You may not recognize him without his makeup, but Alex Wayne played a pivotal role in Season Three of The Walking Dead: He played the Zombie who put Lori out of her misery! At the Alabama Phoenix Festival, we discussed the mental and physical bruises coming from the hands of Andrew Lincoln, doing a Zombie-centric photoshoot for Entertainment Weekly and his involvement with an upcoming Zombie videogame.
How did you get involved with The Walking Dead?
– “I had a friend who worked on Season One. She gave me the contact info and I sent in my headshots. About a month later, I got called. ‘We like your look. We want you to come in for Zombie School.'”
What season did you work?
– “I started on Season Two, the first episode. The first day was the highway scene, filmed on Highway 20 in Atlanta. That was the scene where their car breaks down and they’re trying to scavenge for supplies. That was their first encounter with the herd. I was just a regular deep-background extra that day. That was fun, seeing everyone in makeup, but it was a really, really hot day on that highway. My second day working was like a week later. It was for the same episode. I just kind of got lucky. Greg Nicotero looked at me, asking, ‘How skinny are you?’ At the time, I weighed 120, so I’m pretty skinny. He was like, ‘Come up here.’ They had this new prototype piece that Makeup Artist Andy Schoneberg sculpted and they hadn’t found anyone perfect to wear it. That’s the one you see in my banner, The Vatos Zombie.”
How many episodes have you worked on?
– “I’ve pretty much been on 10 episodes in Season Two and Season Three.”
Were you the Zombie who killed Lori?
– “I am the walker who ate Lori. They named him The Bloated Zombie.”
How did you find out you’d be killing a main character?
– “The Casting People called me up and said, ‘Greg’s directing this episode. He wanted us to tell you he hand-picked you for this. He wants you to come in.’ So, I get there, and everyone’s hush-hush. They instantly direct me to the make-up trailer and I still don’t know what I’m doing that day. They always like to surprise me. They never give me any info when they call me up. Three-and-a-half hours into the makeup process, they’re like, ‘Are you excited for the day?’ Nobody’s told me anything. I don’t even know if I can reenact my geek-out moment, when they told me I was going to be eating Lori. That I ate Lori. I was geeking out, laughing, thinking of the dirty jokes running in my mind.”
Could you tell me a little about filming Lori’s death scene?
– “That day, after coming out of the trailer, Andrew Lincoln walks out of his trailer and is like, ‘Is this the walker who ate my wife?’ He shouts it, too. How do I respond? So, he comes up, introduces himself to me. It’s nice to meet him in person, because I’ve worked with him on other episodes, but not one-on-one with him. This was a first for me. He was telling me, ‘I was thinking for the scene, would it be OK if I put my gun in your mouth?’ I was thinking to myself, ‘Today’s just build-up to dirty jokes.’
“I said, ‘Do what you feel is right for the scene, emotionally and mentally.’ Later on, during filming, he definitely did. He went all-out, he let loose. I was really impressed with how amazing of a method actor he is. He really lost himself when we were filming it. In between takes, they would have to yell at him, because they would have to pull him off me. He was still in the moment. He would take a moment, breathe, and ask me if I was OK. Doing the scene, there was a lot more physical stuntwork than what you got to see in the final cut. In the final cut, he was more dead face, but when we were filming, he was more emotional, crying and yelling. I had nightmares for a few nights after doing the scene.”
How did your Zombie get featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly?
– “They called me up to do a photoshoot for a magazine. I get there and I find out it’s for Entertainment Weekly and I’m going to be on the cover. I got to talk to them. They’re really nice people.”
Was this photoshoot promoting Lori’s death?
– “I did the photoshoot a few weeks after the boiler-room episode we filmed, where I ate Lori. It hadn’t aired yet. That was the toughest secret I had to keep for like five months.”
Were there any other Walking Dead actors at the photoshoot with you?
– “Andrew Lincoln, The Governor and two of Michonne’s Zombie Pets were there. All of us who you see in the magazine were there. We were doing a lot of great shots for that photoshoot. Then I ran into Andrew Lincoln. It was a little awkward moment. I had black liquid dripping from my mouth. ‘I was the Zombie who ate Lori in the boiler room.’ He asked, ‘How are you doing?’ I said, ‘I still have the bruises.’ He was sorry. I said, ‘Don’t be sorry. It’s going to turn out great.’ I had a lot of fun and I’ve never had my ass kicked before. My first was by a Brit. Just how I’ve always fantasized.”
What are your upcoming projects?
– “Savana Jade Wehunt and I are supposed to be doing a project together. She’s developing her own Zombie mobile app game. That’s my next project to do.”
What conventions will you be attending next?
– “The next one I believe is in Knoxville and another one, in Pennsylvania, called ParaFest. Then I’ll be at DragonCon, later this year.”