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Dispatches From the Set – Executive Producer, Writer and Show Runner Glen Mazzara

The Walking Dead‘s show runner Glen Mazzara describes the most adrenalized season ever, explains how the prison and Woodbury are characters unto themselves and ponders the possibility of his severed head showing up in Season 3.

Q: Last year you said the Number 1 secret to The Walking Dead is keeping the zombies scary. Now that Season 3 presents the human danger, have you updated or amended that rule?

A: The number one rule is not so much keeping the zombies scary, it’s keeping the show scary. [The zombies] are always a horror but as our folks learn to live with them, the new horror becomes what people will do to survive and to protect each other in this world. And what they’re willing to sacrifice to achieve their ambition. So it’s very much a human drama, and I think these new characters, particularly The Governor, certainly do play into that.

Q: What new tricks have you come up with this year to scare the be-jeezus out of us?

A: The show is very adrenalized in Season 3… All these horrible things are being thrown at our characters at such a relentless pace that the audience won’t be able to catch their breath and figure out what’s going on. So I think it’s just the idea that you are immersed in this apocalypse, and there really is no escape.

Q: In the Season 2 Finale, you established the “Ricktatorship.” Now that you’ve plotted out Season 3, how would you characterize Rick’s reign?

A: Rick’s reign is initially successful in the fact that they do discover this prison and that proves at first that Rick was right that there’s a place out there that perhaps they can be safe. The question becomes how far can he push the group? What is the breaking point? And Rick will certainly have to deal with how far can he push himself and what is his breaking point.

Q: You wrote the Season 2 Finale. What were you most proud of in that episode?

A: When I look back, there’s a beautiful shot of the barn burning and the zombies approaching the camera. And then we cut to Hershel looking back in the car. I think Scott Wilson’s look of heartbreak, of loss, really made us all realize that that farm was a character. The heartbreaking death of the farm affected us more than we originally intended.

Q: Do you also think of your new locations, the prison and Woodbury, as characters?

A: Without a doubt. Woodbury and the prison have always been conceived as characters. And believe it or not they have arcs. Just yesterday the writers and I sat down and came up with this big sort of plot twist for both that occurs in the middle of the season.

VIDEO: Inside The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 13, “Beside the Dying Fire”

Q: What’s it like to write for a character like The Governor? Do you see him as a clear-cut villain, or can you find his humanity?

A: Part of the attraction of The Walking Dead for our fans is that it feels real, and that means that The Governor has to feel real. He needs to be a person who has a real soul and has a depth and intelligence, and he’s not just a cardboard arch-villain who’s going to play as a foil to our characters. I think David Morrissey is doing a phenomenal job finding the humanity in that character and by having that humanity so prevalent when he commits atrocious acts, I think they’ll be that much more horrifying.

Q: Now that we know Michonne and The Governor are making an appearance, is there any other character from the comic you’re excited about introducing next?

A: There are a lot of fantastic characters throughout Robert Kirkman’s book that we’re dying to bring to life. Some will be introduced in this season and some will be introduced in later seasons. It’s our intention to bring all those major characters to life.

Q: Last year, you expressed interest in being a zombie. Will it happen this season?

A: There was some talk about casting my head. But I thought that might be bad luck having my severed head lying around on the ground somewhere. I’m still open to it, but I just don’t want to jinx anything. [Laughs]

Q: Greg Nicotero told us he is trying to play a zombie this season, but he might be too busy. Maybe just steal his part?

A: I’m actually not a good actor, and I’m worried about them putting all this zombie makeup on me and then “forgetting” to call me to set because I’m so bad.

Click here to read an interview with Greg Nicotero, The Walking Dead‘s Co-Executive Producer and Special FX Makeup Designer.

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