Comic-Con is a crazy blur of activity when you’re trying to coordinate coverage, even with a team as good as the one we took this year. We did very well at dividing things up, but every now and then, you come up a little short-handed and you end up scrambling.
In our case, we found ourselves short on the TV side on Saturday night when we were offered a chance to interview the cast of “The Walking Dead,” and since I enjoyed the show, I jumped in to handle the conversations on-camera. Unfortunately, we found ourselves in the middle of what seemed to be pure chaos on the part of the publicists handling the event, and even though we showed up exactly when we were supposed to, from the moment we began, we were told that the event was already running late and everyone had to go.
Maddening, really. As we stood there, we watched them march Andrew Lincoln right by us, then Jon Bernthal, then Sarah Wayne Callies. All of them were hustled into waiting cars and whisked off to a dinner with Frank Darabont. Keep in mind, at this point, we hadn’t heard anything about the creative shuffle behind-the-scenes, and earlier in the day, at the “Walking Dead” panel, there had been no indication that things were about to change. It’s one thing if we’d just shown up at that spot and tried to wrangle some interviews without an invitation, but we were there because they asked us to be there, and yet the closest we got to most of the cast was to watch them walk away.
The only reason I got Norman Reedus to stop is because I worked with Norman on the “Masters Of Horror” episode “Cigarette Burns,” which John Carpenter directed. When Norman saw me, he walked over to say hello, and I asked if he’d be willing to jump in front of the camera for a few. The one cast member that the publicists actually brought over and actually formally presented to us to interview was Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn on the show. We managed to wrangle one other interview that we’re still cutting, and we’ll put that up later in the week. For now, you can see Reedus embedded at the top of the story and here’s Yeun for you:
“The Walking Dead” is such a great piece of source material that it mystifies me to hear that AMC is already second-guessing the show to such an extent and that there is enough friction behind the scenes for Darabont to have already stepped down as show-runner. His passion for the material ahead of time and his excitement about TV in general couldn’t have been clearer, and I’ve read some suggestions that he didn’t understand the pace of television or the demands of it, but that’s ridiculous. When I first met Darabont in the early ’90s, he was one of the writers for “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” He’s not a stranger to television. I doubt we’ll ever get the whole story of what went wrong on “The Walking Dead” to drive him off the show, but hopefully it doesn’t hamstring the entire production. There are a lot of good people doing good work on the show, and it’s obvious that there is a fanbase that wants this show to be great.
Here’s hoping this one really finds its legs this year and that there are many seasons ahead for this adaptation.
“The Walking Dead” appears on AMC, and returns to television October 16, 2011.