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- Axel TWD is responsible for this interview, conducted on February 13, 2013.
TWD Wiki: How did you get interested in horror and zombies in the first place?
I'm a twisted guy, I have always been a fan of the odd. That being said, I couldn't really pinpoint a when. Melissa McBride coming into the coffee shop I used to work at was the real kicker for the awesomeness of TWD, however. Many of the zombies had come into the store prior, so when she walks in wearing a dog tag that said "zombie 1" or something, I could safely assume she was with the production and opened conversation with that assumption (John Edwards uses the same tricks, it's called cold reading. Fun read). She was taken aback, until I explained a bit further. The funny thing is, she told me that I should find my way on, but it was too new for her to know who was casting, off hand. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Melissa, she is truly a delightful woman. Now this was back in season 1, quarry days. Honestly, I don't even know if it had aired at the time. I don't have cable and have consciously made the choice to not have it for many years, so was only able to start in when I saw it up on iTunes. As you might imagine I was instantly hooked.
TWD Wiki: How did you get a role on The Walking Dead?
Facebook, of all places. I was currently a student at GSU (taking the semester off to be able to go to conventions) and my first period teacher just wanted us to do a reading quiz, then leave. I now had an hour before my next class, so I decided to putz around. I don't know what it was about that morning that just lined it up so perfectly, but a rush call had literally just gone up, so I sent my photo, and contact information in and went into my class. About the time the professor started his lecture, I got the conformation email and I think I let out a loud yell. I grabbed my stuff, showed the professor the email and didn't come back for 2 weeks for the season 2 Finale.
TWD Wiki: Did you read the graphic novel prior to getting a role in the show? If so, do you have a favorite character?
I wasn't aware there was a graphic novel till I heard them discussed on set. I have now downloaded the app and read up to volume 7. How could Axel not be my favorite, it is really hard to pick a favorite character, especially being a fan of both the comic and the show. I really geek out to the differences in the characters, the psychology of the character, etc. Rick is really getting to me, Govey is kinda winning me over at this point.
William as the zombie that bit Hershel.
TWD Wiki: What is it like to work with the amazing special effects artist Greg Nicotero? Can you tell us about the makeup process?
Holy crap are these guys awesome. It is always so amazing to see them go to work and in minutes have an incredible transformation underway. If you are a background zombie, they airbrush the makeup on. There were 95 zombies for the s2 finale, it took only about 30 min to get through the makeup line. Sitting for prosthetics, of course, takes a lot longer. One of my zombies, a gnarly, drooling creating for the s2 finale (again) took about two hours, but only cause I apparently have an odd shape to my mouth and the dental tray didn't want to get a good set to pop in and out. For taking Hershel's leg I was only in the chair about an hour. They just glue the foam latex overlay onto the face, and airbrush paint. First step match it to skin tone, then paint away. I have seen these guys create some wicked effects using pantyhose (Hershel's tendon), they are incredible.
TWD Wiki: Did you know how big a role your zombie would play when you were first cast?
We never really know what our day is going to be like, which makes it that much more fun. That day I got lucky enough to get sent to the "hero" chair and when Greg came out looking for a zombie, I happened to be in the right spot and holding my mouth the right way. The next 6 hours I spent working very closely with the cast, as it was then. They are all incredible and it was truly an honor to work with them.
TWD Wiki: What was it like working with Scott Wilson (Hershel)?
Scott is a really cool guy. I actually met him, chasing him off his farm. Outside the car he was spinning around with his 12 gauge, acting like he was smashing a zombie, he did a turn my direction and from 10' away i just went with it. I hear him laugh and we chatted for a min, during the angle change. There was very little interaction during the scene with myself and Scott, it was a frenzy of direction, rehearsal and go, made uniquely difficult by the contacts. I couldn't really see to well, with them in, which made it difficult to get visual direction. If I wasn't being spoken to directly, I closed my eyes so the dust flying up everywhere didn't get all up in the contacts.
TWD Wiki: What other walkers besides the walker that bit Hershel have you portrayed?
I was all over the farm, many of us were there for all of the night shots taking over the farm. They were just very cautious of rotating everyone around to the best of their ability. We were out there all night every night, I didn't go to class for ~2 weeks. I am also a body on the lawn of the prison, right after they take it over. I was in the pit when Merle yanked the teeth of the zombie and may pop up again, in the second half of the season.
William signing a photograph.
TWD Wiki: Do you have any interesting or funny stories to tell that occurred in the process of filming the show?
For the S2 finale, there was a zombie that would just randomly bust into the Thriller dance. Didn't have to know where he was positioned, in-between take it was easy to figure out cause that section of zombies would be dancing randomly. What can I say, it was very cold and the movement warmed us up a bit. Really any time we all got together, in-between takes, silly shenanigans ensued. We had to keep our energy up and bloody pumping the entire time, to try and stay warm. Imagine seeing a herd of 95 zombies, all wrapped up in blankets or snuggies, trying to huddle together for warmth. I can only imagine what we looked like to the crew, but it was pretty ridiculous.
TWD Wiki: Are you currently working on any other projects?
I have been on Vampire Diaries a few times, as of late, for season 4. Episode 10 and episode 17 (to be aired march 21st). I have also been seen on a friend's production of Xmen Uncanny through Throbackstuioz YouTube channel to be linked. And am working with a dear friend to promote their project Zombie Socks. Plus I have various bookings for Horror Core bands, comic and horror conventions, etc. My lovely other half also has her own show idea she is working on, while also working on a novel. So much going on that some days I wish I had a time to come up to breathe. For any that would like to reach me, you can find me on twitter @whart31 as well as Tumbler, or at my Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/WilliamSibleyHart
TWD Wiki: Thank you again on behalf of the entire wiki! We appreciate it very much.
thanks for having me be part of the Wiki Axel, look forward to seeing more of your character in the coming half.
|To read an interview with Clair Canterbury, who portrayed the C-Section walker, click here.
To read an interview with Addy Miller, who portrayed the "Little Girl Walker", click here.