Valdosta Daily Times

State News

November 11, 2013

Lincoln: ‘Walking Dead’ battle scenes were ‘epic’

ATLANTA — One of Andrew Lincoln’s favorite moments from “Walking Dead” came during his first season on the show.

Here was the British actor, on the same streets where Confederate soldiers clashed with Union forces in the Civil War, shooting his way through a foreboding urban landscape now overrun by murderous zombies known as “walkers.”

“It was one of the greatest weekends of my career, you know,” he said as his eyes lit up.

“We shut down four blocks of downtown Atlanta, and I get to ride into the city on a horse,” he said during a recent interview, at a hotel near where the scenes were filmed in the city’s historic Fairlie-Poplar district. “It was epic.”

Lincoln, 40, discussed the show and his career just after participating in a panel discussion at the inaugural Walker Stalker Convention that was inspired by the AMC show.

“There are certain roles that you jump up and down when you get the gig,” he said, and playing Georgia sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes was most certainly one of them.

“I don’t think I would have been cast in Europe as Rick Grimes, I just don’t,” said Lincoln, who has done comedy and romantic roles in his native England, where he played law school grad Egg in the BBC series “This Life.”

“I read the script, and I’d never read anything quite like it,” he recalled during the panel discussion. “I get to wear boots and ride a horse and shoot people for a living? Count me in!”’

It also comes at a time when several networks are investing heavily in dramas.

“This feels like there’s a golden age of storytelling going on in TV at the moment,” Lincoln said.

The economics of the television industry have allowed several networks to develop original dramas, said Jeffrey P. Jones, a faculty member at the University of Georgia and director of the Peabody Awards, which recognize excellence in electronic media.

“They are producing complex storytelling that is really wonderful narratives that people want to watch,” Jones said. “It does seem like a golden age because you’re getting not just four networks producing quality programming but lots and lots of networks.”

Last month, “The Walking Dead” began its fourth season with its biggest audience ever. More than 16 million people watched the season’s opening episode, which aired Oct. 13, Nielsen reported.

The show is filmed in and around the small town of Senoia, about 35 miles south of Atlanta. The show’s story line also is set in Georgia, which meant that Lincoln had to learn how to sound Southern. When he got the part, he traveled to Georgia before other cast members to work with dialect coach Jessica Drake.

“She’s amazing, she writes it phonetically, and it looks like gibberish,” he said, adding that he would also ask Georgians to say certain phrases so that he would know what they sound like.

This season, Lincoln said his character will develop a new way of slaying zombies that doesn’t involve guns or knives, though he won’t divulge details. He also said he’s come to admire Chandler Riggs, the young actor who plays the sheriff’s son Carl on the show.

“Now it’s time for me to learn from him,” Lincoln said. “He’s a serious actor, this kid.”

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