Vincent Martella joined the cast of The Walking Dead as Patrick, a character that plays a significant role at the start of Season 4. In our latest exclusive feature, Vincent told me all about his preparation for the role, along with a number of on-set stories. *Warning: This interview covers events that took place during the first two Season 4 episodes.
How did you initially hear about this role? Did you know you’d be playing the Patrick role specifically?
Vincent Martella: I got sent over the audition material, but I wasn’t sure exactly what this character would be. They had me read a fake script, with a fake character name because everything is pretty secretive on The Walking Dead. Once they liked the direction I was taking, they asked me to come out to Georgia. Then I got to talk to the director, Greg Nicotero, and Scott M. Gimple, and they gave me more of an idea of what they wanted me to do with the character.
Going into this, did you know that Patrick would only appear on the show for two episodes?
Vincent Martella: Yeah, I did. I also knew the significance and impact that my character would have in setting up this season and the new dilemma they encounter.
Before joining The Walking Dead, were you a fan of the series? How did it feel to be living the show? Was it a bit surreal?
Vincent Martella: I actually watched the show since the very beginning and it was incredibly surreal. I remember the first time I approached the prison set. It was one of the most incredible set pieces I’ve ever seen. Being on the set with these actors that I admire was an experience I’ll never forget.
You had quite a few scenes interacting with the main cast of the series. Can you tell our readers about any interesting on-set experiences you had with them?
Vincent Martella: I had an awesome time interacting with all of the actors. Everyone was so welcoming and really professional. Chandler was great to work with, because he’s such a great young actor. We ended up hanging out off set as well and would eat lunch together often.
We were in the middle of shooting the shower sequence at the end and I had my walker contacts in. It was kind of difficult to see and some shadowy figure came up to me. It ended up being Andy Lincoln and we got to talk for an hour while they were setting up the next scene. He was so nice and it was interesting to talk to him about his work on The Walking Dead.
It was also easy to play someone excited to talk with Daryl, because I was very excited to work with Norman. During my handshaking scene, there’s a part where he licks his fingers before he shakes my hand. Norman was pretty adamant that he should lick his fingers. That wasn’t in the script and Greg said it was pretty gross, but Norman said, “Trust me… Daryl would do this.” It was a pretty fun choice by him and I’m glad they kept it in.
How many days did you have to film as a walker?
Vincent Martella: There were quite a few days that I had to do it. The giant fight was an all day affair and we ended up shooting all day because there were so many main characters in one spot and a lot of action going on. It had to be choreographed extremely well.
What did you do to get ready for the role of a walker? Did you get any advice from Greg Nicotero on how to walk or act?
Vincent Martella: I watched quite a bit of the series again on Netflix before I started playing a walker. Greg Nicotero and the entire FX team were extremely helpful in giving me everything I needed to do the part justice. I didn’t want to let people down on playing the walker. Even more so than Patrick, I wanted to do it justice for the fans. Everyone ended up giving me tips on the walk, eating people, how Patrick reacts to hearing something.
Your average person couldn’t stomach the idea of feasting on human organs, but you had days worth of doing that on-set. What was that experience like?
Vincent Martella: A really important part about eating another human being [laughs] is that you can’t go into it like a human would eat a meal. You can’t have any plan as to what you’re eating or why you’re eating it. You’re just aimlessly devouring flesh. That’s something I had to work on in the jail cell and it was definitely a day filled with a corn syrup taste in my mouth. It lasted for a day or two because I ended up eating so much blood.
Many actors from The Walking Dead hit the convention scene and I’m sure fans would love to meet you. Is that something you’re interested in taking part in?
Vincent Martella: I’m definitely interested in doing that. Hopefully, they’ll have me involved in more things directly related with The Walking Dead. I was at the premiere and I do Comic-Con every year, so hopefully, I’ll be able to do something that involves The Walking Dead there as well.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Are there any final comments you’d like to share with our readers and with fans of The Walking Dead?
Vincent Martella: Working on The Walking Dead has been one of the coolest set experiences of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever work on anything quite like it. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life [laughs]. I appreciate all of the support that I’ve been getting from fans on the show. It’s been extremely flattering.
To keep up with Vincent Martella, you can follow him on Twitter at: @VinMan17 Catch up on our recent coverage highlights by visiting the following links: