Producer of AMC’s hit zombie show on eve of the second season
Coming off a very successful first season which got them a number of accolades and the shake-up of original showrunner Frank Darabont leaving just before the start of the second season, the zombie survival show is tackling 13 episodes, split between the Fall and next February.
Hurd is certainly a producer who is familiar with comic conventions, having worked on a lot of high profile genre projects over the course of her career, beginning with the very first “Terminator” movie, then producing multiple movies based on the Marvel Comics characters The Punisher and The Hulk. She also has two actual comic books at Aspen Comics, “The Scourge” by Scott Lobdell and Eric Battle, and a new one called “Dead Man’s Run”, written by Greg Pak with Tony Parker as artist.
The Saturday night Comic-Con panel played to a packed audience at the IGN Theater, with Hurd, Kirkman and Emmy-winning make-up FX Artist Greg Nicotero talking about the new season before showing an extended scene from the first episode of Season 2, which has the group of survivors on a freeway cluttered with abandoned cars when a throng of walkers head their way. Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) runs to tell the others while Jeffrey DeMunn’s Dale lies flat on top of his camper. Rick gets to the others and has them hiding underneath the abandoned cars and trucks as the walkers approach. IronE Singleton’s T-Dog tries to hide behind a run-down car and he somehow rips his arm open on a car door and starts bleeding profusely. Meanwhile, Laurie Holden’s Andrea is in the camper having not heard Rick’s warning and she sees the walkers go by and hides. Then a rather ghastly zombie with a lot of the skin on his face walks into the camper and Andrea hides in the bathroom as it roams around inside. Andrea tries to assemble her gun an the noise gets the zombie’s attention as it tries to get into the bathroom and Andrea puts her feet up against the door trying to keep it out. Dale who is on the roof looks down into the bathroom and sees her predicament so he drops a screwdriver in through the grate. We’re then back to T-Dog who is losing blood fast as a zombie in overalls closes in on him but then Daryl comes up behind the zombie and stabs it in the back of his head. At the same time, the zombie finally breaks through the door and Andrea stands up and stabs it in the eye with the screwdriverâ€¦ her first zombie kill!
After showing the footage, they brought out some of the cast including Jon Bernthal who plays Shane, Laurie Holden (Andrea), Steven Yuen (Glenn), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Norman Reedus (Daryl) and new cast member Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene. The questions from the audience were fairly innocuous, but the 12-year-old Chandler stole the panel with his innocently clever quips, but many in attendance were interested in the chemistry between Steven and Lauren, being that Glenn and Maggie have one of the central romances in the comic book series,
A day before the panel, ShockTillYouDrop.com got on the phone with Hurd to ask her a couple questions about the upcoming season.
ShockTillYouDrop.com: Congratulations on the success of the series, the first season.
Shock: I’ll admit that I was one of the skeptical fans of the comic not sure if it would work as a television show, so I was really pleasantly surprised that it does. Since we’ve never spoken before, how did you get involved with “The Walking Dead”? Was it always going to be as a TV show?
Shock: I think one of the things about the concept of zombies on television is the fact that most people like the movies because of the amount of gore. You didn’t really skimp on it in the first season, but I’ve been hearing it’s going to be even gorier the second season.
Shock: I’m really shocked by that because other than “Nip/Tuck”, you don’t really see that level of gore even on basic cable, so how do you work with AMC to know how much you can show in terms of the gore? Is there a lot of back and forth?
Shock: So it was always understood that that’s going to be the show?
Shock: Your first season was only six episodes, which must have been hard since you got things going and then people have to wait for the new season. How has it been going working on a longer season and will the 13 episodes air weekly starting Sunday?
Shock: There’s already a lot of choices on Sunday night. It’s obviously done well, but how was that decided?
Shock: How has the season been going and how involved is Robert Kirkman these days? How much has the comic been playing a part in the extension of the story?
Shock: I know things are moving out of Atlanta for the second season.
Shock: Is it going to be really obvious this season that it’s a different season? Like, when you put on an episode in mid-season will it be really obvious that it’s outside Atlanta?
Shock: One of the things about the comic is that it’s sort of neverending. There are arcs when they visit different places but it’s just one ongoing story.
Shock: The fact that you have seasons makes it difficult to have that level of continuity.
Shock: It seemed that many of the shows in the first season had standalone arcs, though there was continuity between them, so do those standalone one episode stories continue into the new season as well?
Shock: Another thing about the comic that’s kind of cool but also frustrating is that someone can die at any given time. How does that work when you’re doing a television show with actors who have contracts and what’s involved with that?
Shock: In the comics, key characters would get killed off at weird moments and you never knew about it beforehand. It’s like, “Wait that person’s very important. They’re dead.”
Shock: So you’re committed to that same kind of feel for the show and whatever happens, happens?
Shock: Now that the story is out of Atlanta, are we assuming the show isn’t going to have as many big zombie attacks anymore or are there going to be some bigger set pieces in this season?
Shock: Is the cast going to expand a lot this season? Obviously you have Hershel and his family. Are different people going to show up over the course of this season expanding the cast? How is that going to work? Are they going to be trying to keep those survivors and adding the new family?
Shock: Having read the comics, I’m coming at it from a different place from many people, because I know who everyone is in the comics and I want them to stay in their roles. At this point, having Robert involved, is the TV show becoming something different where you can develop what you’ve done on the first season where you don’t really have to rely on the comics as much?
Shock: I assume if you’re going to bring more people in, what’s the danger of getting into the guest star thing which happens with so many ongoing shows where better-known actors want to be involved and they have different guest stars each week?
Shock: I guess the networks are a little more into that idea, and AMC doesn’t do that, so there isn’t that danger.
Shock: I assume that you have no shortage of zombie extras down there? I assume you need different once on every show.
Shock: What else are you involved in? Are you still developing movies and things like that?
Shock: “Hellfest” is straight up genre horror I imagine?
Shock: Can you share what the premise is of that?
The Walking Dead begins its second season on AMC on Sunday, October 16 at 9 PM Eastern with a 90 minute season premiere.
Source: Edward Douglas