CREECH QUESTIONS WITH LEW TEMPLE:
CJ: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Third Episode of Creech Questions. We are going away from the norm with our video interviews, and doing a phone interview with it being transcribed for our audience. I have with me, one of the attendees of Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, Lew Temple. Lew, thank you again for agreeing to do the Interview for me.
Lew: Of course, Of course. It’s always good to go out, you know, and you guys at Walker Stalker are everywhere! Everywhere you would want to be. Amazing, right?
CJ: Oh yeah, definitely. They are definitely expanding with each con.
Lew: Yeah, I see that. (Pauses) Yeah, Im guessing the one in Atlanta is next up, am I right about that?
CJ: Yes sir.
Lew: Yeah, you’ve got the big one in Atlanta, which of course is the home of the show, and I would think that’s kind of special. Isn’t that the OG, isn’t that the original location of Walker Staker Con?
CJ: That is! The one in Atlanta last November was the first one.
Lew: Yeah, that was great. I had such a good time, and it’s not only great for the fans, but it’s great for all of us, as we get to get together like a reunion, in the hometown so to speak. It’s kind of a double drill for everybody: We like being there, and they like having us. I think I saw where Andrew is coming back, is that right?
CJ: Yes sir, they just announced him last night.
Lew: That is fantastic! That’s really great! That’s huge, so there will be a lot of fantastic guests.
CJ: There will be! Including you, I believe there are currently 50 other guests.
Lew: Yeah, that’s incredible! I’m looking at the website, and I’m seeing Michael Rooker. I don’t know if Michael has done this before. Has he done a Walker Stalker before? Did he do the one in Boston most recently? I can’t remember.
CJ: I don’t think he did. I believe Atlanta is going to be his first appearance at Walker Stalker Con. Second for Jon Bernthal.
Lew: Yeah, look at that, those are two headliners! Also David Morrisey, has he been out at Walker Stalker Cons previously?
CJ: Not previously. Atlanta will actually be his first Walker Stalker Con appearance.
Lew: That’s amazing, and Mr. Gareth, Andrew West will be out which is pretty cool because he’s making a big splash, and will continue to do so. So that’s exciting, has he been out before with yall?
CJ: No sir, this is going to be his first appearance as well.
Lew: Wow, so look at that. You’ve got some fresh blood in the water, and I think that’s always great. I see Denise Crosby’s out there, who plays Mary, and I think she’s super cool also. So, yeah, you’re not missing anybody. That’s fantastic! You’ve got everybody in place. Also, some of the “Vampire Diaries” folk, who are Local. I mean, you have Ian Somerhalder there; It’s pretty great. That could help fill in the void for the fan girls, that the possible absence of Norman Reedus may leave (Note: Norman Reedus has not been confirmed as going or not going yet), let’s put it that way.
CJ: Yeah, “Vampire Diaries” is a pretty big show too.
Lew: I know it is. It’s Huge. Of course, they also do that in Atlanta, so we all share transport. We drive around to each other’s set. One time I was there, and I hopped into a pass van (laughs) and it was to “Drop Dead Divas”. I said ,”No, I’m not doing that, I’m not going on that show. I will do ‘The Walking Dead’”. One time in New Mexico, I hopped in a pass van outside of the hotel and it was to “Breaking Bad” and I said “Yeah!”, I was there to do the “Lone Ranger”, and I said “Yeah man, take me to ‘Breaking Bad’. I’ll do that show.”
CJ: (laughs) Oh yeah.
Lew: So anyway, all fine, looking forward to Atlanta. You know, the weather will be less heated, I suppose. Gosh, everyone is going to be there. That’s fantastic.
CJ: Definitely, I’ve been looking at it, and even compared to other cons, this is the biggest assembly that I’ve seen of current and former cast members of “The Walking Dead”.
Lew: Yeah, I see that. It’s just incredible. The list included, you know, pretty much anyone you’d want to see. I’m not sure who’s not there, you know, other than Norman but it’s great. It’s really great. There’s Greg Nicotero, who’s gonna be there. That’s just fantastic. Congratulations, and it shows how comfortable everyone is with the offer to attend the con where they are like “Yeah, I’ll go”. If I can make it, I’ll go. That’s my kind of thing, and I don’t think anyone has said flat out, “I don’t want to do it”, so it speaks well of the organization of The Walker Stalkers. Are they working on a One Year Anniversary Walker Stalker Show?
