On Mon., Jun. 6, production of The Walking Dead Season 2 officially kicked off. Now AMCtv.com begins its series of on-set interviews with the show’s talented creative team by chatting with executive producer Robert Kirkman about his expectations for the second season, why he won’t play a zombie and Glenn’s love prospects in the apocalypse.
Q: With Season 2 underway, what are you looking forward to?
A: Time spent in the Atlanta sun. I don’t go outside a lot and it’s nice to be in nature. Mostly I’m just looking forward to seeing the actors again. We don’t get to hang out that much, so it’ll be fun to get back to seeing those guys and interrupting them while they’re working: “I know you’re really worried about this scene and you’re trying to get your lines straight and everything, but let’s chat about what I saw on TV last night.”
Q: What are you expecting from the first few weeks?
A: It’s a funny question: I really don’t know exactly what they’re going to be shooting. But I will say there are some really awesome set-pieces coming up in the first episode. It’s just going to be a lot of fun to get back and see Andrew and Sarah and Jon in costume again, watching Greg Nicotero make zombies again. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Q: Have you seen what Greg has planned, zombie-wise?
A: Oh yeah. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff that he’s been putting together, and I can just say that he’s definitely taking things to the next level. I used to joke when we were promoting the first season, I would say “These are the best zombies that you’ve ever seen because Greg Nicotero has perfected his craft, and if he goes and does a zombie movie next THOSE will be the best zombies you’ve ever seen.” And now I’m happy to say that The Walking Dead Season 2 zombies are the best zombies you’ve ever seen because that’s what Greg Nicotero is doing next. There are going to be some memorable comic book zombies here and there, and then a lot is just Greg going, “OK, what can you do to the human body?”
Q: Previously, you announced that Hershel’s farm would play a big factor in Season 2. What can you tell us about that?
A: Season 1 focused on Atlanta so much, and we got to see desolate Atlanta and how this stuff affects cities. And that was really cool, and a lot of cool visuals come from that. But rather than repeat ourselves we’re going out into the woods. We’re gonna see a lot of rural roads and open fields see how bad things are as you get away from the city centers. It’s definitely different enough that Season 2 stands on its own and has its own thing. And a lot of that comes from Hershel’s farm and seeing these characters. All I can say is it’s gonna be great, and the casting on Season 2 is going to be as pitch-perfect as the casting on Season 1. I can’t wait for everyone to meet Hershel.
Q: Any hints who will be playing him?
A: We were looking really hard at Charlie Sheen for everyone, but he can’t play multiple roles. Turns out he can’t even play one, so, I don’t know. [Laughs]
Q: How does the fact that Shane’s still alive change the story since he died so early in the comic?
A: While we’re mapping out this arc and figuring out this story, we’ll pull something in from the comic and then we’ll go, “OK, so how does Shane existing change this? What does Shane bring to the situation? What’s going on with his character at this point and how does it affect this thing that’s already existed.” It’s really neat for me to treat The Walking Dead TV show as an alternate dimension where Shane lived, and there’s all this different stuff happening because of that. Shane really throws a wrench in a lot of stuff.
Q: Are you now reluctant to kill him off?
A: Yeah absolutely. It’s hard thinking about killing any character. If they’re good characters, there are always more scenes to write, but this is the nature of things: There are zombies around. People gots to die. And after getting to know Jon Bernthal and see his portrayal of Shane, it’s not an easy decision. He’s past his expiration date by comic book standards, but Shane is by no means rotten. I think he’s remaining fresh for a while. We’ll see.
Q: Last season you were pretty adamant you wouldn’t be dress up as a zombie. Have you had a change of heart?
A: I have not changed my mind. It’s just a pet peeve of mine: I don’t like recognizing people in cameo. I’m fine with cameos where I know that’s a buddy of mine that’s a zombie, but I do so much promotion for the show I just feel like viewers would be like, “That’s that guy from the Internet! What’s he doing in the background?” I feel like I would stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the scene. Also, I would not be able to resist the urge to wave. No one wants to see a waving zombie.
Q: How about directing an episode this season?
A: No, no no. That’s ridiculous. I won’t do that until Season 3. [Laughs] Look, directing looks really difficult. And I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve made my living by doing things that aren’t very difficult. So, you know, I don’t want to start working for a living. That just seems unwise to me.
Q: What can you tell us about Season 2 that no one knows?
A: It’s hard because you’re AMC, so I should be able to just say a bunch of things. But I don’t want to get either of us in trouble. So let me think… It’s gonna be a lot of fun seeing a potential love interest for Glenn. He ended up being a fan favorite in the first season, so we get to see a little bit of romance for this guy.