Fans of Being Human (US), Battlestar Galactica, and The Mist are familiar with actor Sam Witwer, but did you know he also had a cameo in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead TV series? When Rick hides inside of the tank, Frank Darabont had Sam playing the role of the zombie soldier.
During a recent interview, Sam revealed that Frank Darabont had plans for a prequel episode featuring the zombie soldier. He also talks very candidly about the firing of Frank Darabont as showrunner of The Walking Dead and provides some new details.
Sam Witwer: “I was already in The Walking Dead. You guys have heard what’s happened, recently. I’m furious at them for this, because Frank is my friend, he’s my buddy. Not only is he my buddy, but he’s a guy I’m extremely loyal to, because he gave me a shot with The Mist, when I didn’t have a hell of a lot going on. Here’s a guy who gets his cast and crew together and gives AMC a show, packages it all together, which is way cheaper than anywhere else because everyone is working way under their pay grade. Why? Because they want to and love working with Frank Darabont.
He has shared with me what kind of pay cuts people were taking, and I am also friends with other people on that set in other departments. He said to me, ‘Look, I think it would be really cool to tell a prequel story about how Atlanta fell, do Black Hawk Down, but with zombies, have a few main characters pass through, but the lead will be you. You’re a soldier and all these horrible things happen, and the chain of command breaks down, and, eventually, you have to take out your superior officer. Then, eventually, in the end, you get bit.’ He’s pitching me this. ‘You’re crawling and you crawl into this tank and you have a grenade and you’re going to blow yourself up, but you set the grenade next to you and you die. Then, we reprise the scene from the pilot, where Rick gets in the tank and there’s a zombie there.’
If you look closely, I played that zombie, because we were setting up this prequel we were going to do. If you watch the pilot of The Walking Dead, that’s me in the tank as the zombie, and then Rick blasts him and he gets deafened, and he gets that grenade which saves him at the end of the season...
...It’s not happening now. Why? Because AMC wanted to save a few bucks. That is just one example of the kind of cool, awesome forethought, this guy has put into this show, that is now absolutely written off. For me, it doesn’t matter much because I’m busy doing Being Human. We were going to schedule things around. I’m not lamenting the loss of a job, I’m lamenting the loss of an amazing idea. And there are dozens and dozens of amazing ideas just like that, which are now gone."
It's really worth watching the full interview, so we've included it below.
[Story thanks to The Walking Dead Podcast]