Yesterday, Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio featured six key players on The Walking Dead: Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, showrunner Scott Gimple, and comic creator Robert Kirkman. (Unfortunately, Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, and Melissa McBride were noticeably absent.) The group gave host James Lipton a remarkably detailed account of what goes into making the show, plus some surprising tidbits about their pasts. Here, 18 things we learned:
Lipton can’t pronounce Senoia.
This special edition of Inside the Actors Studio was recorded at Raleigh Studios Atlanta, home of The Walking Dead’s soundstages. As Lipton explained this to the audience watching at home, he mentioned they were in Senoia. Unfortunately, he, like many others before him, pronounced the “A.” Shame.
There is (or was, at one point) a real business called Dr Carl’s Hog Hospital.
It’s the name of a motorcycle shop that employed (and ultimately fired) Reedus before he became an actor.
Reedus earned his first acting role by being a belligerent drunk.
After being fired from said motorcycle shop, Reedus explained, “A friend took me to a party up in the Hollywood Hills where I drank a lot and yelled at a bunch of people, and somehow somebody asked me to be in a play that night.”
Despite her British accent, Cohan is actually from Philadelphia.
She lived in the U.S. until age 13, when she moved to England with her British mother. (Her father is American.) She claims her nationality as “100 percent fifty-fifty.”
Gurira and Yeun both have degrees in psychology.
Weirdly, Gurira didn’t know that Yeun studied psychology, too. She also has an MFA in theater from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Yeun has serious comedy cred.
Before joining the cast of TWD, he was a member of legendary improv troupe Second City in Chicago. Too bad he doesn’t get more comedic moments in the show.
Lipton can be charmingly self-deprecating.
“I’m in zombie makeup now for Christ’s sake,” scoffed a stone-faced Lipton after Gimple asked if walker master Greg Nicotero had ever offered to give him an undead makeover. “How dare you. I wasted five hours in a chair with him. Did nobody notice? My luck.”
Daryl originally wasn’t supposed to survive past episode four.
“What? Episode four, season one? Jesus, I only showed up on three. Come on, man!” Reedus jokingly lamented to Kirkman.
Cohan got a little too into character at first.
“It was my ultimate, ultimate fantasy to play a Southern role,” she said. “My Southern drawl was very strong when we first started, and Tom Luse, our producer on the ground here, said ‘You need to not hang out with the locals quite as much.’”
Glenn and Maggie’s wedding was apparently super exclusive.
“Secret ceremony. Small guest list,” was Yeun’s cryptic answer to a question about the offscreen nuptials. (Guess we’ll just have to use our imaginations for the rest of the lavish details—and hope that The Governor wasn’t one of the invitees.)
It’s just Michonne. Like Madonna.
The character doesn’t have a last name, Kirkman confirmed. “If you don’t give a character a last name, you don’t have to remember what that last name is,” he said.
Their favorite scenes are . . .
The actors were asked to pick a scene that best represented themselves and the show. Their answers:
Reedus: Rick and Daryl have a heart to heart
Yeun: Glenn watches helplessly as walkers devour Noah
Cohan: Maggie has a heartfelt conversation with Hershel
Gurira: Michonne takes down a group of walkers before decapitating her “pets”
Gurira was scared to watch the notoriously gory show.
“I’m a scaredy cat, so I’d never touched the show” she admitted, but once she watched the pilot, she was hooked. “It was so full of heart and character and rich story, that started to really trump the fear factor for me.”
And yet she’s awfully bloodthirsty for a self-described “scaredy cat.”
During Gurira’s favorite scene, many, many walkers met their demise. Originally the show budgeted for her to kill no more than 10. But Gurira wanted to go big, taking down at least twice as many walkers. When they filmed the scene, Nicotero never yelled “cut,” and she just. kept. going. (By our count, she slayed 21, including the “pets.”)
Kirkman knows how The Walking Dead will end.
But he’s not telling, so we won’t know for a long time. But here’s a clue.
Reedus’s favorite word is exactly what we expected from him.
It’s “fuck,” to approximately no one’s surprise. The others’ responses:
Cohan: Spruth (We think)
And you’ll never guess what his favorite curse word is.
If you guessed “fuck,” give yourself a pat on the back. What about everyone else?
Gimple: “The F-word”
Cohan: Honestly, we can’t tell what exactly she said. (But it sounded kinda like “shitting fuck.”)
We now know who Reedus’s celebrity crush is.
When answering Lipton’s favorite question, “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” Reedus responded, “Wow, I wasn’t expecting you! Come on back, there’s seven Rihannas waiting for you in the hot tub.” Compared to that, the others’ responses were downright angelic:
Gimple: Everything was all right for everyone; everything’s going to be all right for everyone
Kirkman: Would you like to go back?
Cohan: I’ve been with you the whole time.
Yeun: Good job.
Gurira: You did good. Now come rest.