CJ: I know with the podcast, I believe they are working on Episode number 100 now.
Lew :Oh my Gosh, that’s incredible. Well Done! That’s something to be proud of.
CJ: Definitely, they’ve been working hard and it’s great to see all the success that they’ve been generating.
Lew: Yeah, It’s a great podcast. Great Event, great Hotel, great venue, the organization is fantastic. Atlanta is a great city. I’m a Braves fan, so I’ll be rooting for them. I don’t know where they will be at that point in October. They’ve got a fight on their hands to win their division, but that would be well into play off time. At that point in the juncture, we’d be into the National League Championship Series, which I hope the Braves are playing for. They didn’t bode too well on their most recent West Coast trips, so boo!
Lew: Is it just hot and humid? I’ve seen that yall had a little rain lately?
CJ: There has been a little rain. There’s been some seemingly never ending stretches of a lot of rain recently.
Lew: Yeah, I think that’s partly partial due to the Hurricane season. I’m supposed to go to, I don’t know, Mississippi? (Laughs) It’s only Hurricane central! Gulf Port, Mississippi. I don’t know why I’d do that, but I go do a film there next week. I might take a powder, maybe that would better suit my filmmaking ability.
Lew: It’s beautiful here in Sunny Southern California, Los Angeles. Nice Blue Skies, 83 Degrees. Low to No Humidity. That’s your weather forecast for today.
CJ: The No Humidity sounds amazing though.
Lew: Yeah, it’s good. We don’t suffer from over perspiration. We do alright otherwise.
CJ: Alright, I do have some questions for you.
Lew: Oh Please, yeah man, don’t let me fill all your time.
CJ: It is no worries. You are my only interview, so the time is no worry at all.
Lew: I will do my best to give you competent and capable answers, but if there’s something I stumble on, we’ll make it up.
CJ: Alright, the first question is what has been your favorite role to date?
Lew: Favorite role of my career? Well, I think that’s a difficult question to answer, as at the time you do any role, the idea is you signed up to do it because you adore it and want to bring that particular character to life. Just off the top, I think my favorite roles are twofold. So let’s call them favorite television role, which would be Axel from “The Walking Dead”. I adored the opportunity to bring Axel to life. He was so gregarious and colloquial, and he wore his heart on his sleeve and he had a bit of an arc that got cut short. I think there was a lot of history that was unresolved or unsolved with him so I sort of enjoyed the long road with him that didn’t end well, or as long, as we hoped.
Film wise, I loved Ned Oldham from “Unstoppable”, because he got to be kind of a hero that was not your blue print type of hero. He found himself in the mix, which was an everyday guy who just has to react to the situation. I think that’s what great heroes do, is they find themselves in unforeseen situations and they find it within themselves to react appropriately. So, I loved that idea that Ned got to be a hero. In some ways, Axel did too because he did take a bullet that ultimately may have saved Carol’s life. In fact, he took several bullets that probably saved her life, and to be laying there in that heat from the Governor and his cronies throwing lead all over the Prison Yard, it seemed like every bullet that was fired found a way to get Axel and not many others, So I do think Axel was a bit heroic in his death, to save Carol. Which was not unlike T-Dog, who also saved Carol thankfully. Carol’s been such a great character in the show, she’s had so many mixed emotions through the seasons. So that’s my long form answer, which would be Ned Oldham from “Unstoppable” and Axel from “The Walking Dead”.
CJ: Awesome, Awesome. So you’ve done a couple of movies with Rob Zombie-
Lew: Yeah, I would be remiss not to mention Adam Banjo, who again had to pull his pants on and take his dress off, while being held in his hotel room at gun point. With his wife being held hostage, to take a 2 by 4 and fight for his life against Otis. Which Ultimately he lost, but he went down gallantly in trying to save his friend Roy. There are elements that are reoccurring that I like where the guy who, against all odds or against his nature, has to rise above who he may naturally be. Adam Banjo in “The Devil’s Rejects” was a really fun character and so delightful. Bless Rob, I thank Rob always that he allowed me to kind of run with that kind of character, and build that kind of arc. It wasn’t necessarily in the script that Adam was going to be such a bravado and kind of, when the proverbial “shit hits the fan” and he loses his lunch, he ultimately decides to take everything into his own hands and come back. So, I apologize for interrupting you, Rob Zombie of Course.
