The actress shares behind-the-scenes intel on a scene that was never intended to be so big

By Dalton Ross
October 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT

Danai Gurira may have gotten a bit carried away. But the fact that she got so carried away led to one of the most memorable The Walking Dead scenes ever.

We learned this when we asked the woman who plays Michonne about her favorite walker kill ever. “My favorite walker kill in the first 100 episodes is so hard to isolate because killing walkers is something Michonne deeply enjoys,” says Gurira before reconsidering. “No, Michonne kills efficiently, not enjoyably. But I, Dania Gurira, enjoy it. But there are so many! It’s hard!”

But then Gurira recalled an infamous scene after the prison fell in season 4. “I really enjoy the scene in season 4, episode 9 where she kind of goes through her own catharsis through killing two dozen walkers at the same time,” she says before letting us in on some behind-the-scenes secrets. “The special magic of it was that I was only supposed to kill 10, and they’d only budgeted for 10 so they said, ‘You can only kill 10.’”

That was the plan, at least. “But then I just kind of kept going and [director Greg Nicotero] just never called cut,” says the actress. “They just let me go and the folks playing the walkers were so awesome. They just went with whatever I did, and take after take after take, it became from 10 to 24.”

Gurira says the scene is so powerful not just for the action involved, but for how the non-stop slaying served as a form of therapy for the character. “It was such a great experience for me, Danai, to get to do the kills, but also for me as Michonne to go through that. She was feeling so many things and really choosing to live and not just meld into the death-march backdrop that she was melding into. So there’s something so full to me about that experience, not only because it was a little bit of improvised spontaneity between me and Mr. Nicotero, which was really fun and enjoyable, but also because it was such a powerful moment of her letting herself grow into the next stage and not just die off because she’s lost people.”

See the zombie slaughter, as well as Gurira’s words about it, in the video at the top of the post. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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  • TV-14
  • Frank Darabont
  • AMC
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