Savana Wehunt made her second appearance at the Alabama Phoenix Festival this year. The Walking Dead actress has worked on the TV show as Penny, The Governor’s daughter, as well as Walkers in Season Two and Three, featured in Greg Nicotero’s Webseries and regularly works as the stand-in for Chandler Riggs (Carl). Savana discusses a key Season Three secret as we look ahead to Season Four, as well as her background working in haunted attractions, teaching Zombie School and her involvement in an upcoming Zombie mobile gaming app.
I’m guessing The Walking Dead has started production for Season Four. Have you gone back to work yet?
– “I think it started on May 6th. Right now, they’re kind of getting their feet wet, seeing what they need. Who they need. Last year, for Season Three, I went all summer before they called me. And then I get back, and they’re like, ‘Hey, where’ve you been?’ Sitting at home. Where’ve you guys been? Once you get there, and they realize you’re there, they start using you a lot more.”
How did Chandler Riggs react when he realized you were his stand-in?
– “He had a little boy, who was his photo-double. I started doing stand-in for him right from the beginning of Season Two. He had been OK with it. I didn’t know him very well but I fell in love with his whole family. His Mom and Dad are teachers, so they’ve been mentors to me. We’ve always gotten along. We’re kind of like brother and sister when we’re together: We fight and pick at each other. And then it turned into me photo-doubling for him, and he’s like, ‘This is so weird. This isn’t cool.’ And then he shot a movie in LA this past winter, and his photo-double there was also a girl. Eventually, he’s going to get tired of having girls photo-double for him. Some people ask if we’re brother and sister. No, but we might as well be.”
How did you get involved with The Walking Dead Webisodes?
– “I worked on the Season Two Webisode, the backstory to Bicycle Girl. When we were working on those, we were shooting the scene at the high school and Greg Nicotero came up to me and said, ‘I want you to be a part of the thing I am filming.’ He picked about 10 of us and we went across the street. He wasn’t really telling us what this was for. We did that part of the Webisode and I’m in the sixth Webisode. It was the only part that was shot in Georgia. Everything else was shot in LA. I had watched it online. I went through one through five and hadn’t seen myself yet. I thought he had cut it out. I was so upset and then I saw my face. Ever since then, it’s been my most popular image out there. The Season Three Webisodes are up. They take place in a storage facility. They’re a little bit darker than Season Two.”
What kind of secrets can you reveal about Season Three of The Walking Dead?
– “If you watch the last scene of Season Three, everyone’s getting off the bus and you notice someone is missing. Well, that missing person kind of alludes back to the comics and what could happen in Season Four. So, go back and watch it again.”
[SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!]
I must’ve missed that. Who might that be?
– “Everybody gets off the bus except Michonne. Michonne is not on there. If you read the comics, you can kind of see where they’re going with that.”
[SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!]
Could you tell me a little about the Zombies app you’re developing?
– “Right now I’m working on the mobile app, We Hunt Zombies. You can play as the Zombie or the Zombie Hunter. We’ve got a lot of Walking Dead Zombies who will be with us on that game. We’ve got a lot of good voice-over actors who will be working with us. We’ve got Scott Tepperman from Ghost Hunters International. We just announced him a couple of weeks ago. I’m the main character in the game. You can play as me or a few other people. We’re hoping to release some big names sometime soon. We’ve got some big composers who are wanting to work with us for little to nothing. We want to give them as much as we possibly can. This game has really taken off in a huge snowball effect, for us.”
This isn’t affiliated with The Walking Dead, is it?
– “No. This is something I’ve worked on with one of my producers up in Nashville. So, I’m up there, quite a bit. I’m trying to get that up and going over the summer and to release it in early Fall. It will definitely be released for Android, iPhone and eventually, as we can get more and more people on the game, for Facebook. It’ll be one of those games where you don’t have to start over every single time, because that drives me nuts. It’ll be something that you can save and pick back up. You can play it online with your friends, kind of like XBOX Live.”
How did you initially get started in the zombie world at Six Flags Over Georgia?
– “I got on with Six Flags. They had auditions, and I went, ‘I’ve been doing haunted houses for four years. I look very young for my age. I told them I was over 18 at the time and I would love to work for them. They told me they have all these characters they’d like me to do, and I told them, ‘I have a character and I would love to bring her to you guys.’ It ended up they loved the character. The character actually got a name, it’s Julie. We started riding around the park and everybody knew who Julie was. They would walk in the park and ask for me. The second year, I did a part in a show called A Call to Minions. The Baron, who was pretty much like The Crypt Keeper, would release all the monsters and would introduce us. It was really cool to see, after two years, how much people would ask for you, take pictures or come every single weekend just to sit and watch. I ended up working for Six Flags during the regular season in the Crystal Pistol, which is their musical hall. I did escorting for them. I’m not much of a singer or dancer, so I could never do that.”
Did anyone from The Walking Dead remember you from your Six Flags performance?
– “I was walking around Six Flags in full makeup, in my attire and a couple walked up to me and said, ‘You’re from The Walking Dead. We read up online and put two and two together and figured it out.’ I meet thousands and thousands of people at a theme park and it’s cool that someone can spot me. Two people knew who I was, out of everyone.”
You also worked on Zombie City. How did you get involved with that?
– “Zombie City is a short film. I was actually up in Nashville, last summer. I went up there for a haunted house: Monster Mountain. They wanted me for Zombie School. They wanted me to teach the Zombies and to do a short intro to the film. We also had a photo shoot. I’ve been to that haunted house three times, now. Zombie City is about a Zombie outbreak and it takes over a city. A haunted house is actually connected to that story.”
Will you be returning to Monster Mountain this year?
– “I’m hoping to. I’ve got some friends there. I know the make-up artist and the actors. I think it’s in Hendersonville. It’s literally on a mountain. It’s very long to walk through. I’m hoping to go back this October.”
You haven’t appeared on Talking Dead already, have you?
– “I haven’t. Actually, one of the times that Chandler called in, I thought it should be me and Chandler on air. I would love to.”
Do you go to a lot of conventions?
– “Yeah. I try to do it at least once a month. Right now, I’m in school full-time, so it’s pretty hard to do it during the year. But now it’s summertime, a big convention season. I try to do as many as I can because I go to school online.”
How do you balance schoolwork while working on a TV show?
– “Most of my professors, when I talk to them about it, are very understanding if I give them enough notice. A lot of times, in the entertainment world, you know the night before. All of them have been very understanding, and they tell me it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and to do as much as you can.”
What conventions will you be attending next?
– “I will be in Knoxville in June. Hopefully, I will be in Miami during July at Florida SuperCon. It’s the weekend of my birthday, so I’m hoping to get on with that. There’s a lot of good lineups. Chandler’s going to be there. We’ll see how that goes.”
Will you be at DragonCon this year?
– “I will be there. I’m actually doing Tech Ops for DragonCon this year. I’ll be doing sound and running around like a crazy person with my head cut off. They’re doing 17 ballrooms of sound this year. I will be a very busy beaver for that.”