The Walking Dead cast wearing tracers to protect against COVID-19
Like many shows, The Walking Dead went back into production recently. AMC opened up the set in Senoia, Ga. to film six bonus episodes for season 10 that will air in early 2021 to help fill the gap until season 11 begins in October of next year. And, like other productions starting back up, TWD is incorporating new safety measures to keep cast and crew safe.
According to star Norman Reedus, that includes the use of tracers to monitor how long people are spending time in close proximity to one another. “We wear these little tracers in our clothes that will tell us how long we spend in proximity to another tracer,” says Reedus of the unique technology. And that’s not all. Reedus called into EW Live (SiriusXM, channel 109) to discuss his new book Portraits from the Woods — which features behind-the-scenes photos from The Walking Dead set, with all proceeds being donated to the COVID-19 Response Fund — and also talked about the new protocols on set.
“We're being super safe,” says Reedus. “There's a ton of rules now. Everybody's masked up or has shields on. I have a big scar on my face so that this mask doesn't work, so I wear the shield everybody else wears masks. “They take our temperature right off the bat. We get tested three times a week. We do the rapid testing.”
Not only that, but every time a cast member approaches the notably egalitarian set, he or she is forced to now make a grand entrance. “It's kind of embarrassing,” explains Reedus. “Because I'll show up on set and they’ll be like ‘Actor on set!’ And then the people part like Moses and the sea. And I'm like, “Excuse me, coming through.’ It's embarrassing.”
Reedus feels for his crew members who have to do the heavy lifting — literally. “I look over and there are crew members carrying cameras and equipment who have a mask and a shield. And I'm like, I have nothing to complain about.” But both cast and crew are already experiencing on-set separation anxiety. “We like to hug, we like to high-five, we like to shake each other,” says Reedus. "We're with that group. So to keep us all separated, it's different. Granted we're getting used to it, but there are no divas on this set. Now everyone's away from each other and everyone's got these masks on you and you can't see people's smile, so it's kind of a different vibe.”
Beyond new safety measures on set, the show is also having to figure out new ways to stage scenes, and the action viewers see on screen will be impacted as well. “I just fought with a zombie stuntman last week,” notes Reedus. “And usually you're kind of face to face and you can roll around together and have fluid movements and it doesn't hurt your body as much. But this guy had to be away from me and he had to wear a mask on a zombie, which was really weird. But instead of the fluid-rolling-around sort of style, he has to stiff-arm me to get his face out of camera. So it hurt a lot more! I finally got manhandled by the zombie. I had to offer him a free drink at Nic and Norman's because I think I hurt him a little bit. But it was actually me that deserved the drink ’cause I got beat up more than him.”