A strong case can be made that the Zombies are the true stars of The Walking Dead, but how did they refine their acting techniques?
Inside The Walking Dead: Walker University showcases herds of Zombies and the actors who hope to make their big-screen debuts on TV’s top-rated show.
Executive Producer Greg Nicotero visits with the newest walker recruits for Season 5 of The Walking Dead and hopes to create a memorable group of Zombies. This behind-the-scenes documentary features Nicotero front and center and goes through each step of molding prospective actors into undead terrors.
Nicotero’s production company, KNB EFX, has created some of the best special effects on TV (and perhaps movies, as well). His first Zombie film was George Romero’s Day of the Dead. The filming of Walker University takes place during the fifth year of Zombie School, showcasing how to become a walker and the creation of each zombie. There’s not a lot of digital Zombies used on the show; all costumes are practical.
There are different walker categories on the show: Deep Background walker, Background walker and Hero walker. Each one gets a different level of makeup and costume, as needed. Prosthetics, foam latex, contact lenses and custom dentures and other costume elements are all used during the one and a half hours needed to create each hero Zombie in full makeup and no two Zombies ever look the same.
Cameras rolled while Nicotero journeyed through the walker auditioning process. Throughout the episode, different producers, actors, stunt coordinators, costume designers and even special effects people discuss continuously refining the process, always attempting to top the previous year’s work on the show. It was interesting to learn there are five core makeup artists who have worked every day of the show since Season 1. Now, that’s some undead dedication!
As far as summertime documentaries go, there’s not a lot to compare this program to. There’s Inside The Walking Dead, but even that seems like an extension of this program, using many of the same people discussing a variety of topics. It’s informative and entertaining, but everything covered in in these two behind-the-scenes programs and more have been discussed in our TWD interviews.
Throughout the years, Matt has interviewed many actors who have worked on The Walking Dead. For more behind-the-scenes information on being an on-screen walker, check out the interviews with:
– Kevin Galbraith
– Chance Bartels
– Savana Wehunt
– Erin Bushko
– Alex Wayne
– Tony Gowell
– Triston Johnson
– Addy Miller
– Jeremey Ambler
And for sneak behind the scenes of being one of the biggest and most gentle characters on the TV show, check out his interview with Theodus “Big Tiny” Crane.
The countdown continues until Season 5 of The Walking Dead begins in October. If sneak previews prove true, there will be a lot of shocking developments to come. Can’t wait to find out! Only two months to go…
Strength: Neat peek behind the curtain of Zombie School.
Weakness: Not much new information is given, only the process is shown.
WTF Moment: New to this year’s Zombie School: Kill the Cameraman exercise.
– “I don’t need happy Zombies.”
– “It’s like American Idol… for Zombies.”
– “I’m still shocked at how many people want to be Zombies.”
– “We want them to look like stray animals, that have been out there for too long.”
– “You see the lost, dying, dead, sad person behind the monster. That’s the creepiest part.”