Last week, it was announced that British actor David Morrissey (the TV version of State of Play) had been cast as the Governor in the yet-to-be-shot third season of AMC’s zombie show The Walking Dead. The Governor is easily the most infamous villain yet to appear in the comic book version of the post-apocalyptic undead saga and the subject of who would (and should) play him had been the subject of much debate amongst fans.
Below,Walking Dead comic writer and TV show executive producer Robert Kirkman explains how they decided Morrissey was their man.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide to cast David Morrissey as The Governor?
ROBERT KIRKMAN: We were looking for David Morrissey is the answer to that. We were looking for that perfect guy and he turned out to be it. It was a long, grueling casting process but I think that after the success of cast members like Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan (who is Philadelphia-born, but in large part U.K.-raised) we have learned the value of a British actor. David Morrissey, more than any other actor we were looking at, came in and definitely understood the role, was excited about doing it justice, and was willing to take the heat of coming in and being such a well known, beloved character that people have expectations for. He’s looking forward to playing a villain, which is pretty exciting.
Speaking of heat, have you warned him that it tends to be as hot as the surface of the sun when you’re shooting in Atlanta?
We’ve been trying to keep that from him. Andrew Lincoln is actually pretty good friends with David Morrissey and we’ve instructed him to tell him about the cool, welcoming climate of Atlanta in the summer. We’ll be like, “Wow, it’s really hot this summer. I don’t know what happened!”
I believe makeup effects legend and actor Tom Savini was campaigning for the role of The Governor. Has he called to shout at you yet?
[Laughs] I wish! I’m a huge fan of Tom Savini. I personally haven’t heard from him yet. I’m sure that Greg Nicotero [Walking Dead executive producer and Savini’s fellow makeup maestro] is getting an earful. But, look, as fantastic an actor as Tom Savini is, he just wasn’t right for this particular role.
The latest episode of the Walking Dead — “Judge, Jury, Executioner” — will debut on AMC this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.