CJ: No, that’s Great. It’s certainly interesting to hear. Especially about Adam Banjo getting a bigger part in the process of making the film.
Lew: Yeah, we just sort of interestingly built to find a little more hero, you know, and what’s great about this movie and what’s great about Rob Zombie and the work he does, is that as we were rooting for Adam Banjo and Roy Sullivan, and rooting against Otis. Somewhere in the movie, we start rooting for Otis, and we start rooting for them against Sheriff Wydell, which I think is really interesting, you know?
CJ: Oh yeah, definitely.
Lew: I’m proud of all those traits and character arcs that we able to bring forth from the work that we did.
CJ: Definitely. Even though they were supporting characters, I think your performances in that and “Halloween” left some of the biggest impressions on the film itself.
Lew: Well that’s very kind of you to say, thank you. I give Rob Zombie a lot of Credit. He does write these scripts. What he’s excellent at is character development. Each of these characters tend to have what we call an arc, and they have a life that observers are able to get behind and follow these lives of these characters, and they become so rich and inspired that we connect with them, which is what we able to do with people like Adam Banjo and Nole Kluggs in “Halloween”. Nole, on the other hand was not a hero.
Nole was a blah personality from a very abusive childhood that probably had a Napoleonic syndrome that was trying to control the big guy in Michael Myers. He really just tried to get him to become a part of his ugly world in the form of ultimately this rape scene. Of course, that costs him. That was in Rob’s version. The Director’s Cut version was released cinematically in theaters, as the Weinstein felt was a little harsh, and was something they really didn’t want to represent, which I understand. But he (Nole)still did mess with the masks, which represents everything Michael Myers.
So that’s a good lesson learned: Don’t pull on Superman’s cape, or mess with Michael Myers mask or you will meet your untimely death. Those are the things that are great. All the characters in these kinds of movies have- by these kinds I mean Rob Zombie’s movies, they have rich lives. I adored “The Devil’s Rejects-All the players buying chickens from the guy that sells chickens. I adored Big Joe Grizzly in “Halloween” in the Rest stop/Truck Stop in the bathroom. These are all great characters that Rob builds, and I think that’s when he’s at his best: When he’s bringing these rich characters to life.
CJ: Definitely. Speaking of, these were such serious movies, do you have any funny stories from the sets of either films?
Lew: Well I think there is always something . You know, the one thing about Rob is it’s a days work. It never is just a cake walk. You never show up and have- it’s always a good time but it’s a lot of work. Occasionally something will happen that is just very ,very funny. I know to me a scene in “The Devil’s Rejects” where it’s incredibly serious. It’s in the hotel, and we’re all being held at gunpoint and there’s the scene where Priscilla Barnes is being asked to disrobe. Geoffrey Lewis, who plays Roy Sullivan, is a incredible actor. He’s Clint Eastwood’s best friend.
He’s engaged in what Rob had on the television, which I think might have been the Octopus or the Giant Squid or something, and I’m not sure Geoffrey was ever really aware of what’s going on in front of him.(laughs) But Rob would yell cut, and Geoffrey would go, “Did you see that?”. We’d be like, “Yeah, that shit’s intense, Isn’t it?” with Otis, played by Moseley, raping essentially Priscilla Barnes and he said, “No, No. The Squid on television is huge!”(Laughs)Things like that, kinda disengaged the serious moments. Or when we were going to our death, and Rob asked us if that’s the end, what do you want? I was like, ”I feel like I just want to keep trying to save ourselves from this monster ,so I’m going to keep fighting for my life.” Then Geoffrey says, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna break for the bunnies. “ That’s just sorta Geoffrey, he’s just out there in a brilliant way.
It was a lot of fun and interesting. In “Halloween”, Tyler ultimately escapes and he has to catch me. But one of the funny things was that I was working with Danny Trejo, who actually has spent time in penitentiary, and he was offering to me how you go poop in prison, or really either number 1 or 2. You take your pants off and hang them up, so if someone is coming in to Shiv you, so to speak, you have a chance to run. Like the saying goes about being caught with your pants down, that’s exactly how I had my death scene in “Halloween”, was with my tighty whities down around my ankles, so I couldn’t run. Then Michael Myers catches me, and pummels me into a cinder brick wall. So that was rather unsettling and bizarrely funny in its own way too: With my underwear down around my ankles like a little boy.
