Check after the jump for the full account and an after shot of Ian in full makeup.
“Hmmm, let’s see, well I played some guitar, did some catching up on my reading and oh yeah, I GOT TO BE A FUCKING ZOMBIE ON WALKING DEAD.
OK so here’s the scoop…
My agent got the call asking if I wanted to come down and get made up to play a zombie in a webisode for AMC’s Walking Dead directed by Greg Nicotero (effects GOD, check out the resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0630524/
). I couldn’t say yes to this fast enough. Like I said in my Tweet, I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life. Zombies have always been my favorite genre of horror and to participate in something as killer as Walking Dead would just be amazing.
Truly my Make A Wish moment!
I got to the set and headed straight for the makeup trailer. I was told I was getting the full-on zombie “hero” makeup. That means I get the sick head/neck wounds done with silicone appliques. Garrett Immel was doing my makeup, he’s one of the top dudes doing this on the planet. He explained how there are the main “hero” zombies, then the second tier background zombies which are more just makeup and blood and then there are the third tier background zombies with just makeup and if it’s a night shoot, they wear masks that read well on camera. Makes sense, they couldn’t spend 90 minutes each on 500 people every time there was a zombie crowd scene.
Garrett told me he had my picture for a week so he already knew what he wanted to do to me. I told him to not hold back, make it as brutal as he wants. The whole process was pretty painless, even sitting for 90 minutes was cool because they were putting zombie makeup on me. I would’ve sat for 5 hours, I was so stoked. I’ll post a wide range of pics showing the process from start to finish.
The only weird part was putting in the contacts. I’ve never had contacts in ever, I can barely put drops in my eyes. The lens specialist put me right at ease and directed me each step of the way, “look up, look left, blink” etc and they were in and it was like looking through the eyes of the dead. Well, it was kind of cloudy anyway.
Next was making sure I could convincingly walk like a corpse. I just did what felt natural, started with a broken ankle which would cause me to lean, let my arm swing like dead weight, head forward, blackened teeth (Black Tooth!) gnashing. I showed my walk to zombie pro Joe (didn’t get his last name) and he approved. He said I looked dead! No walking notes.
No zombie faux pas (typical rookie mistake would be arms up like Frankenstein). I guess I am just genetically wired to play the undead. My scene was next and Greg gave me my mark and told me what was going to happen. Basically, the lead is coming out of the house with two kids running into the street and they pass right by me. I turn and track them and then shamble off after them. We got to do the take about six times and after each one I was cheering out loud. I wish we could’ve done it 100 times. I was so focused on one of the little kid actors, staring at him and thinking “I am going to eat your fucking head off you little fucker.” I think the kid could feel my malevolence towards him because he kept looking at me nervously and hiding behind his “mom.” Sorry kid, I was into my role!
After I was done (wrapped as they say in the movie biz) Greg told me I did great. That meant a lot considering the movies he’s been a part of, Evil Dead 2 Army Of Darkness, Day Of The Dead, and of course Walking Dead. The man is the best at what he does and I’m just glad I didn’t fuck up his shot.
I kept the makeup on after the shoot and headed home. I got some great looks from people in other cars. I wanted to keep the makeup on all week!
I got home and fed my 8 week old son. His reaction was basically, “yeah, whatever, feed me ugly.”
I followed Garrett’s instructions on how to take the makeup off by getting in a hot shower and scrubbing with some towels until finally an hour later I was dezombified. It was an amazing day and I can only hope I get to do it again and next time get to eat people!!!”