The Walking Dead is an amazing post-apocalyptic horror TV show that first aired in 2010. It didn’t take long for viewers to decide that this was the best thing on TV which meant that the show quickly built up a loyal fan base as well as excellent reviews and ratings. The show has also been nominated for numerous awards such as Writer Guild of America Award (for New Series) and Golden Globe Award (for Best TV Series – Drama).
Currently eight seasons of the show are out and fans don’t have to worry about it ending anytime soon – indeed season nine is about to come out sometime later this year.
As always, successful TV shows have a number of contributing factors that make them popular. Probably the two most important factors are great writing and talented actors. Indeed, no TV show can reach success without a good storyline and similarly, no TV show can last for as long as The Walking Dead has lasted without talented actors who have great chemistry onscreen.
The Walking Dead is a rather terrifying show about zombie apocalypse survivors but it is not just the show that is dark – the behind the scenes of the show is also full of dark and shady secrets that no cast member wants revealed.
20 The Executive Producer Frank Darabont Was Fired In Season 2
In 2011, the developer and executive producer of The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont, was fired due to his “erratic and unprofessional” behavior.
Darabont could not manage the running of The Walking Dead and was unwilling to take advice from others.
His scripts were always late and he couldn’t supervise the writer’s room or oversee the budget of the show properly.
In addition, many saw him as unstable. In 2011, for example, Darabont sent an angry e-mail to the show’s executive producer Gale Anne Hurd saying “I am in a state of boiling rage right now. Everybody especially our directors better wake the f— up and pay attention or I will start throwing bodies out the door.”
19 Frank Darabont Sued AMC For $280 Million
After the executive producer and showrunner of The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont, was fired from the show in 2011, he sued AMC for $280 million. He argued that AMC breached its contract which clearly stated that he should receive 15% of the profits.
AMC on the other hand argued that Darabont was only ever going to receive 15% if he completed the second season of the show as its showrunner and executive producer, which he didn't do.
Earlier this year Darabont filed a new lawsuit in which he claims that he is now entitled to at least additional $10 million in compensation because it came to light that another producer of the show, Robert Kirkman, received profit based on distribution fee as opposed to imputed fee (used in Darabont’s case.)
18 Walkers Get Paid Quite A Lot But Only If They Put In A Lot Of Hours
Ever wondered how much the walkers get paid? Wonder no more! In 2011 a former walker revealed on reddit that for two days on set she earned $600 as well as a bonus at the end of the year.
In 2014, another former walker revealed that a zombie can receive up to $64 an hour for an eight hour day, but you can expect more if you perform stunts or if you get featured.
However, if you think that the money side of being cast as a walker is good, think again. Being a walker is actually incredibly hard work not least because the chances of getting the role as an extra are incredibly slim – an actor first needs to send the studio professional headshots before he can audition.
Then, it’s time for zombie school where they teach you how to make noises that zombies supposedly emit. Once cast, zombies have to spend the whole day on set even though they may only be shown on screen for a few seconds.
17 The Main Cast And The Extras Don’t Interact
If you’re considering becoming an extra on The Walking Dead for the sake of meeting the cast we’re sure that this entry will change your mind. You see, the main cast and the extras are not actually allowed to interact when they are not filming. So, for example, on set the main cast and the extras would eat separately and any interaction between them would be frowned upon.
While we’ve heard of cases where A-listers refuse to speak or even acknowledge the existence of movie and TV extras, the reason behind this segregation on The Walking Dead is apparently much simpler: the producers want the main cast to be as surprised as much as possible by the walkers they see when shooting.
16 Lauren Cohan Almost Left The Show Because Of One Particular Scene
The actress Lauren Cohan, who plays the character of Maggie on The Walking Dead, almost quit in season 3 of the show. According to the script, Cohan’s character had to perform an emergency C-section on another character and the actress was worried that the scene would be far too intense for her to handle.
In the end however, the stress factor of the scene was exactly why Cohan stayed, deciding that just like her character, she too needed to push herself to the limit.
The actress said - “The script where Maggie has to give the character Lori a C-section to save the baby that becomes baby Judith. We all live in the same apartment building — so I go two doors down and I knock on Steven [Yuen]’s door and I said, ‘I have to leave the show. I don’t think I can do it.'”
15 Scott Wilson Was Arrested In Season 3
Scott Wilson is a talented actor and he did a superb job playing Hershel Greene, one of the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. However, during season 3 of the show the 70-year-old was arrested after someone spotted his erratic driving at 2am and called 911.
The police duly arrived and after performing a breathalyzer test learned that the actor had had wine and scotch at a local restaurant.
Wilson was brought to the Fayette County Jail where he told the policemen that he’d much rather do yoga than a sobriety test.