Im not sure it was funny for anyone else, but I thought it was funny. (laughs)It’s always something that breaks the tone. We tend to be so serious and so heavy. I remember when “The Walking Dead”,-of course we knew who Chandler Riggs was, of course we knew who Carl was as actors- But as actual Oscar and Axel, we had yet to have seen a boy. We hadn’t even seen Lori at that point in our world. We are out in the courtyard, and here comes a boy carrying a baby with a gun! I remember looking at Oscar and saying,” What the Hell? It’s a boy with a gun and a baby. What kinda world are we living in?” He just started laughing. I didn’t mean it to be funny, but everyone started laughing because it was funny.
So yeah, there’s a lot of interesting fun moments occasionally on “The Walking Dead”. In the prison, we would come out with silly hats and sombreros, when we were chasing walkers. I remember one time, we all dressed up in ponchos and hats and we were supposed to come around the corner with our flashlights looking for walkers, and the director didn’t know and that was rather funny. I remember the scene that we had when the prisoners first attack the walkers. We were supposed to race in, and Andrew Lincoln was set up so Andrew was supposed to go “1,2,3,” and we all just decided to go on 1. The minute he said 1, we went (laughs) and everybody was caught off guard. Even the walkers, who were waiting for us to approach them on 3, didn’t know what to do. They were like, ”Oh shit!” That was a lot of fun.
There is so many good moments, in these piece of work “in the moment”, and capturing that is what makes them very visceral for the audience. A story on “The Devil’s Rejects”, very interesting and very scary, actually: Kane Hodder, who you probably know from “Friday the 13th”, was the Stunt Coordinator on “The Devil’s Rejects”. We had coordinated the fight, we had choreographed it with him and all the stunt doubles. In this particular scene, Otis was going to pull his knife out. I had him around the neck with the 2 by 4, and he was going to stab me in the thigh/upper groin area, in the balls essentially. Now we had run this all the way through with a prop knife with a retractable blade, so it would hit me and the blade would go up into the hilt. In this one tight close up shot, Hodder wanted the real knife so it would look real with the serrated edge.
The scene was going quite well, and Rob just kept playing through and we all did; No one yelled cut. It was just supposed to be Bill Moseley unsheathing the knife and then cut. You see we got it? Okay cut. But he didn’t yell cut at that point in time, and Kane Hodder came flying in and broke the scene up. He’s the only one that remembered that it was real life, and this probably saved me from a terrible injury. There are moments that are amazingly fortunate that we look back and think,” Holy Shit”. Then there are things where accidents occur, which we try to avoid as best we can. Thankfully, someone has always got your back, looking out for you on the set.
CJ: That’s a good thing. I’m sure nothing good would have come from that real knife.
Lew: No, there’s nothing good that would have come from that. I would not have been able to father a child. I would have been a sad, androgynous creature.
CJ: (Laughs) Oh yeah. How did your involvement with “The Walking Dead” come about?
Lew: Well that was a show that I had known about of course, with my pedigree in the horror genre and all. The graphic novel had come across my desk, and I thought they were very amazing. I heard they were going to be turned into a television series, but I was skeptical because they are so graphic and so violent, I just wasn’t thinking that they could build this into a television show. Lo and behold, they did and very well. At some point, I was brought in to read for the pilot episode for the role of Merle.
I read for Merle, and thankfully they hired Michael Rooker. Shortly thereafter,
they asked me to come back in. They being Casting Directors. They asked me to read for Merle’s brother who at the time they didn’t even have a name for, let alone sides. In other words, there was no script of what he was to say. They said just use Merle’s sides, but do it different. (laughs) Thankfully for Daryl, they hired Norman Reedus. So when Axel came around, they kinda had an idea of what would be a good fit, and I’m glad they did. I think it all worked out perfectly.
I couldn’t handle all those screaming 18 year old hot girls being my fans the way Norman does. Or Michael Rooker, for that matter. I think it’s perfect where Axel ended up.
CJ: Is there any one moment that sticks out while shooting “The Walking Dead’?
Lew: Yeah, there are several. I feel like there was a day, which is rather pertinent to what’s happening right now, on this day we speak. Just a day after learning that Robin Williams has passed, God rest his soul.
