Tag Archives: AMC

‘Walking Dead’s’ Sarah Wayne Callies: Why Andrew Lincoln is SO Good

Jon Bernthal, Andrew Lincoln,  Sarah Wayne Callies AMC photo

“Walking Dead” leading lady Sarah Wayne Callies doesn’t want to talk about creator Frank Darabont’s unhappy departure from the hit AMC show.  “To be honest, I feel it’s family business and I’m not prepared to discuss it.  It shattered my heart in a thousand pieces when he left,” says the actress, who plays survivor Lori Grimes.

However, she has no problem going on at length about the actors who play the primary men in Lori’s life, her husband, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), and his best friend Shane, (Jon Bernthal).  “We surprise each other, scare each other, feel danger, feel unexpected emotion.  You think you know what a scene is about, and then you get with them and, oh God, you could go in directions you never expected,” gushes Callies.

Asked for an example, she recalls her first scene with Lincoln — the reunion of the couple they portray after their long time apart, during which the apocalypse occurred and she thought he was dead.  “We hadn’t acted together before, and it was a very intimate scene.  I say, ‘When you were in the hospital, I never thought I’d see you again,’ and he silences me.  In one take, he put tabs on my mouth and in one look at his best friend and his wife — he knows.  You could see it in his eyes: he knows, and he doesn’t want her to talk about it.  In another take, he’s oblivious.  In another, he’s angry.  This is the joy of acting — to have someone come in who you can never be 100 per cent sure what they’re going to do.”  As much as she’s pleased by the series’ record-breaking numbers and fan appreciation, “no question about it, my favorite part is the part betwen ‘Action,’ and ‘Cut.'”

‘The Walking Dead’s’ Jon Bernthal: ‘Nothing is Going to Stop Us’

Jon Bernthal AMC photo

Sounds as if AMC’s “The Walking Dead” cast is feeling certain parallels to the plucky band of surviving humans they portray in their critically-admired, massive hit show — that’s been plagued with problems during production of its second season.

“It’s been hard.  It’s been a tough season,” admits Jon Bernthal, who plays Shane Walsh in the series adaptation of the popular comic book series.  Part-way into shooting of this new season, creator and driving force Frank Darabont parted company with the series in a not-happy way, with conflicting reports as to whether he quit or was fired.  “Losing Frank was a huge blow to all of us.  The cast — we love Frank, one of the finest writer-filmmakers of today.  It was a huge blow, creatively and personally,” Bernthal says.  “I’m unbelievably saddened by that.”

But there’s more.  “We’ve had a bunch of serious injuries on the set.  There’ve been accidents,” he reports.  He also notes, “People have lost family members this year.  There’s been so much people have had to deal with. 

“But between ‘Action’ and ‘Cut,’ everything has been great.  We haven’t stopped believing in each other, haven’t stopped believing in what we’re doing.  Nothing is going to stop us.  Nothing is going to let us down.  We love the show and love each other,” he goes on.  “We agreed we’re all going to make it the best it can possibly be.”

Bernthal stresses that Darabont mapped out the Season 2 stories and “he hired everyone in that writers room.  He believed in them.  The tone may change a little bit, but the fans will not be disappointed this year.”  He adds, “I think the real danger is when people get caught up in the crap in the trade papers and start to whine and give excuses.  We didn’t do that.  We don’t read the trade papers.  I don’t think we even processed it.  We didn’t slow down, not for one second.”

But Bernthal (a classically-trained actor whose eclectic background includes playing pro basketball in Europe and studying at The School of Moscow Art Theatre) did get away from Georgia location for a different reason.  “When my son was about to be born, I was able to get on a plane and shoot right back there from the set.  Andy Lincoln took on the responsibilities of the day — and did five scenes he didn’t know beforehand that he was going to have to do.  And Sarah Wayne Callies — she took care of my dogs for six days while I was gone.  Nobody even had to ask.  No matter what pops, we’re there for each other.  You hear actors say these things about the people on their sets being a family.  This one really is.” 

With former No. 2 man Glen Mazzara now serving as show runner, the team has only three more episodes to shoot.  “We’ll wrap up just before Thanksgiving,” Bernthal says.

Before ‘The Killing,’ Billy Campbell Was Ready to Disappear

Billy Campbell AMC photo

            AMC’s “The Killing” series has earned untold legions of ardent fans since its launch this month, much to the enjoyment of Billy Campbell.  He was aware the show was getting good buzz ahead of its  premiere, but the former “Once and Again” star admits, “By this point in my career, I try not to get too excited.”  The series, the adaptation of a hit drama from Denmark, has to do with just one murder case, that of a young girl, as details and clues emerge from the perspectives of the cops working the case, the girl’s parents, the suspects, and a local politician — Campbell’s character.

            Of course he’s not going to tell how his character is connected to the case.

            But Campbell can say, “The genesis of my involvement is actually pretty funny.  I auditioned for this thing ages before anything happened.  I went on tape for the casting director and I didn’t get a good reception.  They went right on by me and kept looking for their Darren Richmond.  It was disappointing.  The show was going to shoot in Vancouver, where I wanted to stay.”

            But Campbell brushed off his dismay and turned back to the other great love of his life — sailing.  He made the commitment to join the crew of the tall ship Picton Castle and circumnavigate the globe, something he’s actually done before.  “I was a hair away from disappearing for 14 months.  I was going to give up my apartment in Vancouver, when my agent called and said, ‘Remember that thing you really wanted that you didn’t get?  The director was on your flight the other day.  You got the job, and I’ve arranged for you to have dinner with her tonight.'”

            It turned out that director Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) was on a plane with Campbell from L.A. to Vancouver.  She watched him while aboard and decided he’d be perfect to play the character, called her “The Killing” team and said, “‘I think you guys are crazy.  I think this is the guy.’ …I had no idea she was on the plane,” Campbell says.   Jenkins turned out to be “this backpacking chick I saw at the airport.  She and her husband — I was looking at them with envy,” Campbell recalls, because they looked like they were headed off on an adventure. 

            Which is where Campbell will be, once he wraps shooting of the first season of “The Killing.”  (Yes, there could be a second season, he says.)  “I did the pilot, then went and joined the Picton Castle on their current circumnavigation for five months in the South Pacific.  When we’re done here, I’ll rejoin them for the last couple of months of their present voyage.”

            He notes, “There was always a part of me pining away to get to the open sea, but I spent a lot of years wasting my life away in Los Angeles.”  When his friend and one-time cast mate Stephen Lang got him started reading the Patrick O’Brien Master and Commander novels, Campbell says, “it peaked my appetite and I realized, ‘Wow, if I don’t start doing some of the things I want to do now, I might never do them.'”  He started off spending “a few years on a ship in Norway, then the captain of that vessel told me about the Picton Castle” — and he took his first sail around the world. 

            Now, “I have this wonderful job, with people in front of and behind the camera that I really enjoy, doing it in the city of my dreams, and every day getting do to well-written, juicy scenes.  I’m really soaking it all up.  The toughest part is being away from my ship.”