When The Walking Dead series first premiered in 2010, no one could have predicted how popular the series would be with television audiences. People became completely enthralled with the storyline involving the zombie apocalypse and it wasn’t just because of the blood and gore. There was a distinct chemistry among the characters in the series and audiences couldn’t help but feel an attachment to the original group that was making their way through the bleakness of this dark world. While not all of the original characters from the series have made it all the way to season 8, there are still a number of familiar faces that have remained from season 1. People have stuck by the series to watch each heartbreaking death and have continued to stay glued to their seats every time a new character or storyline has made it onto the series.
With the huge fascination over the show, people have started to wonder about what might be going on behind-the-scenes of this hugely popular series. The show has broken records in ratings in past seasons and it seems like there is never-ending speculation on how the series will finally come to a conclusion. While The Walking Dead is based on a comic series, there have been enough differences in the television series to keep fans guessing on how it will all come to an end. Before the last walker is killed, check out our list of 15 behind-the-scenes secrets on the set of the hit series, The Walking Dead.
15. Not All Of The Blood Is Real
While there is definitely an inordinate amount of blood that is needed to create a realistic world in the zombie apocalypse, not all of the blood is actually in the shot during each scene. Some of the graphic images were actually digitally enhanced post-production. This can be a little tricky since the blood needs to match perfectly with the actual blood that is present in each scene. While it would seem easier to mix the digital and real blood together, it can actually be a bit more complicated in doing it this way. The process is so difficult that in many cases, the entire scene will solely contain digital blood. This seems interesting, considering the fact that there are so many scenes in The Walking Dead that feature an excess of blood.
14. Sometimes The Blood On The Weapons Is Really Just Paint
One of the features of The Walking Dead that makes it seem so believable is the way the weapons are used in the series. While guns and crossbows definitely provide enough action, sometimes, it’s the close-range weapons that really create the drama. Yet, the weapons used by the characters need to appear just as realistic, which includes the blood splatter that appears on them during the fighting and death scenes. In order to maintain the right look on the weapons, the production staff often uses an alcohol-based paint rather than the fake blood mixture used to paint the characters, clothing, and environment. This paint creates a much more realistic look on the weapons, especially in the way it drapes and drips over the weapons.
13. Norman Reedus Is Known For Being A Prankster On Set
Norman Reedus is the actor that plays Daryl in The Walking Dead. His character is often seen as one of the most serious of all the characters on the show. Daryl never had a romance storyline (unless you count the time he was with Beth in the woods) and the only real connection he’s had in the series was with Carol. His character is often defined by his “at one with nature” portrayal and the way he always acts like he’s somewhat of an outsider. Yet, this is very different than the actual person he is when he’s just on the set with all the other members of the cast. He’s actually known for being a prankster with his fellow cast mates. Some of his pranks have become legendary and have even made it on YouTube.
12. Insight Into Tara’s Weight Gain And Her Internet Trolls
Alanna Masterson, the actress that plays Tara on The Walking Dead, started out as a frail little character that had a meek demeanor. Yet, she has grown and evolved through the seasons and has become an integral part of the core group at Alexandria. However, she wasn’t always featured in the series as a main character. Instead, she quietly took some time off from the series since she had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Her return to the show was triumphant since the writers started to make her an even bigger feature of the series. Yet, her return wasn’t exactly met with only exultations from The Walking Dead fans. There was a myriad of comments made about her weight and Masterson chose to hit back on social media. Part of her post read, “Dear Instagram trolls, body shamers and the men and women who think it’s okay to comment on my weight… So before you decide to make a comment about my chest being ‘too large’ or how ‘fat’ I’ve become, just know that this little girl got the best start to life.”
11. Major Problems With AMC And Showrunners
When The Walking Dead series first began its premiere season, it was Frank Drabont that was calling all the shots. He was the famed writer/director/producer that drew a lot of core talent to the series, but his talents seemed to go unrecognized with the head executives at AMC. The initial contract with Darabont stated that he would be getting a percentage of the overall profits of the series, which would have been a substantial amount due to the huge popularity of the series and the skyrocketing ratings. Yet, AMC fired Darabont in order to distribute the series on its own and therefore, profit all of the proceeds. Then, the person that replaced Darabont, Glen Mazzara, was forced out of the series due to clashes with AMC executive, Robert Kirkman.
10. Cast Has Secret Death Parties
With The Walking Dead already into the eighth season, it should come as no surprise that the cast has become extremely close over the years. While there are other shows on television that have received some bad publicity because of difficult relationships among the cast members, that definitely hasn’t been the case with The Walking Dead. On the contrary, the cast has been known to be extremely close and have been genuinely distraught when a core member of the cast has been killed off. The cast has even thrown “Death Day Parties” in order to give their fellow cast mate a great send off. This is a time to celebrate their time on the show and it’s rumored that the cast has gone all out.
9. Negan T-Shirt Pulled Off Shelves For Being Racist
When Negan corralled Rick’s group and sought to prove a point by beating someone to death, he used the phrase, “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” in order to pick Abraham as the person he was going to kill. With the popularity of the show, it shouldn’t be surprising that there have been a number of Negan T-shirts printed off and worn proudly by fans. Yet, there was one T-shirt that made headlines due to its controversy. Although it seemed innocent enough because it was just stating the actual lines that Negan used in the show, there were some that instantly thought about the ending of the phrase as “catch a n***** by his toe.” Mr. Lucraft, a Methodist minister claimed that the phrase was offensive and “This image relates directly to the practice of assaulting black people in America.” The shirt was pulled off the racks by Primark and they issued the apology: “Any offence caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this.”