Lew : A dear friend of mine, Someone I had worked for and enjoyed working for, and he was my friend: Tony Scott had taken his life. I was up in Atlanta when this happened. I showed up on set the next day feeling very blue, and very upset. I remember when we did a scene, and oddly I didn’t want to go to work. But I knew that Tony would have me go to work. Tony would want me working. The scene that started my day, our day, Andrew Lincoln was to come into the cell returning with the information that Oscar, my friend played by Vincent Ward, who’s not only a fantastic actor but a close friend of mine; that he had been killed at Woodbury trying to retrieve Maggie and Glenn.
My reaction was so angered, and it was all built around my reaction to Tony Scott’s death, that I just got in Andrew Lincoln’s grill. I just physically got in his face and made it very difficult, and very forcefully we had a physical conflict that had to be broken apart in the context of the scene which was really great. The problem was Andrew Lincoln, Rick Grimes, had a lot of big scenes to do for the rest of the day. He had to go from there to meeting Tyreese and his group with Sasha, and then had to see the visions of his wife Lori. So it was kind of too much, so we had to temper that down. But that always struck me as being in the moment.
I adored the scene with Carol that we did about “you must be a lesbian because you got short hair”. I found that so much fun. It was fun because of Melissa’s reaction. Melissa Mcbride, the actress that plays Carol, just how easily amused she was by this idiot that was stereotyping. Those were two things that clearly left marks. Just the idea that we were so close as a group. As much as anything, people always ask what did you take away from “The Walking Dead”?
What I took away was dear friendships that will always be there, that will always be in my heart with all the cast and the crew and all the producers and writers. I still call friends and still stay social with, all of them. We still connect to the same degree that we did when we all worked together. We are ghosts in the past now, but we are still just as much friends as we were when we started, so that’s what I take. My friendship with Vincent Ward as Oscar is the greatest gift that I could have gotten from a television show.
CJ: Yeah, Vincent’s a really great guy
Lew: Super guy. Love him.
CJ: As you know, Vincent has an amazing fan response with Oscar. Are you surprised by the fan response to Axel and the continued growing success of “The Walking Dead”?
Lew: Well, of course we’re surprised. I think none of us would have thought “The Walking Dead” would be such a cultural phenomenon as it is. I have some big, broad philosophical ideas as to why. I feel like “The Walking Dead” represents our society, and our civil unrest. I feel like that there is not one of us that doesn’t wake up in survival mode. The walkers are a metaphor for some of the obstacles in life; whether it be credit, or mortgage, the price of gas, or even a loved one suffering from illness like cancer or aids. Even just struggling to get by, and I feel like we’re to such a point in survival mode that it relates very pertinently in the here and now to not just our country but all countries. I think that lends itself to what the popularity of the show is.
As characters, I certainly think that one of the great things that Oscar and Axel brought to the show was a certain levity; A smile, a nod to a little comedy. A little relief from a dire situation, I really appreciated the opportunity to do that and would have liked to have served that a little bit more. But what we were able to bring to it I thought was not just needed, but done well. So occasionally, I will be caught a little off guard by how popular Axel is. The main response I get about Axel is “We didn’t see your death coming. It was a real gut punch. It just took our breath away”. I take that as a compliment. I take that as a compliment on behalf of the entire show, because we really did try to build it as such in order to pull the carpet out from underneath the audience; to really be a punch in the gut.
To be so abrupt the way it was, like the Kennedy assassination, you know a headshot is very terminal and so abrupt and absolute. I really did want it to occur this way, as did the producers and writers and directors, the whole team. So we were able to pull it off, so I’m very proud of how we were able to execute that. Most of that comes to me in the form of “Wow, you did a great job of really just bumming us out”. I take that as a compliment.
CJ: Alright. I know you’ve shot a bunch of movies in hot locations before like “The Devil’s Rejects”, was it really hard to get used to the Georgia Weather?
Lew: Well, I had done “Lawless” down in Georgia the year before I came to do “The Walking Dead”. Georgia is hot. I’m from the South in Louisiana. It’s hot, It’s humid. There’s no getting around it. There’s no making it any easier. If you can get from your car to the building, you’ve got kind of a cover with air conditioning. But generally, if it’s a hot day to get outside, the outdoor activities are going to take their toll. So you’ve got great skin, but it’s a bad hair day for some of the lady folk. It does take a lot of getting used to, because what it does is it zaps your energy.
The Show requires such an amount of energy. “The Walking Dead” is a very physical show. It’s very much built on the obstacles of the geography. So you have to be outdoors, you have to be in layered clothing for protection from sun exposure. It’s hot. I can tell you those prison jumpsuits started wearing me. All of a sudden, I was just captured inside of a prison jumpsuit standing out in what we call the Valley Court, out in that courtyard of the Prison, with 100 degree, 98% Humidity off of the cement. Yeah, Hot. For me, even though I was used to it, it was a long day.
