The Walking Dead is an amazing post-apocalyptic TV series that premiered in 2010. As a show it has been incredibly popular and successful, receiving numerous awards and award nominations. The show takes place after a zombie apocalypse. Zombies, also known as walkers, are after human beings which, if bitten or scratched by a walker, also turn into walkers. As the plot suggests, it is an intense and exciting show.
Of course, the actors and the characters they play are what make any TV show what it is and indeed The Walking Dead has been blessed with numerous talented actors such as Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and Steven Yeun.
The show’s fans have fallen for the characters and the actors, and we are not surprised, for they are a talented and unique bunch. To celebrate this uniqueness we have compiled a list of fifteen things you did not know about The Walking Dead Characters. We are sure that this list will surprise and in some cases may even force you to look at the actors, and the characters they play, in a new light.
15 Norman Reedus Originally Auditioned For The Role Of Merle
Can you imagine the actor Norman Reedus playing the character of Merle on The Walking Dead? The reason we ask is even though Reedus plays Daryl on the show, he actually auditioned for the role of Merle!
Apparently, when Reedus read the script for the show back in 2010 he was so impressed with it that he knew he had to get an audition -
“I was like, ‘Just get me in the room. I’ll go in and do a guest spot.’”
However, the executive producer Frank Darabont liked Reedus so much he actually decided to create a completely new character for him - Merle’s brother Daryl. Now that he has played the part for eight seasons, we definitely can't imagine a show without him. He has become a fan favourite, and it is impossible to imagine the show without our favourite archer.
Another thing people don't know about him, or tend to forget, is that he was involved in an accident and had to have surgery on the left side of his face, and he now has a titanium eye socket and screws in his nose.
14 Alanna Masterson And Siblings Are Part Of Scientology
Few know that the actress Alanna Masterson who plays the character of Tara Chambler on The Walking Dead is a half-sister to Christopher Masterson who played the role of Francis in the extremely popular TV show Malcolm in the Middle.
Masterson is also a half-sister to Danny Masterson, who is probably best known for his role as Steven Hyde on That 70s Show.
If this isn’t surprising enough, just know that Masterson and her brothers belong to the church of Scientology. Their father, Joe Reaiche, a former scientologist member, is estranged from them, and has called his children “brainwashed”. So while they may be favourites on some classic television shows, needless to say there are definitely some strange things going on in the family.
13 David Morrissey Is Married To The Great Granddaughter Of Sigmund Freud
The actor David Morrissey played the Governor on The Walking Dead and, we must admit, did a superb job at playing the villain.
Although initially he wasn’t even sure he wanted the role. The producer said – “I remember, me and David, when he was offered the part of the villainous Governor, we met up on Sunset Boulevard for a coffee. David said, 'What is it? Do I want to do this?', and I said, 'Um... yeah, you might!'”
It was a good thing he took it, seeing as no one else could have played the role of the governor so beautifully. After all, the mark of a good villain is when you get the audience to hate you. Interestingly, not many know that Morrissey is married to Esther Freud, who is the great granddaughter of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis!
12 Lauren Cohan Almost Didn’t Play Maggie
The actress Lauren Cohan plays the role of Maggie on The Walking Dead and she is so good at it that we didn’t even realize she actually had an English accent! However, Cohan almost didn’t get to play Maggie.
You see, back in 2011 Cohan was playing the lead role in the pilot of a supernatural drama show that was to be called Heavenly.
In Heavenly, Cohan took on the role of a woman named Lily who, as an attorney, was working together with an angel to save lives. The pilot was not picked up however which meant that Cohan could take on the role of Maggie on The Walking Dead. We're sure Cohan is very happy with how things have turned out!
In case you were wondering where it is you've seen her before, yes, she's been in two hit television shows. She was a guest star on Vampire Diaries where she played a short lived character named Rose, but within her few episodes became a name forever referenced by fans. She also played in Supernatural as Bela Talbot who again, became a favourite of many of her fans, who were disappointed to see her leave. Currently, Lauren is also struggling on The Walking Dead as she fights the good fight for equal pay.
