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My first stop is at wardrobe, where I try on a disgusting bloodstained suit. I'm a size 32, but they make me wear a size 38 because they like their zombies to look like they've lost some weight since dying. It all serves to make me look more like a skeleton than a zombie, but maybe the two are, in fact, one and the same.
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This is what my face looks like before it goes into the makeup chair. Some would say what happens next is an improvement. And those people would be very, very mean.
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Makeup guru Greg Nicotero and his team have 35 zombies to create today. I end up in the chair of Andy Schoneberg, who begins by applying some prosthetics. I'm not good at sitting still.
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After Andy is done applying blood, dirt, grime, and lots of other nasty fluids to my face, he goes for the teeth, applying a yellowish stain that immediately cancels out every Whitestrip I have ever used. During the rest of the day people will continually spray black grime into my mouth, which I am then instructed to spread over my teeth for the ultimate gnarly effect. Tastes gnarly, too.
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The worst part of all involves the contacts. I've never worn contacts, so I am not used to people sticking stuff in my eye, and these big, bad demon lenses are brutal. But man, is the final result worth it. (See next image for proof.)
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I am SOOOOOOOOO ready to eat some flesh at this point. The zombie makeover took around 90 minutes total. Now I'm all set for my big scene.
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The scene involves a pack of zombies chasing an abandoned Shane (Jon Bernthal) just outside the exploded CDC. That's me in the middle in full zombie glory. But what's up with my shoulders? Am I wearing shoulder pads or something? What is this, the '80s?
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There's just something inherently wrong with a zombie eating salad. (And with a fork, no less!) Hey, even the undead enjoy a little variety in their diet. The best thing about the lunch break: I get to remove those hellish contacts.
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Doing a chase scene in heavy makeup and wardrobe in 95-degree heat for eight hours can take a toll, even on zombies. Which is why nothing beats a short break in an air-conditioned bus. Fun fact! That's star Andrew Lincoln's brother-in-law James sitting right behind me.
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The Walking Dead comic-book creator (and show executive producer) Robert Kirkman thought he could escape me. HE THOUGHT WRONG! He could use a little salt, though.
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Joking around with star Andrew Lincoln and EP Robert Kirkman in between takes. Then it's back to action. The action of killing!
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In the end, my big scene was cut from the premiere. But I'll always have the memories of my big zombie debut...as well as some nasty black grime between my teeth.