andrea): We just started to get to know one another and work on who we were and where our characters have been for seven months (between seasons 2 and 3) and we just started to work on it. Find a connection with each other and it was kind of immediate in finding that connection. My character is a bit of a loner, so there’s an interesting aspect to that. She’s not out to quickly find friends, but for me personally, I quickly made friends with Laurie and everyone else in the cast and crew.
IronE Singleton (T-Dog)
T-Dog gets more to do this season: The people wanted T-Dog doing more so the people are going to get T-Dog doing more. Working with Danai and David were great. I reached out to both of them beforehand on Twitter so we could have an ice breaker.
So, T-Dog gets to meet the Governor? Maybe. [laughs] It’s going to be an ugly day [if that happens].
Overall thoughts on this season: This season is going to get gushier and messier. Everything gets magnified by 10. A lot more action. People were screaming and crying for that, and I think that’s what they’re going to get. I personally watch the fan reaction on Facebook and Twitter, I keep my ear to the street.
Favorite zombies: Well zombie from season two. The little girl at the beginning of season one. From season three? Probably the first zombie, that’s my zombie cherry buster.