“The Walking Dead” introduced a host of new faces throughout its fourth season on AMC.
There was Alanna Masterson’s Tara, a fist-bumping trainee cop, and Lawrence Gilliard Jr.’s Bob Stookey, a recovering alcoholic who Daryl and Glenn found on the road. Fans met Micheal Cudlitz’s Sgt. Abraham Ford, who alongside Christian Serratos’ Rosita, was working to get Josh McDermitt’s Dr. Eugene Porter to Washington, D.C., with the answer to the zombie apocalypse mess.
Over the season, AccessHollywood.com spoke to many of the newcomers, and when they weren’t recapping the biggest moments (and sharing teases about what was ahead), they were praising the group of actors they are now a part of, and counting themselves as some of the luckiest actors on TV.
Here are some of the stories they shared about being welcomed into the “TWD” family (as well as what some of the longtime cast members shared with Access about the camaraderie on set):
Alanna Masterson (Tara): “I’m probably the luckiest actor in the world going down there because I have never met a cast and a crew more inviting than the people on ‘The Walking Dead.’ I remember calling my mom on my first day saying, ‘All right mom, I’m going to work. Hopefully I don’t eat lunch alone,’ ‘cause that was just a joke when I was little. I used to say I would eat lunch alone all the time. I got there and all the actors were eating and I went and I sat down at a table by myself and they all got up and they were like, ‘Alanna, get over here! What are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘No, it’s OK, you guys.’ I’m like the new kid, I don’t want them to feel like they have to entertain me. I’m a very low-maintenance person. I’m like, ‘No, I’m OK.’ They’re like, ‘Get over here!’ and I went and sat down,” Alanna told Access.
“They all e-mailed me after they saw my [first] episode. They’re just wonderful and the showrunner… Scott Gimple and Gale Anne Hurd, who’s the producer and Denise [M. Huth], I mean, they’re all so amazing. That’s — I think — the reason the show has been as successful as it is, is because the work ethic and the professionalism, from the bottom to the top – from [production assistants] to your showrunner. Everyone is professional and kind and has manners and I couldn’t be more lucky. It’s crazy.”
Josh McDermitt (Dr. Eugene Porter): “It is the friendliest cast in television. I mean, I’ve been on several other shows where people are friendly and nice and it’s not like they don’t want you there, but you can see a marked difference when you come to ‘The Walking Dead.’ The first week we were there, Andrew Lincoln, because we shoot an hour south of Atlanta… Andrew [Lincoln] wasn’t working that week and he came down — drove down an hour, more than an hour — just to meet us and to have lunch with us and to just sit and talk and right there, that set the tone. I went, ‘This is special!’” Josh told Access. “And Steven Yeun was e-mailing me before I even got to set saying, ‘Hey, here’s my number. If you need anything, if you’ve got any questions, I’m here. Seriously, this isn’t just me being nice, like I mean it, call me if you need anything.’ And I was just like, ‘Wow!’ They just welcomed us with open arms and I mean, it’s so cliche to say, but it’s true — it’s a family. We’re all out there braving the elements together and I just wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else.”
Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon): “The best thing about our show is there’s no ego on our show. None of our actors have any sort of ego whatsoever. They really want you to do the best you can and we’ve become a really tight family down there. Like I can be in a scene with anyone on our show, any actor, and ask them, ‘Do you think I should try this? What do you think about this?’ And they’ll give me an honest answer… you know what I mean? And I think in a lot of jobs like this, it’s not always that way, but, you know, we really do love each other and we really do have each other’s backs,” Norman said when Access asked him about the cast friendliness. “But it’s funny too, when you get somebody on the show that’s – ‘Oh, it’s a big show!’ They come on all happy and then at the end of the day they have like cuts and bruises and it’s 120 degrees in the humidity and it’s interesting to watch, but we are a really tight family down there.”
Melissa McBride (Carol): “You’ve gotta welcome them. … I’ve got to hand it to these guys coming in, you know, they’re concerned about, ‘Am I gonna fit into the tone?’ Nobody wants to be some weak link or something, or some strange note in the tone of our show. I know that’s a concern for some of them and I’ve got to hand it to them — they are catching a moving train. They’re jumping on a moving train and they’re doing amazing work,” Melissa said when Access asked her about the cast welcoming the newcomers. “I think it’s not some conscious go-out-of-your-way-effort to welcome anyone, that’s really just the way it is. That’s who we are, that’s what we do. It does feel like a family.”
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Bob Stookey): “As far as the lunch, I got there and I noticed that there’s sort of a cast lunch table, so I just joined. I just walked over and joined,” Lawrence said when Access asked him about his experiences, referencing Alanna’s story. “And that’s how they are, that’s what they do. They kind of invite everyone… because they want it to feel like a family. That’s the kind of atmosphere that they build. They want it to be a trusting atmosphere… and it all really starts with Andrew Lincoln. He’s the head of the family and he’s always the first one there to welcome you in and ‘Welcome to the family,’ and that’s how he feels and you kind of just jump on that boat. You get behind it. He kind of raises your game. You get behind him and you’re like, ‘Yeah, let’s work. Let’s do this. Let’s be a team. All for one, one for all.’”
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 finale airs Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT on AMC.
-- Jolie Lash