AMC has released their latest "Dispatches From the Set" and, this time, they featured The Walking Dead's Greg Nicotero, who talks about what we can expect from Season 5's walkers and he shares details on what went into creating some of Season 4's memorable zombies:
[Spoiler Warning: Season 4 spoilers are discussed toward the end of this Q&A]
via AMC- Q: Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd said we’ll be seeing some frightening walkers this season. What new tricks do you have up your sleeve?
A: I have many new tricks and a very long sleeve! Just like last season where we were able to introduce a new walker look by having the infected walkers with the bleeding eyes, we’ve taken the makeup one step further. While on set, even some of the actors were looking at the makeup and had noticed that we refined and modified our technique even further. For people who have been looking at our makeup for years now, when they still have that level of excitement, it means we’re keeping it fresh. That’s what’s most important to me.
Q: What can you tell us about the state of decay walkers are in, now that we’re in Season 5?
A: These walkers have been around for what we estimate to be a year and a half, so there’s a lot more exposed bone and skin falling off. We’ve got a whole new look on some of these featured walkers. It’s exciting.
Q: Is there any zombie makeup effect you haven’t yet done that you really want to do?
A: The makeup always tries to tell a story, whether it was a walker who was shot in the face or that was slashed. I was thinking about one, which I’m going to try to slide into the show somewhere, where there’s a zombie that has a machete or knife embedded in its chest — and as it’s attacking, someone pulls it out and uses it to kill the zombie. So, [that means] someone was fighting a zombie and stabbed the zombie in the chest, then was bitten and killed, and the knife just stayed there. The zombie isn’t going to pull the knife out of itself. We’re always very careful that the gags we do on the show feel very grounded in the storytelling.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about how you created the burned walkers in Episode 14, “The Grove” last season?
A: That came from an idea that I had in Season 3. During the episode “Clear,” where Michonne and Carl go to the restaurant to retrieve the picture of [Lori], I had pitched an idea that there was a fire in the back of that restaurant and that these burned walkers emerge from the back to attack Carl and Michonne. We got a little hint of it, but not enough to really sell that, so we had this burned makeup design and we then in turn saw them in Episode 14 last season. They were created with full body prosthetics to stimulate that burned, crispy look. I always reference cooking a hot dog on a grill for two hours. It was fun and I was really proud that we got them featured so prominently during a great episode.
Q: What about Hershel? How was his head zombified and reanimated during Episode 9, “After”?
A: We created a cast of Scott Wilson’s head and created an animatronic that had jaw movements. We sculpted the skin then molded it and created a foam latex head with a fiber glass under-structure that was cable-operated for the jaw. One little augmentation I wanted to do was digital eyes. The one thing that always gives away an animatronic head are the eyes because the eyes are always challenging to replicate in terms of movements and blinking. I went to Visual Effects and what we ended up with was an animatronic with real eyes as a digital composite onto the head. The fact that we had a couple of real flies flying around the head was a complete bonus.
To read the full feature, head over to AMC's official website for The Walking Dead TV series. Catch up on our previous coverage highlights, by checking out the following links: