Tag Archives: Walker Stalkers

Andrew Lincoln Dishes on Musical Theater. And Zombies.

Andrew Lincoln, November 2,2013, at Walker Stalkers Convention

Andrew Lincoln, November 2,2013, at Walker Stalkers Convention

Actor Andrew Lincoln of AMC’s The Walking Dead doesn’t attend a lot of fan conventions. But he made an exception for The Walker Stalkers convention in Atlanta, Georgia, November 1-3, attending with many of the other stars of the show. On November 2 he spoke to about 1500 fans at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, in a discussion moderated by Walker Stalkers podcasters Eric Nordhoff and James Frazier.

Eric: Well, we have a special guest here in the building, (cheers, a call of “who is it?” from one person, followed by laughter) and that person is Emma Loggins from Fanbolt.com. (cheers)
Emma: Thank you. Um, all right. So the way this is going to work, we only have five fan questions that are gonna be asked. There are two mics –
Eric: We’ll probably take more than that.
Emma: We can?
Eric: Oh, yeah. It’s per Andrew’s request.
Emma: Awesome. (cheers, applause) So there are two mics lined up with volunteers next to them, so if you would like to ask Andrew a question, please get in line.
Eric: Now is the time to line up.
James: Run . . .
Eric: Don’t run. No running, but now is the time because this is mainly for you guys. We’re not going to be asking a lot of questions.
Emma: And without further ado, Andrew Lincoln!

Andrew Lincoln speaks to a packed ballroom at Walker Stalkers convention November 2, 2013.

Andrew Lincoln speaks to a packed ballroom at Walker Stalkers convention November 2, 2013.

(Cheers, screams. Lincoln strides onstage, peers at some 1500 audience members, and settles into the couch.)
Lincoln: Ooooohhhhh, there’s a lot of you. (cheers) Hey guys. This is exciting, isn’t it? (cheers)
Eric: Are you comfortable on the couch?
Lincoln: A little too comfortable, actually. Lemme sit up here. There. Is Greg Nicotero here?
Eric: he was.
Lincoln: What? He stood me up?
Eric: You didn’t get to see him earlier? He was trying to see you.
Lincoln: He came and kissed me earlier, yeah. (hoots from audience)
James: Thank you for coming to Walker Stalkers Con.
Lincoln: Oh man, it’s a pleasure, guys. (to audience) Are you having fun? (cheers) I’m in my second hometown, Atlanta. I love it here. (more cheers)
Eric: James and I have been reading for a while, you did an interview and you said, you know what, you said in this interview I need to do something for the fans in Atlanta. And we were talking to your publicist, probably when we first announced we were going to do a convention, and we kind of reminded her, hey, he said this, Andrew said this, and finally we get the chance to do that and really make it work. So we’re just honored to have you here.
Lincoln: Oh, it’s such a pleasure, guys. And I’m sorry it’s been a long time coming. This should be a regular thing, I think. (cheers)
James: Any questions?
Q: Can you hear me?
Lincoln: Barely. Hey.
Q: (hoarse) I sound like an eighty-year-old barmaid. (laughter) I’ve been yelling at Norman, you know, just screaming.
Lincoln: That happens, yeah. (laughter) It takes me sort of half an hour to start work in the morning because I just scream. (laughter)
Q: All right, so we are all familiar with the complicated character that is Rick Grimes, and what a phenomenal job you do playing him.
Lincoln: Well, thank you.
Q: BUT. Those of us who are familiar with your earlier work know that you had a knack for comedy and dancing. (laughter, whoops, applause)
Lincoln: What are you saying: Musical time? Rick Grimes sings? (laughter) Sings and dances? Naked? (laughter, cheers) Bring it on Scott Gimple. Bring it on.

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Eric: We need more security.
Lincoln: Dave Morrissey has got a very good voice as well, so maybe Rick and the Governor could have a little G-rap, at some point? (cheers)
Eric: they actually did that duet, didn’t they? It was called Broadway.
Lincoln: Yeah, I heard about that, yeah. So sorry, what is the question?
Q: The question is this: would you ever be interested in hosting Saturday Night Live, and if so, what type of skit would you enjoy doing?
Lincoln: You know, you’re not the first person to sort of ask me that question. And it does fill me with absolute horror. (light laughter) Yeah, I mean, I began on stage. That was my first ever role was the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist, and I was hooked ever since. So look, I wouldn’t rule it out, but it would have to be something along the lines of, maybe Colin Firth has done some great sketches on there. Hilarious sketches. But you know, you’re never going to fill the boots of Christopher Walken. (laughter) I mean, how good is THAT guy? But um, never say never, is my sort of political answer.
Q: You would nail it, you know you would.
Lincoln: Oh, I’m terrified already.

The Zombie King Speaks

zombienicoteroscreenGreg Nicotero — co-executive producer and special effects king of The Walking Dead — sat for a panel discussion with Walking Dead fans bright and early on Saturday morning, November 2, 2013 at the Peachtree Westin Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia to talk about the zombie makeup, directing episodes, his co-workers, and other makeup jobs he’s loved over his 30-year career. Nicotero appeared onstage with Walker Stalkers convention organizers James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff, facing an audience of hundreds. Fans were invited to approach one of two microphones to ask questions. Following are some excerpts of that panel discussion. Keep checking back for more.

Greg Nicotero learned his craft under special effects expert Tom Savini. He began as Savini’s assistant on Day of the Dead in 1984 and four years later joined with Robert Kurtzman and Howard Berger to found a special-effects workshop, KNB, that has worked on more than 400 films. Nicotero himself has worked on more than 150 films and television projects.

