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- Kaffe4200 is responsible for this interview, conducted on March 4, 2013.
TWD Wiki: How did you get the job as animal wrangler on The Walking Dead?
We have done several projects with Tom Luse and he called us in part way through the first season.
TWD Wiki: What is the hardest thing about working with animals?
Well...that's a good question. My first response: "cleaning up the poo" but that's just a joke. More seriously, our biggest challenge is making sure the animals are comfortable on set. It can be difficult getting it across to them that a zombie isn't really trying to eat them...or, at the outset, that the giant light being shined at them, the camera on the crane snaking in at them or the big 40 x 40 silk flapping in the wind isn't out to get them either. Unfortunately, they don't read the script and pretty much everything is real to them so preparation is very important to us. We test all the animals before bringing them to set for unusual sensitivities and prepare them so they don't get scared and we don't hold up production. Once we acclimate them to the enviroment and they're comfortable it's like any other day for them.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) riding a horse into Atlanta.
TWD Wiki: You have thirty years of dog training experience, though there are not a lot of dogs on The Walking Dead. What animals do you work with then?
We have handled all the animals you've seen on TWD with the exception of the pilot. So far there have been rats, pigeons, an owl, a possum, horses, crows, dogs, cows, chickens and a copperhead. I can't remember anything else but we'll bring whatever they require.
TWD Wiki: From animal wrangler to the role of Richard Foster. How did that happen?
Production wanted a family dog for Woodbury so we volunteered to be the family. Starting in episode 303, you can see me, my wife Carol, (who is a stunt riding double for Sarah and Lauren in Season 2 and "ghost" Lori in Season 3) and our daughter Devon walking on the main street of Woodbury with a yellow lab named Marlow. Devon also opens the teaser of 305 with Marlow. Anyway, 309 didn't have any animals and someone had to die so I guess I was in the right place at the right time.
Greg's character Richard Foster being bitten by a walker (Greg Nicotero).
TWD Wiki: What was it like to die?
In a word, sticky! That blood is really sticky. When it dries it gets uncomfortable and they are continually wetting you down. Aside from that, the hardest thing for me in that scene was screaming in the middle of the street with people all around me. How often do you get to do that? I don't consider myself self-conscious but I didn't realize how difficult that would be before it was on me. I did it but that was a real challenge.
TWD Wiki: What is it like to work on the set of The Walking Dead?
The cast and crew on TWD are the best in the business. We work on many TV shows, commercials and feature films and, by far, our favorite is TWD. We're also big fans of the show and never miss an episode.
TWD Wiki: Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your time on set?
Well...in relation to the scene of my recent demise, one of the zombies that took me down was Greg Nicotero and he's a pretty good actor. When we first ran the scene I was surprised by how it felt like he was really biting me. In reality, he was pinching me REALLY hard. I gotta say that it helped with the whole screaming bit! It also left a wicked bruise.
While we've been on set with both actors many times and they are great to work with, we've spent more time with Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) and Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori Grimes). Also, Chandler was fun to work with on the epsiode with the rats on the skateboard.
Lauren Cohan (Maggie) and Steven Yeun (Glenn) riding horses.
TWD Wiki: Do you have a favorite character on the show?
I'd have to say that my favorite character is Daryl followed closely by Michonne.
TWD Wiki: Are you working on anything special at the moment?
We are working on new stuff all the time. Right now, we are working on the new Hugh Jackman movie Prisoners.
TWD Wiki: On behalf of the The Walking Dead Wiki, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.
|To read an interview with Lew Temple, the actor who portrayed Axel, click here.|
To read an interview with Vincent Ward, the actor who portrayed Oscar, click here.