Before I get to the interview (just a couple of questions, zombies are busy people, and I didn't want to impose), I want to thank Doree Ann for making this happen. Many people would keep a score like this to themselves, but Doree Anne put the call out to her friends and shared in this unique opportunity, so a big thank you to her. (One hug on account for you Doree Anne.)
And now, what you came for:
From William Sibley Hart - the walker who bit Hershel
So where does one look in the "Help Wanted" ads to find a job as a walker?
The funny thing is, you aren't really all that far off. I got my role through Facebook, of all things. I had worked with the casting company, about a year before, for the movie Hallpass, with Owen Wilson and Jason Sedukis. My first period class ended early, and I saw the rush call before my next period began. I literally pulled a picture from my Facebook and replied within seconds of seeing the post, not thinking anything of it. Literally as soon as the professor started his lecture, my phone buzzed with the conformation email. I was so stoked that I just showed the professor the email and told him I had to leave. I did not return for the next two weeks.
The make-up work on The Walking Dead is first rate. How long do you spend in the make-up chair?
I am asked this question all the time; it seems everyone really wants to know this one. You would be surprised at how fast those wizards can put their nasty creations together. If you are background, it basically gets spray painted on and with 95 zombies to do, would take ~30 min. For the "hero" zombies, they may take about an hour. If tooth casting has to get thrown in there, it becomes a bit longer. They have most of the hero pieces prepared, having cast them in foam latex, out in LA. All they have to do, in most cases, is spirit gum the overlay onto your face. The interesting thing is, it moves with your facial muscles. This makes eating as a herd of zombies, a really interesting event. We will sometimes get going on deep conversations, then pause and fall into spurts of laughter at the absurdity of this rotten corpse talking about the Dhali Lama, or whatever serious, unrelated, thing we are speaking of. Eating is something in and of itself, again, I assure you, they follow all facial movements, it's really creepy.
You have to get up close and personal when you are committing your zombie mayhem. Does it get uncomfortable?
For the scene I shot for the premiere of S3, I was slumped in the hallway, for 6 hours. The entire time I was mostly blind, as I had a light directed at my face and had contacts in. In the dusty prison set, I had to keep my eyes closed, any time I wasn't receiving direction. This presented its own set of problems, as I had a hell of a time seeing what Greg wanted me to do. I could tell it was him, simply because he was wearing distinctive patterns on his clothes and his voice is unmistakable. It wasn't until a PA happened to step in front of the light, that I could actually see the direction he had for me. What isn't really prevalent on the show is Norman (Daryl) grabbing me by my shirt, and bodily drag/tossing me out of the way. When he stepped up to me and asked if I minded if he tossed me out of the way, I simply said, "Just remember I'm lighter than you think and don't put me through the wall, we're good." Fortunately, he was very nice about it. By the end of the day, I came home and had to beg my lovely, supportive girlfriend for a massage. It all hurt for a few days, but that's what I expect every time I go out. I am a fan of the show, and an adrenaline junkie, who has found a way to satiate both in ways I could only dream prior. Sure, it may be a painful, frustrating, tiring, long day, but where else can you have a 12-gauge shotgun leveled at you, the trigger pulled, see the muzzle flash, and consciously toss yourself to the ground in a way that you think would be consistent with the angle of the shot fired? The moment of hitting the ground seems to take forever, everything slows down, and in this moment, I feel truly alive.
What is the funniest thing that has happened on the set?
During the filming of the S2 finale, there was a zombie that randomly would break into the Thriller. We'd be waiting for an angle or lighting change and out of nowhere there it was, Thriller. I always chuckled to myself; it made the cold weather a little bit warmer. Most of my really funny experiences come from the makeup guys, they are hilarious. You never really know what to expect stepping into the trailer. It can be very hard to sit still when you want to burst out laughing. I was very glad to be there they day they started back after winning their Emmy, they really deserve the recognition for the amazing work they all do. I feel honored to have been crafted into a disgusting goal by so many of them.
A HUGE thank you to William Sibley Hart for taking the time to answer a few questions. I hope to have the opportunity again some day.