11 Steven Yeun Swam In Caramel For A Milky Way Commercial
If you think you’ve seen the actor Steven Yeun somewhere other than The Walking Dead, you’re totally right. Before he was cast as Glen Rhee in The Walking Dead, Yeun appeared as Sebastian on The Big Bang Theory (in the episode Staircase Implementation) as well as in the 2009 film My Name is Jerry (where he played the character of Chaz).
However, you may also recognize him from his commercial work! Yeun has appeared in numerous commercials for companies such as Apple, Best Buy and Milky Way. For the latter commercial, Yeun had to swim in a pool of CGI caramel!
Steven has unfortunately left the show, but we can only hope that he makes his mark on Hollywood as a movie star. His acting skills are phenomenal and he deserves far more recognition than he has gotten thus far.
10 Laurie Holden Appeared In The X-Files
If you’re a fan of The X-Files then you probably realized that the actress Laurie Holden, who played Andrea in The Walking Dead from 2010 to 2013 (she appeared in a total of 35 episodes), made an appearance on the show.
In The X-Files, Holden played the role of Marita Covarrubias, a mysterious informant later revealed to be part of the shadow government, from 1996 to 2002. In total, she appeared in 10 episodes of the show.
A couple of years ago, a fan tweeted Holden asking her if there’s a possibility she’s going to return to the revived X-Files. Her response was - “Who knows.”
When she departed from The Walking Dead there were a lot of different reactions. Many people were glad to see her go, thinking that she wasted too much time with the governor and should have just taken him out when she had the chance. Others thought her character deserved more than she had ever been given, but at the end of the day, unfortunately it doesn't change a thing.
9 The One-Eyed Dog Is A Hero
The One Eyed-Dog appeared in The Walking Dead episode Alone. We first encountered him trying to come into the funeral home inhabited by Daryl and Beth only to see him run away.
Have you ever wondered who the one-eyed dog was? Well, his name is Dooley and he is a real-life hero – he lost his eye while protecting his owner during a carjacking.
Later in the episode he was unfortunately taken away by zombies (but luckily, we didn't have to watch that scene) while they broke into the house in an effort to get to Daryl and Beth. It was because of his one eyed look that Dooley was cast in The Walking Dead. Indeed, the casting crew thought that Dooley had the “perfect look of an apocalyptic survivor.”
8 Jon Bernthal Studied Acting In Russia
Few people know that the actor Jon Bernthal, born and raised in Washington D.C., did not study acting in America but rather went to Russia and pursued his studies there! Indeed, he studied acting at The Moscow Art Theatre School in Moscow.
While there, Bernthal also played professional baseball for the European Professional Baseball Federation. In addition, it was in Russia that Bernthal was noticed and approached by the director of Harvard University’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at the American Repertory Theatre, which led to him obtaining his M.F.A there as well as to his appearance in numerous plays.
We're really glad that he was considered for the role as Shane Walsh, because no one else could have brought the same anger and intensity that he did.
7 Set Gilliam Was Arrested
On The Walking Dead, the actor Set Gilliam plays Gabriel Stokes who is also known as Father Gabriel. His character is initially portrayed as a man who is haunted by the memories of letting his parish people die but later on in the show he joins Rick Grimes’ group and hardens a little.
In real life however Stokes is no saint. Back when he was playing the character of Ellis Carver on The Wire he used to frequent certain night clubs - "This social group was centered on the Block, the stretch of downtown East Baltimore Street populated by a cluster of side-by-side clubs (and, in semi-peaceful détente across the street, BPD’s downtown headquarters). The cast of ‘The Wire’ became legendary visitors to the Block, with a core group including [...] Gilliam.”
In addition, in 2015 the actor was arrested by the police on speeding, DUI and for holding.
6 Jeffrey DeMunn Asked For His Character To Leave The Show
After The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont was fired from the show in season 2 some of the cast members were quite upset. However, one cast member was so upset he asked for his character to be written off the show. That cast member was Jeffrey DeMunn.
The show’s producers agreed with the actor’s request and substituted Hershel’s imminent death with the death of Dale. When Darabont was asked about this act of loyalty, he said – “Yeah, Jeff didn't want to stick around. Because Jeff is a human being and he's got a tremendous...he doesn't need the work. He doesn't have a very extravagant lifestyle and he wants peace of mind in his life. He's a very good and decent man that way.”
