AMC's hit drama, The Walking Dead, is based on the long-running comic series by Robert Kirkman, and it would make sense for the show's cast to go to Kirkman for some advice regarding their characters. But the thing is, Kirkman himself has admitted that he tends to forget a thing or two about the characters that he created for his version of the zombie apocalypse.
In fact, he admits to outright lying about the characters when the actors consult with him, and he's not ashamed of doing so.
Robert Kirkman Says He Lies To 'The Walking Dead' Actors About Their Characters
During his guest appearance at Late Night with Seth Meyers, Kirkman was asked how it felt when actors ask him in-depth questions regarding the characters he wrote for his zombie-apocalypse story. It was here that Kirkman confessed to not knowing everything there is to know about his creations, saying that the actors actually have a better understanding of the likes of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) than he does:
“I’ve written this comic book for 170 issues, so you would think I know every character, I know the ins and outs of every character — I don’t. And when you’re an actor, you get cast as a character, you want to read their back story, you want to know every little thing about them, and they actually know all of these characters way better than I ever could."
Since Kirkman has been writing The Walking Dead ever since its first issue, it makes sense for someone to assume that he has the best comprehension of the story's countless characters — living and dead — and their backstories and motivations. As it turns out, the inverse is true, and Kirkman even admitted to forgetting certain things and events he conceived in previous issues:
"So they’ll come up to me on set and they’ll say, ‘Hey, so, I know the comics and the show are different, but I was reading issue 39 and on page 14 I say this thing, what did you mean when you had my character say that?’ And I just make stuff up. ‘Cause I never remember the scene they were talking about. ‘Oh, you know, you were really worried about this other character.’ Because you don’t want them to know that you’ve forgotten, seems rude.”
Kirkman laughably pales in comparison to Game of Thrones mastermind George R. R. Martin and Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling, both of whom have extensive knowledge about every character they brought to life through their written words. Where Rowling regularly reveals previously unknown tidbits about her characters (including their religions and sexual orientations), Martin knew what made Jon Snow (Kit Harington) tick even before HBO turned his fantasy epic into a ground-breaking show:
"I was living with these characters and this world for 16 years before we even started working on the show. They’re pretty fixed in my mind and I’m not going to change anything because of the show, or reaction to the show, or what fans think. I’m just still writing the story that I set out to write in the early 1990s."
Given that The Walking Dead is an ongoing comic book that has a narrative that #AMC chose to slightly deviate from, Kirkman's spotty recollection of either story's events and smaller details is understandable. This, however, has resulted in a hilarious confession from the creative mind behind of one of the most popular television shows currently airing today. When Meyers jokingly confronted Kirkman for lying, the author retorted by saying that there's nothing better than lying: "It's the best, just the best."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.
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