There have been no scandals of him on the set following that, but even at that, fans had no idea this had even gone on. On an incredible show like The Walking Dead, they like to make sure things like this get covered up as much as possible.
14 Jeffrey DeMunn Asked To Be Written Off The Show
Not all actors wanted to stick around when the executive producer and showrunner Frank Darabont was fired from The Walking Dead. Take the actor Jeffrey DeMunn, who played a man named Dale on the show – he was so keen on showing his support and loyalty to Darabont that he asked the producers to write his character off the show. Surprisingly, the producers complied and DeMunn’s character was written off.
Darabont later 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; which is absolutely no reflection on anybody else who stayed with the production.”
13 Death Scenes Are Just As Hard On The Cast As On The Viewers
Death scenes are not just hard on viewers but also on actors themselves. For example, the actor Michael Traynor, who played the role of Nicholas on The Walking Dead, revealed that he had to hide his tears from fellow actor Rick Grimes right after his death scene.
In addition, the actor Jay Huguley, who plays David on the show, admitted that he had to perform his death scene a good few times –
“I’m not gonna lie. It was pretty harrowing, and you just have to turn to someone every once in a while and just be like, ‘Are we okay?’ I was screaming bloody murder, and I think as an actor your mind knows it’s acting, but your heart doesn’t and liver doesn’t and your insides don’t.”
Even for the actors who are not acting out their own death, those who have to do the reactions have a lot taken out of them. Andrew Lincoln has said more than once how the deaths on the show are emotionally taxing for him, but he always delivers the best performance when he has to give his reaction.
12 A Minor TWD Actress Was Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison
Sometimes actors reach fame for all the wrong reasons. Take the aspiring star Shannon Guess Richardson as an example. Richardson made minor appearances on a few TV shows, including The Walking Dead but that’s not what she is known for.
In 2013, Richardson was sentenced to 18 years in prison after it came to light that she sent the then President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg letters laced with ricin.
Fortunately, the letters were intercepted and never reached the intended recipients. The letters said – “The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right. What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you."
11 Residents Of Georgia Called Police On Michael Rooker
There’s no denying that the actor Michael Rooker, who plays Merle on The Walking Dead, is a talented actor. But one may say he is too talented – back when he was shooting the first season of the show Georgian residents ended up calling the police on him. What happened was this – Rooker was shooting a scene on the rooftops of Atlanta with a very realistic looking gun-prop.
Georgian residents grew worried that the prop was the real thing and decided to get the police involved. Luckily, the whole thing was cleared up immediately and no one was hurt!
However, if anything, it can all be attested to the fact that at least we know Rooker is just that good of an actor that he could make the obvious fantasy world come to life and seem very real.
10 Negan’s T-Shirt Caused Huge Controversy And Had To Be Pulled From Stores
The Walking Dead merchandise is a big seller so it comes as no surprise that it often generates great buzz on the internet, at least among fans. However, recently the show’s merchandise was in the spotlight for quite a different reason.
You see, recently the UK retail store Primark released The Walking Dead t-shirt with Negan’s bat Lucile on it as well as the words “Eney, Meeny, Miny, Moe.” Fans will know that in the show, it ends with him choosing someone to take out with his bat, but the phrase also has historical reference. That was a phrase that was coined for similar usage against black folk, and so the controversy sparked immediately.
As you can imagine, countless of people complained, calling the T-shirt “fantastically offensive”. The store pulled the T-shirt from its shelves and issued an apology.
9 Seth Gilliam Was Arrested In Season 6
The actor Seth Gilliam plays the Reverend Gabriel Stokes on show, but he is nowhere near as saintly as the character he portrays. Indeed, during the filming of season six of the show, Gilliam was pulled over by police for speeding. Further inspection of Gilliam’s car revealed a marijuana cigarette.
Gilliam was thus arrested for DUI, speeding and possession but this is not surprising for those who recall his days on The Wire. According to the author Brett Martin, while filming The Wire, Gilliam was known to frequent seedy parts of town that were populated with night clubs.
8 Walkers Don’t Make Any Noise And The Weapons Are CGI
The walkers make terrifying noises but apparently the zombie-extras don’t actually make them while filming. In fact, the noises are added in much later although some zombie extras do like to make some growling noises to make it more realistic.
One former walker said –
“They added the sound later, but many people did groan to make it more realistic. There had been an incident of someone who wouldn't keep his mouth shut. He is constantly talking regardless of where he is. They realize he was the odd one out, so they let him go.”
In addition, the weapons on the show are also CGI. The actor Jay Huguley, who played David on the show, said – “The tips of our knives are missing. They’re put in later on so we’re not in any danger of actually stabbing someone.”
