Andrew Lincoln is stabbing the head of a zombie over and over again. The man is showing no mercy whatsoever. The odd thing is, Lincoln has no knife. Instead, he is slicing the air with an imaginary blade. Uh-oh, has Rick Grimes gone off the reservation again? Have his delusions returned? No — in fact there is a method to his madness. Lincoln is using this rehearsal time on The Walking Dead’s Atlanta prison set to hone the tricky maneuver of dropping his real machete and then stabbing with an imaginary one that will be digitally added later for maximum visual terror.
After dealing with the physical prep — which includes having lots of blood sprayed and smeared all over his body — Lincoln must prepare mentally for a scene that will find Rick and son Carl navigating through a minefield of the undead. ”I need to go get emotional,” says Lincoln, traversing a sea of 61 zombie extras, crew members carrying zombie dummies on their backs, and costars like Norman Reedus (who is busy handing out Rolos) to find a spot all his own.
Lincoln puts in his earbuds and cues up some heavy metal. He immediately drops to his knees, sways back and forth, and then doubles over, pounding the concrete with his right fist. Whatever is happening here at the prison in season 4 of The Walking Dead, it is definitely not good. The survivors will have to deal with a dramatic increase in the number of attacking flesh-eaters, but also a mysterious new threat that will strike them unexpectedly. ”Mother Nature herself is actually closing in on these people,” teases exec producer Robert Kirkman. Here’s what else you can expect:
Rick Grimes, Andrew Lincoln
When the action picks up in season 4 several months later, a council will be making all the important decisions for the newly expanded group at the prison, but former leader Rick will not be a part of it. So what is Rick up to? ”He’s farming!” says Lincoln. ”He’s decided to renounce the brutality of the world for the sake of his son and infant daughter. It’s almost like he’s a guy who’s suppressing a side of himself in order to bring up his children as best as he can.” Adds Chandler Riggs, who plays Rick’s son, Carl, ”His dad wants him to be a kid now. So he gives it a fair try.”
The Governor, David Morrissey
No character devolved last season more than the Governor, who began as a charismatic town hero but by the end was gunning down his own people just for the heck of it. While producers will not reveal when or how he will return, Morrissey says not to expect a kinder, gentler creature. ”He isn’t the man he was at the start of season 3. He’s the man at the end of season 3, so I’ve got to be true to that man. It’s the man he’s become.”