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TV: “The Walking Dead” Producer On Zombies Climbing Ladders, Worried Fans May Hate Carl

In the speaking with the Los Angeles Times, “The Walking Dead”‘s executive producer Glen Mazzara takes us behind-the-scenes of AMC’s hit show where he reveals some of the major discussions the writing team debated. One of the funniest concerns a zombie and a ladder (sounds like the blonde and lightbulb joke). “I wrote a scene in which a zombie climbed a ladder and everybody told me I was an idiot because zombies can’t do that,” said Mazzara joking a bit in response, “I was, like, if I wrote it down it happens. And they’re, like, no, no, no. So we cut that.

More interestingly, they had a debate about Carl (played by Chandler Riggs). They didn’t want the viewers to end up hating him: “We had a debate about the young boy, Carl. And everyone wants to know why Carl’s not in the house. Well, it’s boring to sit in a house. And he’s a little boy and he wants to mix it up and stuff. And he’s walking through the woods and finds a zombie trapped in the mud and he starts doing what any Huck Finn would do and starts throwing rocks at the monster. And then later that is the same zombie that pulls itself free and kills Dale. And the writers were very nervous about that, you know? It feels earned, but it’s a risk. Because Dale is a beloved character and if this other character is involved and responsible for that death, is the audience going to now hate Carl? But I thought the story was worth the chance.

Something good to come out of the interview was this little gem. Mazzara explains that killing a major character (spoilers) is important to the impact of the show. This is true, and needs to happen more often: “We had two big deaths. We had, you know, Shane played by Jon Bernthal. And that was in Robert Kirkman’s comic book. … We were having a lot of discussions about, well, this group is on this farm and is the farm dangerous? And we need people to be killed by zombies. We need to have a mean character because otherwise it’s gonna feel like … you’ve got these scary zombies but nobody’s getting killed by them. They can kill each other, but you need some zombie action there. So we decided to kill Jeff DeMunn’s character, Dale.

Lastly, I enjoyed reading Mazzara’s perspective on what the show is about. Here’s what he had to say: “On our show, this family has stuck together. It’s sort of a makeshift family where after this social crisis, you can imagine your family and neighbors and people you meet in your town being stuck together and trying to figure out how to survive, and who do you trust. And maybe you can’t stand this person but you’re stuck with them ’cause that’s who’s around. So it’s about forming a family and how that family drives you crazy, but yet that’s really what you have to lean on to survive.” Sounds like they took some inspirations from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

“The Walking Dead” season 3 begins this fall on AMC.



  • Joe-Banger

    Sounds more like the entire concept of this show and and the comic book was stolen I mean inspired by George A. Romero’s Night of the living dead. He should get writing credit and royalties from AMC.

  • TwistedCritic

    I hated Carl way before that part. And him slipping out without his parents (usually his mom) knowing just got comical after about the 5th time.

  • djblack1313

    TwistedCritic, i agree, although i don’t really feel Carl was to blame for what happened to Dale. if it wasn’t that one particular zombie who did it, it would have been a different one. i feel bad for Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) because thanx to the writers, Carl’s constant slipping out really has people hating her. lol. the thing about this article that is disconcerting is that Glenn Mazzara didn’t think a zombie having the motor skills to climb a ladder was an iffy idea. not a huge deal but it makes it sound like he doesn’t really understand old school style of zombies.

  • crow454

    Not even close to being similar to Romero other than its zombies with moments of Siege & Survival. None of these concepts are new nor created by Romero. NOTLD was very similar to Howard Hawkes’ western seige flick Rio Bravo, and there were zombie movies prior to NOTLD.
    Carl has been annoying since ep 1, and Dale was a whiny bitch…I think they intentionally made his character more and more unlikable as they approached his death to make it easier to swallow.
    Lucky I just finished catching up and finishing watching season 2 two weeks ago otherwise I’d have been pretty pissed off with this irresponsible spoiler ridden piece that came with no warning.

  • Joe-Banger

    Good point, but how many “zombie movies before NOTLD” had flesh eating zombies? White Zombie was the first zombie film probably ever and the undead in that film were slaves of voodoo magic and they did not eat people.

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