With six seasons and over 80 episodes under his belt, it's hard to imagine anyone but Andrew Lincoln playing Rick Grimes in AMC's The Walking Dead. As one of the show's protagonists and most popular characters, we've all come to know and love Lincoln's on-screen portrayal of the comic book character.
However, one of the men who helped bring The Walking Dead to our weekly Sunday night programming initially had another actor in mind. Frank Darabont, who developed the show and acted as executive producer for the first season, has been quick to admit that he had mentally cast someone else to play everyone's favorite walker-killing former Sheriff.
In a video by L.A. Times Hero Complex of a Q&A for a screening of The Mist in 2013, Darabont admitted that he had initially campaigned for Thomas Jane to take on the role of Rick Grimes.
Jane, who starred in Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist in 2007, had been working on HBO's Hung at the time and was unable to work on both networks' shows. As we now know, the role went to Andrew Lincoln instead. While pointing at Jane to his left, Darabont spoke briefly about his time on The Walking Dead, saying:
"I do know one thing: I wanted this a**hole to be the star of The Walking Dead. I thought Tom would be awesome for that."
To which Jane jokingly responded:
“I’d still have a job, too."
Even though Darabont didn't get his first choice of actor, it all ended well for Rick Grimes and The Walking Dead. He goes on to note that as soon as he saw Andrew Lincoln read for the role his concerns were immediately alleviated.
Tom was the natural choice for me. And when he became unavailable I went 'Oh I'm doomed. I'm screwed. I'll never find anybody who's good for this part.' And of course Andy Lincoln came in and read for it and he's, you know, brilliant and perfect and I love and adore him. So [gesturing to Thomas Jane] that's just the alternate universe that didn't happen."
While I think Thomas Jane would have made a great Rick Grimes, there's no substitute for Andrew Lincoln in my mind.
The Walking Dead season six will return to AMC on February 14, 2016.
(Source: L.A. Times Hero Complex)