8. Scott Wilson Was Arrested During Season 3
While Hershel Greene wasn’t in the original group during season 1 of The Walking Dead, he quickly became an integral part of the series. The group wound up taking refuge at Hershel’s farm and Glenn became romantically involved with his daughter. It wasn’t long afterward when Hershel became a huge influence on Rick and was a big influence on how he changed his mind-frame at the prison. He was always seen as a soft-hearted man that had a gentle demeanor. Fans were heartbroken when Hershel was beheaded by the Governor in season 4 and there was outrage over losing this main character. Yet, the actor that played Hershel was keeping a secret from the public. He was arrested during the third season of the show in 2012 for driving over 70 miles per hour while intoxicated. It seems like it wasn’t just his television persona that had a tendency to go on a bender from time to time.
7. Father Gabriel Was Arrested For DUI And Possession
Seth Gilliam, the actor that plays Father Gabriel in The Walking Dead has had quite a successful career over the years. He was once on the hit series The Wire as one of the lead detectives on the show. With his character being so memorable on the show, it says something about his acting skills that he was able to completely reinvent himself as Father Gabriel on The Walking Dead. Yet, fans shouldn’t let his pious persona and former law enforcement character fool them. Gilliam was arrested in 2015 in Georgia while driving 107 miles per hour. After smelling alcohol, the police were able to search his car and give him a breathalyzer where he blew over the legal limit. There was also a joint found in his car and he was charged with a DUI and possession.
6. A Stunt Actor Died On Set
Stunt actors are called upon to perform the type of stunts that are far too dangerous for the regular actors to do themselves. These are the men and women behind-the-scenes that help to make the scenes as graphic and believable as possible. They don’t usually get in the limelight with the public, but many stunt actors have created a great reputation in Hollywood. Stunt actor, John Bernecker, was a favorite in the entertainment industry and was working on the set of The Walking Dead when he was filming an episode during season 8. The scene involved Bernecker shooting with Austin Amelio, the actor that plays Dwight, and featured Bernecker falling from a building to land on a safety cushion below. Yet, he missed the cushion and suffered a head injury and he later succumbed to. It was a shocking and sad moment.
5. Rick’s Colt Python Is Unique On The Show
There are a number of different weapons that are used on The Walking Dead series. It seems like every time any of the characters run into a new group or camp, there is a myriad of different weapons to choose from. It should come as no surprise that the prop masters would have their hands full in ensuring the weapons were not only a huge part of the storyline, but also fully functioning to ensure the safety of the actors. While there are a number of different weapons that come and go from the show, there are some weapons that never seem to change. The prop masters create three duplicates of the weapons used in the series since accidents happen on the set. Yet, the iconic Colt Python used by Andrew Lincoln, the actor that plays Rick, has remained the same ever since the very first season.
4. Various Mechanics In Distributing Blood
There are a number of action scenes throughout the many seasons of The Walking Dead, with each of them requiring a certain way to showcase the blood. Whether it’s a knife stab to the neck or a close-range gunshot, these sorts of action shots require some ingenuity when it comes to producing the believability in the blood splatter. It’s interesting to learn that there is a huge process that goes into ensuring that the blood is distributed in a way that promotes believability with the audience. The property master for AMC’s The Walking Dead gave an interview with Business Insider and spoke about the many different mechanical features that are needed for the blood splatter. He stated, “We may have a rig from effects that is an actual ‘spraying blood rig,’ [or] it may splash someone in the face.”
3. Animal Parts Used During Instrumental Scenes
When creating scenes where the internal organs and guts of humans are featured so prominently in various episodes, it can be a difficult task to perform for the prop masters. In many of the episodes, animal organs have been used to create a more believable look. One prominent scene where this was featured was when Rick came face to face with the “Claimers.” In the scene where Rick had to rip out the neck of his attacker, raw chicken was used to showcase Rick biting the flesh and spitting it out. It was said that it was actually Andrew Lincoln, the actor that plays Rick, that requested that it would be raw chicken because he felt that it would appear more realistic than any prosthetic piece they wanted to use.
2. Eating Cooked Ham
While there are a number of scenes in The Walking Dead where the walkers are trying to bite their victims and going on the attack, there are also a number of scenes where they actually get to devour their prey. It definitely looks gruesome on the series but the showrunners actually gave some insight into what the walkers are actually eating. In many cases, the actors portraying the walkers are having a feast of cooked ham when they are shown eating a piece of flesh or guts. The cooked ham was once doused with a barbecue sauce mixture so that it would be a bit more pleasing and would add a more complex color to the overall look. Yet, the vinegar in the barbecue sauce had a tendency to eat away at the makeup worn by the actors playing the walkers, so they had to change it.
1. Difference In Blood Colors For Believability
When it comes to creating the setting for The Walking Dead, the makeup artists are definitely working overtime. While other shows dealing with common settings like high-school love stories certainly seem to captivate younger audiences, the makeup artists don’t have to deal with nearly as intricate details to create their storyline. From zombie-infested cities to the constant murders in the power struggle to conquer the zombie apocalypse, the makeup artists on the set of The Walking Dead definitely have their hands full. There is far more in creating the plentiful blood that is featured in each episode. To give a little more insight, blood from humans is meant to appear a bright shade of red and blood from zombies that have been dead awhile have a much darker shade of red. This is something that will definitely remain in your brain the next time you watch an episode of The Walking Dead.