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Dispatches From the Set – Executive Producer David Alpert on Season 6

David Alpert, Executive Producer for AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about which comic character he wants introduced and what he’d be eating during the apocalypse.

Q: As a close friend of Robert Kirkman’s, do you ever try to get comic spoilers, or do you like to find out along with the general audience?

A: Are you kidding? All the time! We’ll be out for dinner – he doesn’t really like to drink – and I’ve tried to use alcohol to loosen those lips a little bit. It doesn’t work, but I have to try.

Q: Do you think it was smart for the Alexandrians to let Rick and company in?

A: If I was able to know everything about Rick before making that decision, I’d probably say no. If I really knew who Rick is and what he’s done, I’d be like, “Yeah, I don’t want this guy in here.” He’s looney tunes! [Laughs] He doesn’t seem to play well with others. So, on paper I’d say no, but Rick also seems to be incredibly competent. He always ends up rising to the occasion even when faced with the direst circumstances. At his heart, I do believe he’s a good guy who’s trying to protect his son and it outweighs the things that he’s done.

Q: What did you think of Carol’s cookies? What would your apocalypse-inspired recipe consist of?

A: I thought those cookies looked great. I do think about apocalypse-inspired recipes a lot because I really love to eat and a lot of the stuff they eat in the apocalypse does not look appealing to me. As much as I’m interested in going around with a crossbow, sword or shooting a bunch of zombies, I do worry about what would happen around the campfire for me. I’m very concerned about this. I’m a big fan of jerky, so I’d love for there to be a lot of jerky. I also don’t think I’d be a good hunter, so I’d probably end up eating a lot of jerky and shrubs – and there are no chemicals or pesticides in the apocalypse, so it’d be all organic. That’s good!

Q: Pretty much everyone in the group has done some crazy things at this point. Who do you find most terrifying?

A: I feel like Michonne is the person I’m probably the most scared of. We’ve seen pieces of her backstory and we’ve seen her do some crazy things, but there’s been such obvious trauma – such deep and emotional trauma – inflicted on her. She’s a bad-ass with a samurai sword and she doesn’t tolerate fools. She does not have any patience and she can cut off your head at a moment’s notice. I both love her and am terrified of her at the same time.

Q: Sounds like a complicated relationship…

A: [Laughs] Exactly. It’s pretty difficult.

Q: Carl now has a love interest. As someone who’s watched him grow up on set, is that weird?

A: Yeah, it’s really strange. When Chandler came on the show, he was a little kid. He’s gone through a growth spurt and has grown up on set, which is weird, because when you watch these characters, you forget that they’re real people. My wife was pregnant during the shooting of Season 1 and my daughter was born basically as we wrapped production. So, my daughter’s life is tracked by seasons. Watching my daughter grow up is like watching the show grow up and also seeing Chandler grow into a man is kind of nuts. I like to go back and watch Season 1 and 2 and see what’s changed. Norman Reedus was a lot cleaner in Season 1, I have to say, and Steven Yeun has gone from this nerdy kid to the chiseled bad-ass he is today. It’s interesting to see how people have evolved.

Q: Greg Nicotero told us about his experience as a walker on the show. Could you ever pull it off? What would be most challenging for you?

A: I thought about it in Season 1. I saw Charlie Adlard and Gary Whitta do it, and it’s really brutal. I saw all the hours, the makeup, the sitting in the heat and I just looked at them and said, “nah.”

Q: What lessons have you learned from the show about survival?

A: I have go bags in my home, car and in my office. I do have stocks of water readily available and we also have MREs and stuff like that as well. I wouldn’t quite say I’ve gone full-on militia style, but I definitely lean more that way than I did six years ago.

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