The zombie apocalypse isn’t just for Atlanta, you know. There are zombies everywhere and people affected by them all over. In AMC’s upcoming summer premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. Actors Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriquez, Lorenzo James Henrie, Ruben Blades and Mercedes Mason join executive producer and showrunner Dave Erickson, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero” target=”_blank”>Fear the Walking Dead, we’ll get to see new people fight for their lives amid a world going to hell, right from the beginning.
Actors Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriquez, Lorenzo James Henrie, Ruben Blades and Mercedes Mason joined executive producer and showrunner Dave Erickson, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero on stage at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H to discuss all the ins and outs with moderator Chris Hardwick!
This particular apocalypse is in Los Angeles, oh fun. The premiere date is Sunday August 23rd at 9:00pm. A special Talking Dead following the finale on October 4th.
Give it up for Dave Erickson’s first Comic-Con panel!
Kirkman wanted to have a spinoff series set in another major apocalypse. It’s the characters slowly understanding what the world is. Essentially looking at a period of time when Rick Grimes was in his coma. It’s not the same show at all, tonally very different.
Erickson: “It’s the shark you don’t see. We don’t get to a full apocalypse until the end of the season. Start as a family drama and filter the apocalypse through that.
Los Angeles. Dickens and Curtis are together. Teachers, lots of kids out sick. “Nature always wins.” Walkers coming. The hazmat unit and cops don’t know what to do. Footage of the first walkers not staying dead when shot. Hide out in a storefront while all hell breaks loose outside. “When civilization ends, it ends fast.”
Dickens (whom Chris gushed about because of Deadwood) was unsure about joining the horror genre, but her character as Madison was so good she couldn’t resist. It’s been really exhausting but also the most fun she’s ever had.
Curtis plays Travis. He’s an optimist, he likes to fix things, he’s in love with Madison. Got an ex-wife in Rodriguez’s character. He’s completely unprepared for this type of crisis.
Dillane’s character Nick is the son of Madison. He doesn’t know what he can say. Erickson chimes in that Nick’s the eldest son of Madison and he’s in something of a dilemma at the beginning after the death of his father. He’s one of the first ones who gets a sense of what’s going on, so he’s sort of the prophet of the apocalypse.
Alpert and Nicotero talk about how this show doesn’t have any obvious heroes, none of them are particularly suited to the outbreak. It’s about how normal people are forced to change to fit the situation, and nobody can figure it out.
Erickson: “Some people are readier faster than others.” Hurd: “Different people would react in different ways. Most would think it would just pass and the media are blowing it out of proportion.
On the process of the walkers in this series, being newer, Nicotero said it’s more like people who just look sickly. You might cross the street, but wouldn’t necessarily think it’d be time to shoot them in the head. You still see a little humanity, a little light in their eyes.
The teenagers are going to have a hard time adapting, says Debnam-Carey. “You’ve got two ways to go – it could destroy you or it will govern you.” Her character Alicia is Madison’s daughter, and she’s apparently going to some daaaaark places.
Gale Anne Hurd has a zombie preparedness kit with three years of food and water.
Elizabeth Rodriguez acknowledges the fans of Orange is the New Black. She plays Liza, Travis’ ex wife. She’s had to put her life on hold and now is burning the candle at both ends. And her character wasn’t supposed to be Latina “and that’s really important. I’m just playing a woman.” She’s also sad she’s not gonna be able to walk around New York anymore.
Blades is playing Daniel Salizar. “The first motivation for an actor to work is unemployment. But I felt good about taking this role because he’s a complex character.” He’s a barber who opens his own shop after having left his own country, to get away from a past that the apocalypse will make him have to revisit.
Mason plays Ofelia Salizar, daughter of Daniel, an American-born child of immigrant parents
AUDIENCE Q&A TIME!
Are the actors similar to the characters they’re playing? Rodriguez: I’m a lot like my character; I’m nurturing and mothering.
Guess what, Fear the Walking Dead is different from Orange is the New Black. Rodriguez talked about how the prison world has rules, and the zombie world had none.
Will the casts ever meet? Sorry folks, there’s no plans currently, but Cliff Curtis definitely wants Travis to meet Rick Grimes.
The cast of Fear WILL meet the cast of Doctor Who.
Hurd doesn’t think the authorities would help ANY OF US if the zombie outbreak actually happened. But, as Hardwick points out (pun intended) that we HAVE to live with the illusion of safety. We apparently only have three days of food. Great.
What about female badassedness at the beginning? Definitely! Erickson says things will be turned on their head from traditional gender roles.
LA is not much of unified city. How will the culture and class structure affect the story? The show takes place mostly in East Los Angeles. Because it’s so spread out, it’s actually isolated in a way. Burbank is different from Brentwood.
Will Chris ever be on either of the Walking Dead shows? He thinks it’d take people out of the show. Maybe it’ll be a Scooby-Doo moment – “Chris Hardwick?!” He’s such a fan and doesn’t want to get in the way of the show.
Ruben Blades would better survive a zombie apocalypse over the Predator (he was in Predator 2). His band is also hoping he dies soon on the show because he tries to do only one thing at a time.
International premiere in over 100 countries at the exact same time on August 23rd at 8:00pm.
Thanks for reading my Fear the Walking Dead Hall H panel live blog! Keep it on Nerdist.com for all your SDCC needs!