The Walking Dead returned for its third season with a bang, seen by over 10 million people. The second episode took things to a completely different level with the “Sh*t happens” machete-wielding Rick. This week’s episode will see a shift to our first look at the residents of Woodbury and everyone’s favorite villain- the Governor. Monday star Andrew “Rick Grimes” Lincoln and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd took part in a conference call about episode 2 “Sick” and the season as a whole. Check out some highlights of the call starting off with CBT’s question about that infamous leg scene.
You’ve talked about how gruesome the scene with Herschel’s leg was and that it affected you. Could you kind of talk on filming that again and is that one of the few things that has really gotten to you on the show?
I agree with you. It was an incredibly shocking moment actually. We had done a 14 hour day at that point and we were just about to shoot. We did it twice because it was a prosthetic leg. All the gang had built this extraordinary realistic leg. Scott was obviously there as well. I got a message from my wife saying stay in Peachtree City, which is very close to the set, rather than drive home. She knew that I was tired. Then I did the first leg and it was the most intense, adrenaline fueled thing I had probably ever done in the show. It was a human leg and because Scott was screaming and going on. I was so full of adrenaline I couldn’t speak for 3 ½ hours and I drove home. I said there’s no point, I’m full of adrenaline. Because it was a human, because it was a human aspect it was incredibly distressing. Funny enough, I was talking to somebody today and they said I can’t believe they showed that, I can’t believe they got away with showing it. Apparently because I’m saving his life, or attempting to save his life, that’s why we were able to show it. Trying to save his life with a meat cleaver, which is probably the first time I’ve ever tried to save somebody’s life with a meat cleaver. That was an incredibly distressing and strange out of body experience. Rest assured there are countless others in this season. I think it’s a case of trying to up the ante each episode and I think they really do succeed in a lot of these new episodes. The Michonne character for me is extraordinary. I had seen a sequence one the wizards have done their magic work in post and it’s one of the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen a samurai-wielding woman called Michonne doing extraordinary things to zombies. It’s the world we inhabit and it’s wild and it’s kind of crazy. Somehow it works.
There was a time shift from the end of season 2 and when we check in with the survivors at the start of season 3. The question was raised if the writers and actors set down and filled in the gaps as well if we might see some flashbacks to the winter of their discontent:
Gale Anne Hurd: Obviously a lot of thought was put into each and every character and what they were enduring, how they were handling that intervening time. I don’t think an entire dossier was created by the writers room and I’m sure that each actor had a different approach for their own character, but we generally- and this is not a hard and fast rule- but we generally try not to do a lot of flashbacks in the show.
Andrew Lincoln: Sarah and I spoke at length, and also Chandler [Carl]. Everybody came around to my house, we had dinner and we just talked out what had happened so we’re all on the same page. I was very keen to set up the ritual worked out in intervening months: The convoy stops. Daryl chooses a place that’s safe. I get out and take a few steps. My son joins me because he’s the youngest, he has the best ears and the best eyesight and he starts to count because 15 minutes is what we’ve got. Beth is the second youngest, so she goes to the back because she’s got the best eyes and ears. I just wanted little things like that that [the group] developed over time. As an actor it’s my job to fill in the gaps.
Rick seems to have gone pretty dark. Lincoln thinks Rick stills has some humanity though, saying “I think his humanity is pretty intact but I think his ruthlessness or his decision making has very much moved into the Shane point of view.” With the Ricktatorship in full effect, there are certainly credence to comparisons between Rick and the Governor. Lincoln addressed those similarities:
I think the common bond of leadership is something that they’ll recognize in one another. They don’t have anyone to sort of share notes with. Yeah, perhaps The Governor is an evolution of Rick or a mirror of Rick a little further down the line. I always say that with Rick is that everything costs, every death, every responsibility for each death costs him.
The way Rick dealt with Tomas was pretty violent. The way he set the other prisoner out to the zombies is just as brutal. Lincoln talked about how he approached that scene and how American Psycho influenced it:
I think Rick is behaving in an incredibly irrational and reckless way. I wanted that to be the case. I wanted him to feel almost like a serial killer running after his prey, like ‘American Psycho.’ Certainly over the course of the season people start to doubt many things in Rick. His decision making as a leader is very much called into question. I wanted it to be born out of fury and rage at protecting the group, a primal pride that’s a strength and a weakness as well.
Lincoln also commented on the new second in command position Daryl has taken. Lincoln says where he went to RADA, Norman Reedus went to “cool school.” He said that everything he does is so cool and institutional and that those things transfer to his character. Where Rick and Shane were brothers, Rick and Daryl are two guys that get along without saying too much. “They’re both men who aren’t particularly good at articulating their interiors…Out of everyone else I think Daryl understands the most the incredible responsibility Rick carries in the group.”
This season has definitely been, as Gale Anne Hurd said, pedal to the metal. We see a darker Rick, and one wonders if it is being built up to really amp up the inevitable Rick/Governor showdown. Andrew Lincoln and Gale Anne Hurd were pleasures to talk to and seemed extremely excited about the new few episodes. If the teaser trailer at the end of the previous episode is any indication, we all should be as well. What do you think deadheads? Are you digging the darker Rick?