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AMC's "The Walking Dead"


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Frank Darabont and Greg Nicotero are in Atlanta... painting the town red. Literally. Earlier this week, we were privileged enough to visit the set of AMC's upcoming series "The Walking Dead". On an absolutely sweltering Summer day (in other words, feel really bad for the extras in layers of zombie makeup), we witnessed Darabont directing some key scenes for the pilot episode, set to air on AMC this October.

AMC was also gracious enough to set aside some quality time for us with Darabont, Nicotero, producer Gale Ann Hurd, Robert Kirkman (writer of the original comic series), and actor Jon Bernthal (who portrays Shane Walsh in the show). We were also privvy to some sensitive story elements and lots of official photos that have yet to be released by AMC.

While we cannot shed complete light a lot of this for some time, we can at least share the following meaty morsels for you to chew on:

- Don't let the fact that it's on network (cable) television lead you to believe it will be toned down. This show will be bloody. Very bloody. As in... Greg Nicotero and his team are running around the set with blood literally dripping down their arms at all times bloody. Part of what attracted Darabont & Gale Ann Hurd to the deal with AMC was their promise to let them make "The Walking Dead" properly, and that means lots of suitable undead carnage. A full-time Standards and Practices rep is on set at all times, and he has already ok'd many shots that would make most viewers of R-Rated horror flicks cringe. So fear not, gore fans. Nicotero & company are bringing you the goods.

- While genre fans will no doubt be delighted with the show, this is ultimately a Frank Darabont project. That means the emphasis will be on characters and story, which is a big reason why AMC is a perfect match for it. With shows like "Breaking Bad" they have already proven that they can deliver envelop-pushing, cutting edge television that is ultimately character-driven. We believe the Frank Darabont/AMC partnership will prove to be a creative marriage made in zombie Heaven.

- There will be a total of six (6) one hour episodes in Season 1. AMC is already dedicated to this amount. Darabont has written the first 2 episodes, and is directing the Pilot himself. From there, he will oversee all facets of the show as an Executive Producer. And he may indeed return to the director's chair again in future seasons. He does seem to be enjoying himself immensely on this show.

- Fans of the comic will be glad to hear that Robert Kirkman himself has penned the teleplay for Episode 4.

- Should "The Walking Dead" extend beyond an initial season (and all indications is that this is very likely) future seasons will be 13 episodes each.

- While we've already established that the show will be focused on its characters, that's not to say you shouldn't expect some of stuff that is required for a genre production of this pedigree. The overall tone of the show will be very moody and creepy, and you can expect not only many instances of zombie attacks, but also sequences of an epic-scale, such one that required more than 150 extras in full zombie makeup. Also, zombie purists should be thrilled to note: no fast zombies. These are very much inspired by the original Romero Dead, though they may be more grisly (and some would say more realistic) in appearance.

- AMC plans a big presence for "The Walking Dead" at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, including a discussion panel with Darabont, Kirkman, Nicotero and more of the cast & crew. They will also be bringing some footage with them to share with attendees. So pencil that into your SDCC plans now.

We will have a lot to share with you between now and the show's October premiere, including interviews, and more. But for now enjoy these tidbits and the promise that somewhere in Atlanta some amazingly talented folks are hard at work on what can very well turn out to be a special piece of television history.

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Edited by Hatchetinator
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Not familiar with the comic, but it sounds great. AMC is really a great network, and I'm excited that they're green-lighting more original series. Breaking Bad is the best show on television.

I keep hearing that, but haven't given it a chance, they advertise the goofy bald headed dude as some bad azz and it was hard for me to take it serious. I'll go back and check it out though.

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I keep hearing that, but haven't given it a chance, they advertise the goofy bald headed dude as some bad azz and it was hard for me to take it serious. I'll go back and check it out though.

Give it a chance, it's the best written show on television. I've never been a person to have a "show," but I'm hooked on BB.

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