7 Stunt Actor John Bernecker passed While Filming
The job of a stuntman may seem quite glamorous but in reality it is physically challenging and extremely dangerous. This couldn’t have been made clearer when one of the stuntmen on The Walking Dead, John Bernecker, passed during shooting.
It is believed to be the first stunt-related death in the US in 17 years.
It is said that Bernecker died after falling 30 feet to a concrete floor. Apparently, Bernecker and another actor were practicing a regular fight scene that was to end with a fall from a balcony. However, Bernecker lost his balance and fell. Not long after he was pronounced brain dead at the hospital.
READ MORE: Walking Dead Stuntman Death Details Revealed
6 T-Dog Was Written Off Instead Of Carol Because No One Liked Him
No one likes actors who are hard to work with. At best, they will never be re-cast again. At worst, they will be written off the show. The latter is exactly what happened to the actor IronE Singleton who played T-Dog on the show.
Apparently Singleton was always late for shootings and had a negative attitude. No one could take the tension anymore and seeing how the actress’s Melissa McBride’s character Carol was supposed to die in season 3, the producers and writers decided to swap her death for the death of T-Bird. What can we say – no loss here!
5 Michael Cudlitz Had To Pretend He Was Working On TWD For A Year After His Character Was written Off
There’s no denying that it must be incredibly difficult for actors to come to terms when their character is written off. But imagine having to pretend that you are still working on the show when your character was written off months ago.
Don’t believe that can happen? We’re here to tell you otherwise. Take the actor Michael Cudlitz as an example.
Cudlitz played the role of Sergeant Abraham Ford on the show but when his character was written off he had to lie to his family and friends and pretend that he was still going to shootings so as not to spoil the show.
When asked whether Cudlitz told his wife, he said that he had to even though technically he wasn’t supposed to – “Probably, theoretically, like on paper, legally, no. There's no way. Like, ‘Honey, why are you home?' ‘Can't tell you.' There's no logic to that. People in the immediate circle knew.”
4 Carl’s Double Was A Woman In Her 30's
Few of us know the stunt doubles behind our favorite characters and actors even though there’s no denying that they deserve much more recognition than they get. For example, did you know that the stunt double for Carl, who was played by the actor Chandler Riggs (before the character died), was a woman in her 30's named Ashley?
And before Ashley, Carl’s stunt double was a young adult named Savana Jade Wehunt. Wehunt wasn’t just a stunt double for Carl however – she was also a stunt double for Sophia, the daughter of Ed and Carol, as well as a stunt double for Penny, the daughter of The Governor.
3 Andrew Lincoln Thinks That Norman Reedus Would Be The First To go In An Apocalypse
Ever wondered who would be the first The Walking Dead actor to die in a real life apocalypse? The cast were asked this exact question in a recent interview and the actor Andrew Lincoln revealed that in his opinion, Norman Reedus would be the first to go –
“Norman [Reedus], because he'd be too busy playing with his hair.”
According to Lincoln, Reedus spends so much time in his trailer getting ready for a scene that he’d be far too busy to notice a zombie coming after him.
Reedus on the other hand thinks that Lincoln wouldn’t survive an apocalypse either – “Probably Andy, 'cause he can't even work an iPhone, so I don't know how he's gonna survive in a real life. You know what I mean?”
2 ‘Self Help’ Episode Was Almost Banned
Did you know that the fifth episode of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, titled Self Help, was almost banned? A few years ago, the actor Michael Cudlitz, who played the role of Sergeant Abraham Ford on the show, tweeted that the episode almost didn’t air.
Of course, fans immediately began speculating as to why that could have been so. Some suggested it was the making love scene between Abraham and Rosita that almost got the episode banned although others pointed out that that particular scene was as tame as it could be.
Others pondered whether perhaps the episode was almost banned due to a few gory scenes such as brutal zombie destruction with a firetruck hose or a scene that focused on victims of a zombie attack. To this day, fans have not found an adequate answer.
1 Xander Berkley Was Caught Causing Problems On Twitter
The actor Xander Berkley, who plays Gregory on The Walking Dead, caused quite a scandal when his Twitter messages to a young girl were exposed.
It all started when the girl and a group of her friends started messaging the actor asking him to follow her back. Eventually the actor, who is in his 60’s and who is married with two children, did just that. But the conversation soon turned from innocent to dirty.
It didn’t take long for Berkley to start requesting photographs of the girl in her undergarments and saying that she needed “a proper spanking.”
In his Twitter messages, Berkley also confessed that he prefers women who are between 15 and 29 years old. Surprisingly, the Twitter conversation damaged neither Berkley’s career nor his marriage.