Episode 3 of The Walking Dead, Walk with Me, finally gave us our first look at The Governor and the idealistic little town of Woodbury. As Michonne and Andrea start to wonder if all is as it seems, the Governor shows the audience that it is most certainly not. Monday creator of the Walking Dead and producer of the show Robert Kirkman and the Governor himself, David Morrissey took part in a conference call to discuss episode 3 and whatever else was thrown at them. Below are some of the questions we were able to squeeze in as well as some highlights.
It seems like everything you touch lately turns to gold. Thief of Thieves has been a huge success and things are happening with that. Has that success played in to your writing at all? Do you ever think in the back of your mind ‘man that would be cool to see on the screen’ or are you able to compartmentalize TV Kirkman and comics Kirkman?
Kirkman: Well I like to think I’m not getting too fragmented as a human being, but I don’t know. It’s sometimes hard to manage it all. I try to keep my comic book writing separate so that I’m not constantly thinking when I’m writing Walking Dead scenes “oh, and that will be cool in the TV show” or “oh, I should change it because it would work better in the TV show this way.” The comics existed so long without the show, I do try to put the existence of the TV out of my mind while I’m writing the comic just to try and maintain the purity of what it was before all this stuff happened, which sometimes it is a little difficult. It’s something I really try to maintain because it’s pretty important to me to make sure that the television show doesn’t change what I’ve been doing before. I think what I’ve been doing before facilitated the show existing and I just don’t want to change that for any reason.
The Governor did some bad things this episode, but he’s not quiet the despicable character that we know just yet. Was the decision for the different visual of the characters from the comics to the show to help that play out a little longer?
Kirkman: I was wholeheartedly supporting the idea of getting David Morrissey to have plastic surgery so he would look more like the comic book character. He was oddly, extremely against it. So that was frustrating. I will say that the visual of the governor isn’t necessarily the most important aspect of him and to force an actor to have a certain kind of look only to match it to the comic book isn’t necessarily the kind of thing we would do despite the fact we do have characters in the show who look remarkably like they did in the comics. It’s more of an accident really. In the effort to find the best actors for the role, we kind of stumbled across people that fit the image of the comics. We cast David because of his talent and not because of his specific looks. He’s a handsome guy, don’t get me wrong though.
Morrissey: I think the important thing for me is that the people that meet him for the first time meet him they don’t aren’t being tipped off in any way or they feel they have any other agenda with him other than they are in a safe place. This is a safe place. That’s the presentation he has to them right off the bat that you are safe here, this is a good place. That’s what was important. That’s what the start of the look came from, that he was someone who looked strong and dependable. He was a man whose community’s safety is at heart really. That’s where the initial look came from in my head.
I ask that because like Robert said, you look like a really nice guy and you play a really nice guy but you have that concealed rage in your eyes. Especially with that never say never scene.
Morrissey: Like I said before, it’s important the audience of the show have one relationship with the governor and the characters in the show have a different relationship. I think the audience knows the governor better than anybody else. They see him in his private moments, like you saw him looking at the heads. I think that’s important they have a strong opinion and relationship with him much more than anybody else in the show.
Robert Kirkman touched on Michonne and how she’s been handled in the show so far. He said that they wanted to introduce her as a “cold, calculated, and mysterious character” who we don’t know much about. He did say that there will be exploration of who she is and what she has been through later on in the season. David Morrissey said that the last scene, where the Governor is checking out his zombie head aquarium, is the governor in his “man cave” where he can look inside himself. To survive in that world, you have to have a thick skin and be able to desensitize oneself. In one of the funnier exchanges, Morrissey was asked since he has directed in the past if he would direct something for The Walking Dead. He said that he enjoyed working and being in that work environment so much that he would make the tea or do whatever else they wanted. Kirkman replied that they had wanted him for season 4, but now they’d just get him to make tea.