WSC Boston 2014 – Jon Bernthal Panel

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Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) had a panel to himself this past weekend at Walker Stalker Con Boston.  Naturally it was the most packed panel of the weekend, and we heard some interesting information from his time on The Walking Dead.

He started off by talking about his history on the show.  Before the show had even aired, he was booed heavily at New York Comic Con due to fans knowledge of the character from the comics.  He liked it and was happy to change their perspective a bit on Shane.

He found that many people agreed with Shane’s actions during the second season, even though he, “…did a lot of messed up things.”  Bernthal talked about how many of the current cast members on the show will try to tell him upcoming plot points, but he likes to watch it on Sunday night like everyone else.

Bernthal joked quite often that Judith was his baby. Whenever anyone tried to correct him or imply that she wasn’t, he jokingly got angry with them.

A lot of the questions had to do with what would happen if Shane was still around on the show. Such as what would it be like and how did having Shane around affect the relationships of others.  Bernthal was at a loss for words on a lot of them, but had a clear answer for one.  One guest asked if Shane would still be crazy if Rick had never come back. “No,” answered Bernthal.  He described that there was one panel early on in the comics that solidified how he was going to play Shane.  It had Shane staring at Lori, Carl, and Rick all happy and the confusing emotions Shane was feeling while he watched that happen.

Bernthal described how he lived on his own in the woods before season 2, as Shane was going to be an outcast this season.  It was just on the outskirts of the farm.  He wanted to establish that rapport with the other actors so his isolation came more natural.

One of the editors of The Walking Dead created a montage of “sweet” moments between Rick and Shane. The editor named it “Brokeback Dead.”  While it hasn’t been released, Bernthal said he has never laughed at anything so hard.

One of the few questions not about The Walking Dead was what Bernthal was working on next. He just finished filming a movie in Europe called Fury. It stars Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf.  It’s about a group of soldiers in World War II that fight off a Nazi force in one tank and comes out later this year.

A few questions touched upon Frank Darabont’s departure during the second season.  Bernthal didn’t answer many, seemingly not wanting to ruffle any feathers.  He did say that Shane’s story arc did change a bit once Frank left though.  He didn’t say in what way.  He mentioned wanting Shane to kill someone before the end of the show, and elaborated with, “It was important for me to kill a person.  It took him to the level he needed to be for the ending.”

The ending of season 2 is often talked about for good reason, and Bernthal touched on that as well.  “To me, Shane took Rick out into the woods to have Rick Kill him.  Couldn’t go back as it wouldn’t make sense. How would he explain why Rick wasn’t there?”

After some poking and prodding, he finally opened up about how the ending was originally supposed to go.  “I wanted the gun Shane brought out to not be loaded and have Rick realize that Shane wasn’t going to kill him. Then Carl kills him before he can do anything.”

Since it was the day before Father’s Day, the panels was shown a bunch of pictures of Bernthal’s kids.  Cuteness ensued. Then one picture of him shirtless flexing slipped in. Naturally the place went wild.

 

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