'Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman on tonight's show
While tonight’s midseason finale of AMC’s drama The Walking Dead technically belonged in the zombie genre there were times when it looked more like an old school war movie as Rick and his fellow prison-dwellers made their move on Woodbury. “I was there for the filming of this episode,” says Walking Dead executive producer and Walking Dead comic writer Robert Kirkman. “We filmed what I like to call ‘the machine gun scenes’ from two to four in the morning. We got some complaints.”
Below, Kirkman talks more about the show, the cameo by Jon Bernthal, and how long you should date someone before showing them your collection of severed zombie heads.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Last things first. You can’t seriously be going on hiatus just as Merle and Daryl are finally reunited in the Zombie-O-Rama Gladiator Arena of Death. We want to know what happens next! It’s almost like you’ve got some devilish plan to leave audiences hungry for more…
ROBERT KIRKMAN: [Laughs]. That’s a new ploy. You do this thing at the end of the show where you leave off at a place where people want to know what happens next. I don’t know what we’re going to call it.
How did the surprise cameo by Jon Bernthal come about?
I’m actually so thrilled that that did not leak. Jon is an amazing guy and the fact that he can keep that stuff buttoned down is really great. When he came off the plane in Georgia, everyone in the airport was like, “Hey, what are you doing here? Are you on the Walking Dead again? What’s going on? Why are you here in Georgia?” And he had to be like, “Oh, no. I’m just visiting some friends.”
We got him to do the cameo but then he had a beard for the Scorsese movie that he’s in (The Wolf of Wall Street) and we couldn’t shave it. So we spent probably a few weeks trying to figure out a way to make that make sense. That was a lot of fun.
This show featured the introduction of Tyreese, who is a beloved character for the comic book. What can you say about him?
One, Chad Coleman is absolutely amazing and has been doing a spectacular job on the show. But Tyreese is a new element, someone who is looking at the zombie apocalypse from a different perspective and, as we will see, he is someone who is maintaining his heart and his integrity and is actually a really good dude. So I’m really excited to try and break him and to do terrible things to him, as we do all the characters in the Walking Dead.
Well, talking about terrible things springing from the mind of Robert Kirkman, what would you say to fans of the comic book who may have been slightly disappointed that Michonne didn’t take down the Governor in a more brutal fashion? I mean, the shard of glass in the eye was nasty but…
That eye gouge scene still gets me. I have a lot of trouble with that. But I think she definitely broke him emotionally by killing Penny, which is not something that she does in the comics. So I think, to a certain extent, it is possible that this is actually a little bit more brutal than that. There is a lot more physical damage done to him in the comic book. But it’ll be a lot of fun exploring this more emotional damage in the show.
When Michonne stabbed the Governor I couldn’t stop myself from shouting “In the eye!” in homage to Rob Riggle saying “In the face!” after Zach Galifianakis gets Tasered in The Hangover.
[Laughs] I love that moment from The Hangover so I take that as a compliment. But, yeah, because there’s a little bit of digital effects that cleans it up a little bit I’ve watched that scene from the show over and over in a loop and I still wince every time I see it.
Next: “What, you gonna let a body go to waste?”
Woodbury’s strict immigration policy concerns me. The Governor didn’t want the National Guard guys in the town and he clearly doesn’t want Rick and crew to join the settlement. He only seems interested in hot blondes.
Can you blame him?
I don’t blame him. I’m just not sure there’s enough of them left in the post-apocalypse to maintain population levels, given the high fatality rate amongst Woodbury citizens.
Well, just to be serious for a moment, which I really hate doing, it’s clear that the Governor doesn’t want anyone with any kind of authority or ability to question or confront his authority. The people from the prison are doing their own thing and he’s certainly not going to want them in there, especially because they looked at that prison and were like, “Eh, that thing’s lost,” and now there are people who went in and took that prison over. That’s going to be very irritating to the Governor, that somebody was able to do something he thought was impossible. And the National Guard people, they would come in and run that town and he would not want that to happen. He wants followers. So anyone that shows up and appears to be a follower, he’s going to be letting in.
It’s probably an irrelevant point now, but how long should you date someone before you introduce them to your zombie daughter and/or show off your collection of severed zombie heads?
At least three months. You’re not going to want to do that any time before then. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the hook in.
I don’t mean this in a sexual sense, but it seems to me that the real romance of this season has been between Andrea and Michonne.
Yeah, I see that. It’s definitely something that we’re playing with. She and Andrea were off on their own together for a very long time and, while it’s not a sexual relationship or anything like that, they do have a tremendous bond and seeing that torn apart seeing them go through this separation is a big deal for both of them and is something that we are going to be exploring a lot moving forward as well.
To be clear, the Governor turned on Merle because he realized that Merle had lied about killing Michonne?
Exactly, exactly. He blames Merle for the fact that he wasn’t prepared for a confrontation with Michonne. And actually Michonne is coming after the Governor because she knows the Governor sent Merle to kill her. So all of that was set in motion by Merle not only not killing her but lying to to the Governor.
Am I right in thinking that that is the dearly departed Mr Coleman we saw the Governor feeding his daughter at one point?
I believe so, yes. What, you gonna let a body go to waste?