“The Walking Dead” cast and creators received a typically glowing reception at this year's San Diego Comic Con, where the epic first trailer for Season 6 (embedded above) premiered in Hall H to an audience of 6,000 screaming fans. Later, showrunner Scott M. Gimple, producer/director/special makeup f/x designer Gregory Nicotero and cast members including Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus sat down with the press for a series of interviews. Here are 13 of the best quotes/revelations from that chat.
1. Steven Yeun hated Lori as much as you did.
“I remember the first couple seasons, there was a little bit of backlash on Lori. The character Lori. And to me, she was very similar to the character that they wrote in the book. In the book, when I read the book, I hated Lori. But the thing is, is the reason why is because she's coming from her own place which is rational in her mind. But from the outside looking in, it seems irrational. Or it seems disconnected from what you want as a perfect narrative. But I guarantee you, she's like the bass. She's like the bass guitar. If she was gone, the show would be far more boring. …Honestly, if it weren't for the people you sometimes hate to love, or love to hate, it wouldn't be the show that it is.”
2. They've already beat last season's zombie count by a wide margin — and they're less than halfway through filming.
“I talked to some of the boys from KNB [Effects]…They explained it to me, they said that last season, in the 16 episodes, there were 967 zombies throughout the whole thing…but then this season we're not even through seven, it's over 2,000 already.” — Andrew Lincoln
3. Andrew Lincoln is kind of a hypocrite.
Greg Nicotero: “There's a great moment in the Season 6 premiere where they have to –“
Andrew Lincoln: “You're gonna spoil something.”
Nicotero: “No, but I'm just gonna, you know, I could, but –…You just called me out on spoiling something? Motherf — How many times did you say 'Negan' [was coming] last year? About a hundred.”
4. Don't say “The Walking Dead” isn't a zombie show — particularly not around Greg Nicotero.
“[Showrunner] Scott [M. Gimple]'s funny, cause you know, they do the pitch-out…and he says, you know, people always talk about the show and go, you know, 'it's not a zombie show.' He goes, 'this is a zombie show.' The zombies are forefront. And you can see in the shots in the [Season 6] trailer, there are just like massive shots of entire roads just filled with them.”
5. There is a lot of crying on the set.
Norman Reedus on preparing for the scene where Daryl carries Beth out of the hospital: “That was a rough day. …Just a testament to the working environment we have down in Georgia, I sat on a — before we walked out, I sat on an Igloo — and I didn't want to walk out and start crying, I wanted to have already been flooded. I wanted the weight of her to show in my posture…So I sat on this Igloo and I just cried, you know, and I could see the feet of all of our crew walking back and forth. And I'm just looking at the ground…nobody bothered me, nobody threw rocks at me, you know? Nobody made fun of me, they just let me do my thing.”
Steven Yeun on preparing for Noah's death scene: “That was a really horrible but also at the same time such a satisfying scene to film. It was very satisfying. Part of it is because we have such a warm and open set where you can be as insane as you want to be before action or during action and after cut and before cut. But it's just — I'm glad that there's no footage of what I was doing before…I was a big mess there. In a great way, and it was very fulfilling for me as an actor.”
6. Chandler Riggs was given a lot of shit for Carl's tendency to disobey.
“It sucked for awhile because when I was at conventions, every person…I remember it was for a few months that I think every single person that came up to my table to get an autograph would just tell me to stay in the house. It was the most aggravating thing.”
7. They have a spray-tan tent filled with “zombie colors” for the shows hundreds of undead extras.
“Numbers [of zombies] this year have been bigger. We came up with a whole sort of new system. I was telling somebody the other day, a lot of my ideas come like when I'm sitting in L.A. traffic. …I was like 'wow, why don't we just get like a spray tan tent and just put zombie color in there and just have people walk through and go, [makes spraying sound].'…The biggest day we had on the first episode, we had 300 people, and they were all in makeup. Like, all 300 people.” — Greg Nicotero
8. The show is only going to get more depraved.
“I think there's a journey to darker and darker places because the world is getting darker and darker. I think it's only getting more and more depraved as we get further along. Because you know, we're toying with the theme, and we have been since Season 5 that you know, the humans are the bigger threat because you can't at this point — a lot of the people that have survived are the criminals, and the people who were always comfortable with murdering and were always ready to do perverted things to survive, they're the ones that are — it's trickling down to those types of people. …And so as we get further on, it's only gonna get worse.” — Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
9. Steven Yeun gets that some people watch the show like “Survivor.”
“That's the thing that has been very fascinating to watch with how people view the show, is that sometimes it does turn into 'Survivor,' and it does turn into…'which horse am I gonna bet on to come through?'”
10. Melissa McBride is getting a kick out playing Carol's evolution.
“It's so much fun for me adding a little more growth from that vulnerable, meek person that she felt she was. […] I don't wanna say it's more fun for me as an actor, but it's a lot more entertaining for me as an actor to go different places that are unfamiliar…And now she's branching out and doing things for fun, you know, like explosions and, you know, wearing her Suzy Homemaker outfit. Or just being, you know, two faces. That's fun for me.”
11. Andrew Lincoln thought about his own grandfather when Rick delivered his big WWII monologue in the barn.
“I thought of my grandfather. It was a very personal, the first time I read that, Heather wrote that episode. And I loved it. …Rick never talks about his past. And that's why it was such a rare sort of moment. And I love the fact that it was such a low ebb for everybody, that it was a kind of call to arms, but a very personal, private, quiet call to arms to only a select few…and then of course you have that beautiful imagery of the wall and everybody falling in line, and it kinda makes you wanna cry now thinking about it. Cause it's beautiful. It's so well written, you know. But it was my grandfather. I had that conversation with my grandfather, and he wouldn't tell me [if he ever killed anyone in the war].”
12. Lennie James (Morgan) owes the fans a debt of gratitude.
“I think a large part of it, it has to be said is the fans' reaction to Morgan. You know, however much the show might have wanted to bring the character back, the fact that it was backed up by the fact that the fans had this kind of connection to him and to that scene in the pilot where he can't shoot his wife. The fact that that resonated so much with the fans is part of the reason why I'm sat at this table now, there's no question about it.”
13. Norman Reedus has been brought back to earth by insects.
“It's funny, cause I'm riding my motorcycle home from the set, and the sun's going down, and I'm like 'this is the best job in the world, I'm so happy,' and then like a junebug will hit me in the face.”
“The Walking Dead” Season 6 premieres with a 90-minute opener October 11 on AMC.