Robert Kirkman Talks ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 2

Here’s more The Walking Dead goodness with a Robert Kirkman interview from Collider. Robert Kirkman is the creator/producer of The Walking Dead and talks about his writing process with Frank Darabont, how they break down the episodes, and why The Walking Dead is the best zombie movie/TV show. I haven’t read the comics, but I for one am excited about Season 2 and have enjoyed the first season.

Kirkman talks about his relationship with Frank Darabont.

Yeah, Frank [Darabont] is definitely the show runner and he is in the room everyday too. I’m an executive producer on the show, but I just consider myself to be one of the writers. I sit there with everybody else and I throw out ideas with them. I haven’t had to shoot anything down thankfully, but everybody in the room shoots things down. So it’s not like I’m sitting there going, “We can’t do that!” and everyone else is going, “Oh, what the hell. It’s Robert! Okay!” That just doesn’t happen. Everyone in the writer’s room is really well versed in the comics. They know what the show is and they know what the show needs to be. So it’s really like 8 people sitting in a room talking about the show and coming up with cool ideas for it. It’s really a lot of fun.

He describes how a season and episode is broken down.

We start with the season and then we work our way down. So we go, “This is what we want the season to be. This is where we want to start and this is where we want to end. This is where we want each character to start and end.” We then start breaking that down by episode. Where did all of these events take place and in what episode do they fall in? Then, we sit down and once we have done that we are like, “Okay. This episode is a little light. We need more for this and more for that.” We start beefing up each individual episode. Then, we go off and make the episodes. That is how the process is.

Kirkman gets inspiration from the actors, as the actors are adding more backstory to the characters they portray.

Yeah, it’s actually been a lot of fun. We went to KNB and did a tour of their facilities. We talked to Greg Nicotero and saw some of the cool stuff that he has planned for the second season and just different zombie stuff. We discussed with him all of the key zombie moments that we have thought of for the second season so far just to give him a head’s up on what kind of stuff he is going to have to do. I do have to say that maybe because it’s just 13 episodes instead of 6, but it seems like there is twice as much zombie stuff going on in every episode even though we do have a lot more character development and stuff too. I think the second season is going to be really cool. Aside from taking field trips to the KNB effects studio, we also have had the actors coming into the room. We have had Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Steven Yeun, Laurie Holden, and Norman Reedus. Every time an actor is in L.A., we have them pop by. We just sit down and discuss their character with them. We get their thoughts and insights on what they think about the character because apparently actors make up all kinds of stuff to help them act. They think about who their character is and it really is kind of remarkable. I mean, Andrew Lincoln came in and he had this entire back story for Rick with like who his parents were, what happened in his daily life, and just stuff that he came up with to inform his decisions on how he portrays Rick. It’s all actor’s stuff. It was really cool and I was blown away. I was like, “I’ve never even thought about who his parents were. I don’t even care.” But that is really cool, you know? So I’ll probably use that in the comic. It’s a fun process and I really enjoyed being in the room.

Kirkman on raising the bar with the zombie kills.

I can say, sitting here knowing what I know about the second season, that you can’t even see the bar because it’s been raised so much. There is all kinds of crazy stuff that is coming up. I’m really excited. I mean, you get 8 guys that like zombies that know they are doing a T.V. show like The Walking Dead, and they know that you can get away with the kind of things that we got away with on the first season. It really becomes just an effort to just find that thing that AMC is going to make us change. So we all sitting there going, “Oh, they are going to make us change that!” So there is a lot of cool stuff coming up.

Kirkman on AMC being cool with the violence and gore.

I worry that we are getting a little too like, “Oh, yeah. They will let us do anything” just because they have been so accommodating and seemingly breaking their own rules by allowing us to put this kind of stuff on T.V. It’s really kind of shocking, but I think it’s a testament to how successful the show has been that they have been willing go to that extra mile. They are allowing a zombie show to be a zombie show. They are not pulling punches at all, and I think that is a big part of its success. People who like zombie movies can sit down and watch this, and not feel like they are getting a light version of a zombie movie. We plan to stretch those boundaries to the test on the second season.

Kirkman on whether time constraints or budget prevented them from achieving a certain goal in The Walking Dead.

Not really. I mean, there are different ideas that Frank Darabont had for different episodes from the beginning of the first season. He has ideas for the third season. We talk about the third and fourth season a lot in the writer’s room, which haven’t been picked up by AMC, but we have high hopes. So there is a lot of long term planning. Anything that we couldn’t quite fit into the first season will just kind of happen in the third season. There was actually a scene shot for the 5th episode that I don’t know will ever be released in some way. It was a target practice scene where Andrea is shooting her gun. That actually got cut from the 5th episode just for time and it didn’t fit with the episode. That is just something that we will probably touch on in season two. It will be like that. We will just move stuff back.

Kirkman on why The Walking Dead is a good zombie story.

All zombie movies, books, and comics to a certain extent focus on the characters because you can’t really make a zombie a main character. I think what The Walking Dead does differently is that it takes that focus on the character and magnifies it by tenfold. There are issues of The Walking Dead that don’t even feature zombies and there are going to be episodes of The Walking Dead that will barely have any zombies, if any in them, eventually as we get through the seasons of the show. It’s really just about the characters. The zombies are much more of a backdrop than they seem to be in other things. I think it’s that intense focus on the characters, their struggles, and how they deal with the zombies. It’s not really about how often they hack a zombie’s head off. It’s about how they sad they are after they have to hack a zombie’s head off. That is really the key to it that I think we are doing.

Source: Collider

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