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The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman and Greg Nicotero pay tribute to Michael Cudlitz

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Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead viewers are still in mourning over the loss of the human quote machine known as Sgt. Abraham Ford. Rocking a ginger handlebar ‘stache and a never-ending supply of one-liners, Abraham became an immediate fan favorite thanks to Michael Cudlitz. And Cudlitz was a favorite of those who make the show as well. Robert Kirkman (who created the character of Abraham in his Walking Dead comic) and Greg Nicotero (who directed Cudlitz in his last two episodes) spoke to us to pay tribute to their coworker and friend.

ROBERT KIRKMAN ON MICHAEL CUDLITZ

“Cudlitz is great. He’s not that much like his character but the way he played Abraham was really great because Abraham had to be this take charge, macho, really intense kind of guy and it was awesome that we always got him to deliver those insane lines the way he did — he always just nailed those better than we could’ve ever imagined. One of the greatest things about Cudlitz was that there was this odd vulnerability about Abraham that came through. You could see him struggling with the Rosita to Sasha transition and the depth of character that Cudlitz was able to bring forward was absolutely remarkable. He had this extremely tough exterior but, at the same time, you got that he was a really heartfelt guy and that there was a lot of pain in his life. To be able to play such a strong character that is so ridiculously macho — seemingly, that kind of character would be devoid of emotion, but Cudlitz was really able to bring it out and play those two contrasting emotional traits very well right next to each other.”

GREG NICOTERO ON MICHAEL CUDLITZ

“Michael is a filmmaker. He’s one of those people that’s a filmmaker and an actor and was always tremendously inquisitive on set. He shadowed me a couple of episodes and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see him get behind the camera at some point in the near future because he’s a really talented guy. And Michael has impeccable instincts that are usually dead-on. The writers gave him a lot of great s–t to say, but he pulled it off.

“I remember being behind the camera when he yelled, ‘Who’s Deanna?’ and I kept giggling because it sounded like there was a drunk guy in the crowd who was bellowing. I went over to them in the middle of a take and I was like, ‘Dude, it’s so funny,’ and he’s like, ‘Well, I’m way in the back and I got to make sure everybody hears me.’ So every time he would have something to say, it was like those old E.F. Hutton commercials where everybody would stop and listen. I don’t think there’s another character on our show, aside from maybe Melissa with the “Look at the flowers,” that people quote the dialogue back to the actor more than Michael. He brought a larger-than-life feel to Abraham, which made him feel like the protector. You felt like if you were near Abraham, you would be fine because he would protect you and he would take care of you in his sort unfiltered swagger of a way.”

For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.