Walking with The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Promo

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 5th March 2013.

To celebrate the return of post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Walking Dead to Australian pay TV, series star Norman Reedus made a promotional trip in January to our shores. Besides a sold out Q & A session after a screening in Sydney as part of the ever popular Popcorn Taxi events (which I couldn’t attend), he also shot a live action promo for FX, the home of The Walking Dead.

To help populate the commercial, FX took to social media inviting fans to volunteer as extras by sending in a headshot. My dashing good looks must have served me well (or perhaps my resemblance to a rotting zombie), because I received an invitation to the shoot which took place in a studio in Alexandria on the Australia Day public holiday.

To be transformed into a zombie is every fanboy’s dream, however, it seemed that my wish wouldn’t be coming true this time around. Firstly, I was well aware that the actors portraying the reanimated dead for the actual show attend zombie school. Secondly, we were asked to bring along travelling clothes and a suitcase for the shoot which was to take place in an “airport” setting.

Upon arrival on set, my predictions were confirmed. The studio was set up as an arrivals terminal, complete with metal detectors and baggage scanners. There was little activity in the makeup room. Alas, this promo for The Walking Dead would be minus any walking dead.

I had done a little extra work when I was a teen. The novelty of being on a film set wore off pretty quickly and there was a lot of waiting around. I can report that not much has changed in the twenty years or more since I roamed the halls of Summer Bay High. It was, however, pretty fun to chat to other The Walking Dead fans and eat as much junk food as possible from the craft services table.

Pretty soon I was put to work walking through the airport set, wheelie bag dragging behind me, until they called for a cut. We’d then wander back to our “first positions” and do it all again. And again. And again.

Things became more interesting with the arrival of our guest star. Reedus plays fan favourite character Daryl Dixon, a Southern redneck with a penchant for killing zombies with his signature crossbow. Reedus is also known for co-starring in The Boondock Saints, a cult action flick infamous for its troubled production under first time director Troy Duffy.

The good news is that Reedus was a gentleman. Softly spoken, he was keen to interact with the fans between takes, joking (I hope) that he had very little idea about the storyline of the commercial. Although we weren’t allowed individual photos with him, we all had a group shot with the guest star and on my way out after the recording concluded he shook my hand at the door. I also took home a signed poster and a pretty awesome zombie t-shirt for my troubles.

I did get into a little trouble for posting a sneaky photo of Reedus on twitter during the shoot. I thought that was somewhat ironic considering that FX acquired their extras for free via social media. I took down my post and reposted it after I received my goodie bag. Heh heh.

The promo premiered in February and I am proud to say that you can see me (well, at least three quarters of my face) about 18 seconds into the commercial. Apply for my autograph care of the Central Western Daily.

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Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 19:09  Leave a Comment  
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