10 things you might find surprising about The Walking Dead

2017-09-28 14:24
 

Senoia — For seven seasons, AMC's The Walking Dead has explored a world where the dead roam the earth while the living seek safety — almost more from other humans than from the zombies trying to tear into their flesh.

There are characters whose faith is tested but find their grit and fierceness. There are those who are kissups and latch themselves onto leaders, their will to survive stronger than their pride. Then there are those who seize a newfound power to terrorise and bully. Through it all, it's often difficult to discern the difference between who's good and who's evil, something that evolves and can change from moment to moment.

And now, as the show approaches its 100th episode — the kick-off to Season 8 that launches on 22 October in the US — the characters are on the verge of war.

Watch the trailer here:

Here are 10 things you might find surprising about the show:

1. A massive location

Raleigh Studios in Senoia, where most of The Walking Dead is filmed, is a 140-acre spread that is used exclusively by the show. Most of the different communities are all created and filmed on the property except for The Kingdom, which is filmed at the former Fort McPherson military base in Atlanta, where Tyler Perry has studio space. Another community — The Oceanside — spent some time filming on Tybee Island, on the coast of Georgia.

2. A real-life neighbourhood

The fictional town of Alexandria, a gated community supposedly set outside of Washington, D.C., is a real neighbourhood in Senoia. Just four families live there, while the rest of the homes are vacant and used as mini sets where some of the characters live. The real-life residents have signed non-disclosure agreements and have restrictions on when they can come and go and when they can have visitors so it's not disruptive to filming.


3. Becoming a zombie

The actors who play zombies on the show use conditioner and KY Jelly to give their hair an unwashed, disheveled appearance.

4. Our Grateful Dead

The production meeting room is a small theatre with a conference table at the front. The room's walls are lined with photos of each of the actors whose characters have died. "Our Grateful Dead" now occupies two walls. Whenever one of the characters dies, the actors — whether they're in the scene or not — make a point of watching it, paying tribute to yet another fallen comrade.

5. Creating the heaps

The Heaps — a giant mountain of trash ruled over by Polly Macintosh's character Jadis — took three weeks to create. None of the cars that are embedded into the mound are newer than 2010, the year the world "died."


6. Hallowed ground

The location where Gabriel's church stood is now an empty dirt and wooded lot and served as the same set where the final episode of Season 6 filmed Glenn and Abraham's demise. It is, says Executive Producer Tom Luse, considered "pretty much hallowed ground."

7. Kid-friendly toys coming soon

The show's props crew is creating a line of kid-friendly toys for a show noted for its violence and gruesomeness.

8. The F-word

The actors often produce a version of some scenes in which they make liberal use of the F-word. The cleaned up version is aired on TV, while the other version is used for DVD versions that aren't as hamstrung by restrictions on foul language.

9. A bromance

Actor Norman Reedus is so close with Greg Nicotero, a special effects master as well as the show's producer and sometime director, that they are able to finish each other's sentences. The two also send each other songs to explain the emotion they want to bring to a scene.

Before Daryl and Beth, two characters, burned down an old shack, Reedus sent Nicotero Very Nervous and Love by J Mascis. Ahead of Daryl having to stab his brother Merle, who had turned into a zombie, Nicotero sent a Willie Nelson song. Nicotero and Reedus even opened a restaurant in Senoia together: Nic & Normans, with the logo including an artist's brush and an arrow.

10. College bound

Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, the son of sheriff Rick Grimes, is an Atlanta native and has grown up on the set. He's now headed to college: The University of Georgia.

(Photos: AP/Getty Images)

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