Greg Nicotero November 2, 2013, Atlanta, Georgia

Greg Nicotero November 2, 2013, Atlanta, Georgia

Greg: You guys are up early today.

James: How was your night?

Greg: Well, see, there’s this little show we work on called The Walking Dead. We were filming until 2 o’clock in the morning. So it’s been a long night. I know I’m not supposed to talk about stuff. I’ll talk about a little bit of stuff. So we’re on our second-to-last episode, we’re almost done with season 4, and we’re, yeah. It’s kind of all a little bit of a blur right now. But I just want to say I was the first person here this morning. All those other actors who didn’t have to work last night? Still beat them. I’ll try not to swear because I’m sure there’s kids here. But if I swear once, sorry.

James: Well Greg, you were the first person from The Walking Dead to commit to our podcast. I just want to say thank you for taking that time, because without that – it’s turned into this giant snowball that is Walker Stalker Con. And that is why you are the guest of honor this weekend. (applause)

Greg: Aw, thanks. If I had known, I would have come way earlier. I mean we could have done this last year, and you guys would have been all “oh, another convention, oh god.” But listen, congratulations to you guys. This is a big deal. The fact that they got – it was very smart to do it while we’re still filming. Because all the actors are here. You know, this is the first thing – time – Andy’s [lead actor Andrew Lincoln, who plays sheriff Rick Grimes] ever come to one of these. So we have to go check on him afterward and make sure he’s still sane.

Eric: I kind of want to ask you before we get into some really amazing photos that we’re gonna go through, and all kinds of insider stuff, did Andy – was there any talk, did Any ask anybody “what is this Walker Stalker Con? I’m hearing everybody’s going except me.” Cause he was like the last one to come. I was wondering –

Greg: We told him he wasn’t invited. (laughter) He was like, “Hey, you guys doing this convention?” and we were like, “No, there’s no convention next weekend.” (more laughter) No, I think he talked to Norman [actor Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon] about it. Norman, who does quite a few conventions. But if I’m not mistaken I think he’s donating his money that he makes on his autographs to charity. So I’m gonna donate mine to the makeup effects crew’s beer tab tonight. (Shouts from the audience) You guys all please buy autographs from me today, or else I’m screwed. (laughter) I’ll drop the price. All my guys are here, so the amazing guys who do the makeup for the show – guys, stand up so everybody can – come on. (applause, woo-hoos) Where’s Andre? Andre, come on. So Jay back there was the walker that Andy shot in season two through the mouth. And Andy there, that guy, I didn’t want to say the guy with the white hair because — the white haired guy, he was Michonne’s first kill at the end of season two. So they’ll be charging $90 for each autograph. (laughter) But they’re only autographing body parts. (More laughter) And all these guys are amazing, amazing makeup artists and the magic that is done on The Walking Dead would not be done without them.

James: 25 years of KNB effects now. When I say that, what goes through your mind?

Greg: You know, there was a documentary – this Canadian filmmaker did a documentary called Zombiemania and they borrowed a bunch of my footage from Land of the Dead. Of me on set with George, and she said, this stuff is great, this footage is amazing, have you guys ever thought about doing a documentary about KNB? It’s like, well, you know, the rights are a little tricky and on Day of the Dead, Savini was a very big tech guy. So he always had a video camera with him, and because I was his assistant, he sort of handed the camera off to me. So I filmed everything on set of Day of the Dead. So when I moved to LA and started in the business, I just thought that’s what everybody did, that everybody videotaped stuff. So Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, every movie that we did, I had a video camera with me. So for me, what I love about that, is when you go and you buy the DVD – I don’t get any money from that – when you go and buy the DVDs, you see all the footage that I shot. The closest that you ever get to experiencing what it was like to be on set when we were torturing Bruce Campbell every day. (laughter) Dumping blood on him, you know, we were shooting in Day of the Dead, chopping the zombie’s head off with a shovel, all that kind of stuff is now accessible to fans. So that’s really really important to me. So this documentary – it’s called Nightmare Factory – has a lot of that footage. And it’s weird to think that I started in 1984 so next year will be 30 years for me, and we started KNB in ’88. So it’s pretty amazing.

J&E: Congratulations.

Nicotero: Thanks.

Eric: Congratulations, Greg. Incredible accomplishment already, and you really, you’ve got at least another 30, 40 more years left in you, so really, I was just curious –

Greg: I know, I gotta start doing a lot of drugs. (laughter) To just keep going for the next 40 years.

After a Zombie-filled Weekend

Having returned from a weekend in Atlanta at the Walker Stalkers convention, I have lots of stuff to share. First is a link to the piece I did for my day job.

And on top of that, here’s a zombie TV piece my friend Steve did about a week earlier, timed to coincide with Halloween.

Some takeaways from the convention, which was packed.
1) Walking Dead fans are SMART. The questions they offered up at the Q&A panels with actors and producers were better than the questions we media people were coming up with. I’ll be posting excerpts from those sessions later this week, as I get the transcripts finished.

2) Walking Dead actors are really gracious to their fans. Andrew Lincoln, in particular, was just lovely and I think he sets the tone for the rest of the cast.

3) It is possible to be totally normal, and completely fanatical about a TV show, at the same time.

4) Norman Reedus is insanely popular, and was sort of the mythical beast of the convention. You never saw him; you just saw the lines of fans waiting to meet him. Getting to him for an autograph was evidently an hours-long ordeal.

5) Things that look different in real life than on television: some of the men look shorter. With the women, it was tiny heads. Like little birds.

6) All of the actors were just as attractive as they are on screen, and as an added bonus, they were clean and well-dressed. And not carrying weapons, so those were all pluses.

There’s plenty more to come, but so much that I have to spend some time processing it all. For now, zombie friends, shamble on! And don’t eat anybody.