With the much anticipated third season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” about to hit television screens, stars Jon Bernthal and Norman Reedus stopped by Fan Expo 2012 to talk about the new season, future projects and a love for microphones.
For the first half of the panel, it seemed like Jon Bernthal was going to be the only one answering questions as Norman Reedus was MIA. However, even with Reedus absent, the panel began as Bernthal took questions from the audience and kept them entertained.
“Viva la Canada, man!” Bernthal said, his first interaction with the capacity crowd setting the panel off with a raucous start. “The Walking Dead” die-hards were in full force dressed in their zombie costumes, holding their most precious memorabilia. Bernthal had them in the palm of his hand after that first statement, and he never looked back.
According to the actor, what first attracted him “The Walking Dead” was the strength of the pilot script. “I read it and it was the best pilot I had ever read,” he said. “Great script, I told my agent I would do anything to be an extra in this show. So much attention to detail, character and atmosphere. I turned down two other acting job because I hadn’t yet auditioned for ‘The Walking Dead.’ I wouldn’t suggest that, but I’m really glad I did it.”
When Bernthal read about his character Shane’s death in the comics, his reaction was simply, “Holy guacamole!”
Despite Shane’s death in the television series, Bernthal is still hopeful he could return to the show in the future. “I hope so, I would love that,” he said. “But different networks would have to agree to let that happen, and that doesn’t happen too often.”
Suddenly, a guest speaker in the back of the room interrupted Bernthal. “Excuse me, I heard a rumour that it was Daryl’s baby,” he said. It was Reedus, dressed in a baggy sweatshirt (that Bernthal claimed was his) and sunglasses. The crowd erupted with applause for Reedus as he brought a new charisma and oddness to the panel.
Reedus, at times, seemed completely lost from the panel, as he took the microphone and started making music with it and taking it apart, having a blast the entire time. “We have lost him to a microphone,” Bernthal said when Reedus was asked a question and didn’t respond.
Reedus’ hilarity brightened up the panel, especially when the actor was asked about certain acting techniques that he would suggest for young actors. “I don’t know anything about acting technique,” he said. “I got drunk at a party and started yelling at people, that’s how I got started as an actor. ”
Reedus got serious for a moment when discussing the acting of Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on the show. “Some of the best acting in season three is coming from this kid, he’s amazing,” Reedus said. “He’s one of my favourite characters right now. He’s always been great but he’s stepped it up even more this season.”
Bernthal was asked at one point in the panel what it was like to act like a zombie near the end of season two. “I totally forgot how to be a zombie. The zombies all go to zombie school,” as the audience laughed, Bernthal reassured them he wasn’t joking. “No seriously, they do. They learn how to get bit and shit.”
If there was an actual zombie apocalypse in the real world, what would the two actors miss the most? Reedus’ answer was simple. “South Park.” Bernthal was speechless at that response, while the crowd erupted with laughter.
Bernthal talked about what he sees as the main themes of the show. “I don’t want to sound like a nerd here, but I think the main theme of the show is loneliness,” Bernthal said. “Every character is from a certain degree of loneliness. With Shane, he’s right there with the people he loves the most, but he just can’t be with them the way he wants to be. Yeah, this shit really got to me.”
Every point when Bernthal started to get too serious, he accused himself of sounding like a “pretentious douche.” It couldn’t be farther from the truth, as his attitude, as well as Reedus’, was endearing for the hundreds of panel-goers.
Though there wasn’t much information released at this panel about the future of “The Walking Dead,” the hour long session was entertaining, provided many laughs and brought the audience closer to the actors.
The crowd was evidently in love with zombies, and Bernthal didn’t seem to understand the love affair. “I don’t like zombies man. They don’t scare me, they just make me mad.”
Whether or not the zombies make you angry or scared, there’s no doubt the anticipation for “The Walking Dead” is at a fever pitch right now. Fans from young to old to extremely young wait with excitement for the premiere in October. Two of the youngest members of the audience were two young girls who had gifts for Reedus. One was a squirrel button (in reference to season one), and the other was a picture of a young girl’s birthday cake, with his face on it and a little note. “This year, I had your face on my birthday cake, and you were delicious.”
That could have been a reference to a zombie, or it might have just been another example of how popular these characters are and the success of the show over two seasons. Fans anxiously await the return of the hit AMC series on October 14.