I had the pleasure of interviewing Gale Anne Hurd last week, the morning after she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While I've spoken with her before during roundtable interviews, it was nice to have some one on one time with the person who produced The Terminator and Aliens, and helped bring The Walking Dead to television.
During our interview, I had a chance to ask about the challenges she faced this season as an executive producer. We also talked about adapting the comic book series and she had some very interesting comments about the future of The Walking Dead TV series:
First of all, I wanted to say congratulations on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gale Anne Hurd: It was a lot of fun. I'm still glowing.
I had a chance to see the first episode and I can't wait for our readers to check it out. More so than with the second season, the Season 3 premiere feels like it was created as a big TV event. This certainly has more of a movie quality feel and pacing to it.
Gale Anne Hurd: We felt like that when we were shooting it. It was really impressive and I give full credit to Glen Mazzara and director Ernest Dickerson.
It seems like everyone stepped up their game for this season. As an executive producer, what challenges did more episodes and a more ambitious season present?
Gale Anne Hurd: It's truly a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we get to tell more stories with sixteen episodes. We also have standing sets that are air conditioned, which is a big change for us. At the same time, there is a greater scope and more intensity, which is a lot more work for the cast and crew. We started shooting a month earlier, so they got a much shorter break and had to work a longer season.
The incredible thing is that we have a cast and crew that are so dedicated, and they didn't look at this as a problem. They embraced it as a terrific opportunity to tell more and bigger stories.
As someone who was around from the beginning and familiar with Robert Kirkman's work, how did it feel for you to get to some of the more iconic storylines and characters from the comic book?
Gale Anne Hurd: From the very beginning, with Frank, Robert, and myself, this is something we were so eager to get to. Knowing in the third season we would be able to tell these stories, we were thinking about how to bring them to life with the scale of a TV production. Thankfully, we had two seasons to prepare for this. We also had the fantastic opportunity to audition and cast for these roles. Because of the success and critical acclaim of the TV show and Robert's comic book series, we were able to get really fine actors to bring these characters to life.
What about David Morrissey made you know he'd be perfect for the role of The Governor? Can you give our readers a little tease of what they can expect from him?
Gale Anne Hurd: David is one of the finest actors in the UK, nominated for a BAFTA award, and is known for a nuanced performance. It is important that we have a villain that is not just a cardboard character, but someone you believe people can follow. His charisma and vision needs to command the respect of the citizens of Woodbury and he to be seen as a formidable threat to Rick Grimes and the other survivors.
As a fan of the comic book series, I've enjoyed how the TV series will follow the main elements, but make enough changes to keep me surprised and guessing. Is that something that continues in Season 3?
Gale Anne Hurd: What's important is to let the TV series remain true to characters and stories that have come before. At the same time, we take inspiration from the comic. There will continue to be iconic moments from the comic book, but always with a twist which will keep people off balance. It's not just to keep people guessing, but evolves from the storytelling.
Can you tell me about how working with a bigger budget this season has helped improve the walker effects we'll see?
Gale Anne Hurd: Every year, during the off season, Greg Nicotero and his fantastic team at KNB EFX are developing new techniques and refining techniques. There's a whole new world that we're able to put on screen with the addition of animatronic walkers.
Glen Mazzara has said that he'd like to have seven seasons. Given the success of the show so far, are you already planning things that far out?
Gale Anne Hurd: I think much bigger and maybe it's my feature film background. Seven isn't nearly enough...
So you'd like to see the series continue indefinitely and cover all of Robert's story arcs?
Gale Anne Hurd: There is so much rich material to draw from and so many fantastic characters. There are so many different situations and characters to join our survivors, as well as [characters] to be pitted against them... I think there is no limit. There is certainly no limit to the comic book series and Robert has probably 250 [issues] figured out.
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