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Saturday, June 2, 2012

PhoenixComicon 2012- John Bernthal Panel

I Smell Sheep is bringing you all the fun from PhoenixComicon 2012 and today is no slacker! Actor John Bernthal, who played the bad guy you loved to hate, sat down to take on some Q&A from the lively Walking Dead fans.

Before John had a chance to even begin those questions and answers the announcer mentioned that during a previous fan panel called 'The Talking Walking Dead' it was decided that Rick should have killed his wife Lori and kept Shane. John's reaction and the exuberant audience will take it away from here...

John: So what do I think Rick should have done?
[Audience yell out] Kill Andrea! Keep the bromance!
John: *laughing* Keep the bromance huh? Yeah...You know I think that he did what he had to do. I think that there is a lot of discussion and arguments back and forth and myself and Andy on one side and the writers on the other about how The Walking Dead season should end for Shane. We did sort of verge off the comic a little bit, it was open a little bit for interpration. I really think that Rick brought Shane out into the woods to take this final step.

There was an alternate that I pitched that we almost got but we didn't get it. Which if you want to hear it I will tell you. [Audience cheers] I am going to get in trouble for this but I'm off the show now so...

The idea that we pitched was, everything was still the same, that when Shane talked to Lori by the windmill and she tells him 'thank you' that was everything Shane wanted to hear. But he still knows he has to kill the prisoner Randall, but he has to kill him to keep Lori and Carl and his unborn baby safe. Same thing happens they go looking in the woods. They stop and Rick says "why did you stop" then Shane says "I killed the prisoner". They draw guns and Shane says, "I'm right here, let's fight for Lori. I'm the father." All that kind of stuff. As in the show Rick takes his gun and says, "I'm not going to fight you." Now here is the first change. Instead of holding his gun out he tosses it away and says "Hey look you're going to have to shoot an unarmed man". So this makes Shane go crazy. Shane approaches Rick and says, "You've got a broken woman and a weak boy," and adds something disgusting like, "I know what your wife tastes like".
[audience laugh]
He's really pushing Rick to get him to do it. But now the same thing happens except Rick goes for the gun to shoot Shane and the gun's not loaded. The gun just goes: click, click, click.
[Audience whoo and ahh]
Then out of nowhere Carl blasts him. See Shane never had it in him to kill Rick. He did all that because he knew he was already so far gone and becoming a cancer for the group. But what's cool is that I'm glad they did what they did. I really believe that Shane didn't have it in him. I don't think you pull a gun on Rick unless you're ready to use it.

Question: How was it working with the zombies?
John: I really hate zombies. [Audience laughs] I'll be honest with you, I don't want you to think I'm some douchey method actor but I spent so long running from them and trying to kill them that I just sort of ended up really hating them. I love the people who played the zombies, great actors who worked really hard. The show would not be what it is without Greg Nicotero's team and the staff that made the zombies and the performers that play them. So I love those guys but I hate zombies.

Question: How did you like playing the badass?
John: You know man, it's cool. He's a great character and an honor to play him. I wanted desperately to play that part. I'm a relatively new actor and it was the first year that I turned down other shows that I got because I had an audition for The Walking Dead which is a pretty stupid risk as an actor. I would not suggest that if you're going into the field. But I had to tell my agent that I had to try for this show because I had never read anything like it. It was an honor to play him. It was the honor of my career so far to play Shane.

Question: Did you read the comic books?
John: Well, like I said I wanted desperately to be in the show I had not read the comic books. The I fought and fought to get that far like 6 auditions then I finally got. They gave me the comic book and I went home and cracked that sucker open and said "OH MY GOD!" I had time to eat one sandwich and by the time the sandwich was done he was dead. [Audience laugh] So I was glad they decided to keep him around longer.

Commenter: For the Walking Talking Dead they did last night they decided to keep Lori around as a breeder.
[Audience laughs uncontrollably]
John: *laughing* As a Breeder?!

Question: When you were on the show who was your favorite person to work with?
John: Wow. So many. Shoot. That's a great question, I really love them all in different ways. Andy Lincoln is like my partner, I love that guy so much. He's as good a guy as he is an actor. Norman's my man. I love them all. Jeff Dumunn, him, and I are shooting L.A. Noir right now and it's pretty cool being in a scene with him and all of a sudden I'm like, "What's up Dale?" and he'll say, "Shut up Shane". [Audience laugh] I love working with him too. We really got lucky with this one, everyone is really game.

I remember our first day I was working with Norman Reedus and he showed up and we had to wrestle that day. I hadn't meet him yet and I was like, "Hey man I'm going to really grab you." And he said, "Grab away." He was just game as hell and said if we are going to fight let's fight. There's no stunt guys on our show you're either that type of actor or you're not.

Question: Who is your favorite character on The Walking Dead?
John: Beside Shane? You gotta love Daryl right?
[Audience cheer. Person transcribing this makes cat calls very, very loudly.]
I really wish that Shane had that possibility of a friendship with Daryl explored more.
[Someone in audience yells] What about Lori?
John: What about Lori? I love her. But I love her in a different way.
[Audience laugh]

Question: Who do you think is the father of Lori's baby?
John: Shane. *fist pumps*
[Loud laughter]

Photographed by: Scott Daniel


  1. Oh, wow! That is all sorts of awesome! Thank you for sharing! ^_^

  2. Awesome interview, even though I have never seen this show or read the books. Zombies are not my thing.