ByMeghann Elisa, writer at
'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'
Meghann Elisa

We know our favorite characters from The Walking Dead so well that it's hard to imagine the actors playing anyone else, but everybody has to start somewhere. It seems some were born ready for success, while others had to climb from a little lower on the ladder...

See for yourself in the clips below, which show the cast we know and love in some of their earliest acting roles.

1. Andrew Lincoln — Rick Grimes

Andrew appeared in his first feature film Boston Kickout back in 1995 when he was just 22. Fresh out of drama school, he walked straight into a starring role as cheeky Ted in the British drama, which won several awards at international film festivals. See the trailer here:

2. Melissa McBride — Carol Peletier

I bet you'll hardly recognize McBride in her first TV movie Her Deadly Rival, from 1995. Where did all that hair go?! See her moments here:

3. Jon Bernthal — Shane Walsh

Jon was 26 when he appeared in his first film Mary/Mary, which was a hit at all of the film festivals when it was released in 2002. Although relatively few people are familiar with the film, Bernthal's starring role as Manny was the perfect launching pad for his rich and varied acting career. Check out a clip from the movie below:

4. Norman Reedus — Daryl Dixon

1997 was a busy year for Reedus, in which the freshman actor starred in no less than three films. One of those films was crime-comedy Six Ways To Sunday, in which he played mummy's boy Harry to on-screen mom, Blondie singer Debbie Harry. See the trailer here:

His real big break, of course, came in 1999 when he played Murphy MacManus in cult classic The Boondock Saints. Check him out in one the funniest scenes from the movie below:

5. Lennie James — Morgan Jones

Sometime-writer James made brief appearances in British TV favorites such as A Touch Of Frost and Cold Feet before acting in the big feature film production Les Misérables alongside Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. Watch the trailer for the film adaptation here:

6. Michael Rooker — Merle Dixon

Rooker starred in his first film back in 1986 at the age of 31. Following its premier at the Chicago Film Festival, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer attracted both controversy and positive critical attention due to its disturbing nature. It was four years before the movie was finally picked up and even then it only received a limited release in US theaters. The film was shot in less than a month with a budget of just $110,000, yet it still earned Michael two awards for Best Actor. See one of the most unsettling scenes below:

7. Lauren Cohan — Maggie Greene

One of Cohan's earliest jobs was in the rather embarrassingly unsuccessful Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj, which was a sequel to the 2002 comedy starring Kal Penn. See her rather steamy scene from the movie here:

Her real breakthrough came with her roles as Bela Talbot in Supernatural and, a little later, as Rose in The Vampire Diaries.

8. Danai Gurira — Michonne

Gurira's first movie role was in the critically acclaimed 2007 American drama The Visitor. Her performance as Zainab even won her an award for Best Supporting Actress at the Method Fest Independent Film Festival. See the trailer for the film here:

Who did you know before watching 'The Walking Dead'?


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