5 Carol Was Supposed To Go Instead Of T-Dog
Sometimes bad behavior on set results in getting written off television shows. That’s exactly what happened to the actor IronE Singleton who played the character of T-Dog.
In season 3, T-Dog was bit by the walkers but few know that it was actually the actress Melissa McBride, who was supposed to leave the show.
Singleton apparently kept showing up to the set late and had a terribly negative attitude which led to tension on set. As such, the producers decided that he had to go immediately and decided to swap Carol’s and T-Dog’s deaths. We're lucky that happened too, because Carol has been such a force of nature on the show. She has saved the group numerous times, and has grown the most out of all the characters from a scared woman to an incredibly strong human being.
4 Carl’s Stunt Double Is A 31-Year-Old Woman
Ever wondered whether stunt doubles can be of a different gender than the character they play? It turns out that they can! For example, the stunt double for Carl Grimes, played by Chandler Riggs, is a woman!
Indeed, before season 4, Carl’s stunt double was a young actress named Savana Jade Wehunt, who also played the role of the Governor’s daughter.
Currently however Carl’s stunt double is a woman named Emily Brobst who is in her thirties. Brobst hasn’t always been a stunt double – she has appeared in a few minor film roles too. It kind of makes sense really, Carl's hair is long enough that a woman can do the role, and he was young enough that the producers could still get away with doing stuff like that.
Unfortunately (spoilers-ish) Carl has also left the show, which has done some major damage to it. Andrew Lincoln was so shocked that he had to ask showrunner Scott Gimple to repeat the news to him four times over the phone.
3 Michael Rooker Almost Had A Fatal Accident
The actor Michael Rooker, who played Merle on The Walking Dead, recently confessed that he almost stabbed someone on set. But it wasn’t because he was angry or upset – rather it was an accident.
Indeed, at the start of the show Rooker found it difficult to get used to the contraption on his hand which led to all sorts of awkward situations – “The first time I put that on, the wardrobe person is putting on my wardrobe, and I'm coming with the knife hand and I had forgotten that I had worn 8 inches extended from my hand. It wasn't very sharp. It didn't really stab him. It just poked him a little bit."
Thankfully Rooker is a much nicer man than Merle Dixon ever was, so he would never go around actually intending to hurt people. On the show when he got written off, it was a lot more sad than people actually expected. He was a terrible person, but went down doing the right thing, which in the end, is what mattered.
2 Danai Gurira Moved To Zimbabwe When She Was Five Years Old
The actress Danai Gurira, better known as Michonne on The Walking Dead, was born in Iowa in America and that is where she spent her early childhood. Her parents were African immigrants who had come to America in the 1960's and once they learned that their country, Zimbabwe was independent, decided to move back there.
Thus, Gurira moved to Zimbabwe when she was just five years old and did not return to the United States until she was ready to go to college.
She ended up studying at Macalester College. When asked whether she’s African or American says that she is “Zimerican.” Danai has also recently stared in Black Panther as the general of T'Challa's army. She, just like on the show, became a fan favourite of the film, as she once again portrays a multi dimensional character who is both emotional, loving, and fierce all at once. It's what she deserves, considering her acting is out of this world.
1 Andrew Lincoln Appeared In Love Actually
The actor Andrew Lincoln is probably best known for his portrayal of Rick Grimes on the TV show The Walking Dead but if you feel like you know him from somewhere else you’re certainly not wrong.
Indeed, Lincoln has appeared in a number of films but you probably recognize him from his role as Mark in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually.
Recently Lincoln has confessed that he didn’t like the character he played in the film because he felt like a stalker – “In one of the most romantic movies of all time, I got to play the only guy who doesn’t get the girl. The story is set up like a prism looking at all the different qualities of love. Mine was unrequited. So I got to be this weird stalker guy.” He also came back for Red Nose Day, where he reprised his role, and referenced his role in The Walking Dead.
Though he was good in the movie, the show has allowed him to shine. He has become one of the greatest actors on television, and will likely continue to go on making his mark. Though he says he is not in it for awards, his fans are fighting for him to get one, because they truly believe he is currently one of the best actors on television.