There have been innumerable deaths in The Walking Dead over the years. While some deaths have been immensely satisfying (Gareth and the Governor), others, like Sophia's and Beth's have been heartbreaking. There are numerous articles and forum posts scattered on the internet about how these deaths affected viewers, but what we haven't heard much about was what the scenes were like for the people who acted them.
Luckily for us, six actors from the first three seasons of The Walking Dead spoke to Uproxx about what exactly it was like to die on the most ruthless series on TV. Check it out for yourself:
Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies)
Sarah Wayne Callies revealed that she only knew Lori was going to die, three episodes in advance! When the day came for her big scene the whole cast gathered for the moment, Lori, however, didn't really notice due to the fact she was basically stuck to the ground by all her fake blood:
“At one point when we were shooting the scene I was stuck to the ground because there was so much blood that it just kind of congealed and I couldn’t get up, and Guy [Ferland, episode director] just sat down next to me and kind of spooned me, and we sat there talking while they set up the shot. It was really, really lovely. And, of course, the entire cast stayed to watch that day and I didn’t know because I was literally stuck. But I finished the scene and finally came off of the stage, I went to the studio and there was the whole cast. It was beautiful, it was so moving, and such an extraordinary thing for them to do, to take time off on days off."
In addition to Lori's death scene, Sarah Wayne Callies was actually made up to look like a zombie for a deleted scene in which Rick imagines his dead wife as a walker. She described the makeup transformation as "fucking awful," because it felt so emotional to see her character become a zombie after trying to avoid the fate for so long. You can watch the disturbing deleted scene below:
Jim (Andrew Rothenberg)
Jim was a character who died way back in Season 1, after he was scratched by a walker and opted to be left to die under a tree, alone. Unlike most of the deaths seen on The Walking Dead, Jim probably had one of the least gorey ones, and actually we didn't see Jim breath his last breath, something which actor Andrew Rothenberg liked about his character, and even says might pay off for him in the future:
“They left a lot of characters open. A lot of them clearly died and you see that. And other people are left to die — I think it’s kind of great that they leave stuff open so you don’t really know exactly what happens. I like telling people that we didn’t actually see him die. For all we know he got better and maybe he’s got the cure in his blood and he’s going to show up later. That’s what I’m hoping.”
What do you reckon, would we ever see a healthy Jim walking around again, or perhaps even a walker Jim?
Randall (Michael Zegen)
Michael Zegen's character, Randall had an agonizing time to wait, before he was ultimate killed by Shane, and then killed again by Glenn when he zombified. You might recall Randall as the character who fell on a spiked fence post, after he and his friend shot at Glenn, Rick and Hershel after the three had a run in with Dave and Tony in a bar. Zegen described the scene when his leg was impaled on the post:
"It wasn’t the most comfortable position to be in in the first place. It was cold, it was raining and it was all night long, and they kind of screwed my leg into that fence. It was trick photography, sort of. It wasn’t that comfortable. I’m yelling, and I think I was also sick. I just wanted to get out of there, so I guess that was really my mentality...It was really just play time, it was so much fun more than anything."
But after Randall's death, Zegen doesn't have quite such fond memories, due to a piece of the walker costume causing him some issue:
"That’s probably my least-favorite part of the whole experience. I mean, it was amazing and I got to play a zombie, but it was the contact lenses. My eyes were just burning and I couldn’t even keep them open."
Sean (Keeder Whittle)
Even though Randall survived his initial injury with the spiked fence post, his friend, Sean (Keeder Whittle), wasn't so lucky. Following a shot to the stomach by Hershel, Sean was devoured by walkers. Despite his character's brief time in the show, it appears as though Whittle still made an impact on the cast and crew with his scene, saying:
"Here’s how I know it was a pretty good death scene — afterward everybody was quiet on set. It was like, shit, somebody just died [laughs]. It was nighttime, it was quiet, and then one of the EP’s came up to me and was like, ‘That was one of the best death scenes so far.’ If you gotta die, you might as well do it like he did it."
I guess when it's your big death-y moment, you gotta go big, or go home!
Big Tiny (Theodus Crane)
Big Tiny only appeared in a couple of episodes in Season 3 before he met his maker at the hands of fellow prisoner, Tomas. After Big Tiny was scratched by walkers, Rick and the gang knew his time was limited, though the man argued that he would be fine. Unfortunately for Big Tiny, Tomas made the decision on his own to kill the big man with a pickaxe to the brain, and several smashed with the weapon to the face. Theodus Crane describes watch actor Nick Gomez (Tomas) unrelenting attack on Big Tiny:
"I stood to the side. I was actually laughing the whole time. They were spraying fake blood. On every hit there was a spray of fake blood and it was just amusing to me because the dude wouldn’t let up."
Fortunately for Big Tiny, his death would soon be avenged...
Tomas (Nick Gomez)
The character Tomas had one of the most ruthless deaths on the show, being brutally killed by Rick, with a swift slash with a machete right in the center of his head. Nick Gomez describes the scary logistics of making the scene look at realistic as possible:
"They took measurements and they fit this sort of fake machete to my head and it had a tube of blood running down one side so they could squirt blood out of it. That took a little bit of time and I was really trusting of Andrew Lincoln because we did it in two takes. In the first take he has a real machete in his hand and he brings down the machete to the side of my head — and he brings that down with force — really close to my ear and we did that about five times. I’m looking at this dude that I just met and I’m like, I am trusting you with my life right now, please do a good job."
Despite his characters very definite demise on the show, the actor says he tried to bargain with the shows producers to come back in zombie form, though his request was politely declined. Even so, Nick says he's still waiting to appear in a dream sequence some time in the future.