When you think of actor Michael Traynor, who played Nicholas on The Walking Dead, what do you think about? Chances are, if you're a fan of the show, what you think isn't very nice. After all, what character on the show can say they were responsible for not only the death of one beloved character, but also almost responsible for the death of another, even more beloved character, as well?
I had the pleasure of attending the Tulsa Walker Stalker Con this month, and the even greater pleasure of being able to speak a little with #MichaelTraynor. He is no Nicholas, by the way. In real life, the guy is a funny, down to earth dude. And I promise, if you have this lingering grudge against him for what Nicholas did, you'll forget about it the moment Traynor starts to speak. While I ended the interview asking him about his now-infamous dumpster scene, we started it off by talking about a little slasher film he starred in by the name of Smiley back in 2012. It was a movie I never knew he was in, and I'm willing to bet not many of you did, either.
It's understandable. Traynor plays the titular character, but he's a little unrecognizable. The plot is fairly simple: You type "I did it for the lulz" three times in some online chatroom, and the psychotic Smiley shows up and kills whomever you typed it to. Who's Smiley, exactly? He's supposed to be just an internet myth about a guy who stitched his eyes shut and carved a big, gruesome smile out of his mouth. But when people start dying because of the lulz, it's apparent he might be a bit more than a myth.
While the mask itself must have ben a nightmare to wear, Traynor really loved the design of it and the fear it evoked, from how he described it:
It's one of, I think, the more iconic and haunting mask designs. It's terrifying, because the way it so brilliantly subverts the idea of the smiley face, this little emblem of pure happiness that people send kind of innocuously, everywhere. It's like no, how can we, you know, pervert that in some grotesque imagery and blood? And I think Michael Gallagher, the director of the film, did an excellent job of perverting the emojis.
Kind of makes you think of The Emoji Movie in a different light, doesn't it?
Naturally, when the conversation drifted to #TheWalkingDead, Michael and I both agreed that a Smiley-themed walker would be a nice addition to the show. It might be a bit challenging, but if any makeup artist extraordinaire could pull it off, Greg Nicotero would be that man. I mean, just look at Winslow here.
Our survivors (sans Nicholas) return again this October for Season 8 of The Walking Dead.