The folks that were in prosthetics wearing latex, this stuff melts on them so it’s twice as bad for them. It does take getting used to. People underestimate the idea that they’re out working, and you’re out exposed to the sun and you kind of make your day. You referenced storms a bit earlier, you’ve got a storm season in the spring. You got your rain, you’ve got four hours before it comes down in a downpour. Then all the ground is going to be dripping wet, so we have to get this shot before the ground gets wet so we can match it with what we shot yesterday.
There’s a lot of obstacles to the weather that people never consider and so it does take some getting used to. So you just have to get through it and get done. You have to conserve energy, and know that I’ve gotta make my day and I’ve gotta be part of the team to help them make their day. We’ve got 10 days here to shoot this episode, and 8 of those are working with 2 of them off. There’s a lot of pressure to get it done, and I think the show is incredible that they do as much as they do in such short of a time. It’s a real credit to their work ethic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Hardest Working Show out there. Has a lot to do with why they are so successful. They are a tight, tight group that gets it done as good as anybody. They deserve a lot more accolades for the work we do on that show.
CJ: I definitely agree. I know I was pretty surprised when they didn’t get many Emmy nominations this year.
Lew: I was too. Not just surprised, but disappointed. I feel like there is so many elements of this show that go unnoticed. Aside from the obvious things like the acting, writing, the action direction, special effects. But you know, the makeup and hair, costume design, and art direction, Those are incredible things that deserve attention and it’s been a dismissal of the show for whatever reason. But it doesn’t seem to weigh heavy on the fan’s hearts, as they tune in every week. Maybe the show is being penalized for being so darn popular. I’ll tell you this, I’d rather have my ratings be #1, then my award’s be #1 and I feel everybody on the show feels the same way.
CJ: Definitely. We were talking a little earlier about Walker Stalker Con coming back to Atlanta, and by this time, you’ve been to quite a few of them. What is your favorite part of the convention, and what sets these cons apart from other conventions you’ve attended?
Lew: My favorite part of the convention is the convention itself. Meeting the fans, who I don’t call fans, I call the audience. Meeting the audience, those are the fourth wall cast members. They are the ones who are on the front end of the television. I take a lot of pleasure in getting to meet them, and know them, and hear their comments and reactions to really get a sense of what we’re doing is/isn’t working.
I think somehow strangely they inform the show as to what needs to happen as much as the show informs them, which are both real plusses. The audience is always really excited to meet the people that they tune into every Sunday evening in their living rooms. It used to be the “Wonderful World of Walt Disney” or “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, now it’s “The Walking Dead”. We tune in and invite Rick Grimes into our living rooms, and get together as a family. Im going over to Mom and Dad’s for Spaghetti Sunday, and we’re going to watch “The Walking Dead”.
That just puts a smile on my face. I really enjoy meeting the audience, and having discussions with them as well. They come from all parts, and that just amazes me. You’ll meet people from the other side of the world. You’ll meet people from China, Ireland, New Guinea. It’s just great. It’s such a congregation of like-minded enthusiasts. I love it. Atlanta, because we do the show there and because people show up as the audience and say,” Wow, this is where the show’s birthplace is.” I think that makes it something special. It’s the OG, the Original as we say.
It always feel s like home. For us that are no longer on the show, we are able to kind of do a reunion with those who are still on the show and working. It just feels like a reunion and that’s great. The Walker Stalker Con provides a certain family, not just for the fans, but for the cast. Through other cons, I’ll see other friends from other types of genre films; Some I’ve worked with and some I haven’t. On the Walker Stalker, I can always count on my Family being there, in the form of the cast and crew of “The Walking Dead”. Particularly in Atlanta, because that’s home base, so more of us show up for that then any of the others. I hope that’s an explanation as to how these are different.
It’s exclusive, but inclusive, if that makes any sense. If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead”, come on because we’re all going to be there. If you’re not a fan of “The Walking Dead”, you can still come, but it’s better if you’re part of the show. Not to dismiss the “Game of Thrones” cast that will be in attendance ,
I think it’s fantastic that they’re able to throw in and join the celebration because they are fantastic, obviously. Also “ Vampire Diaries”, we have mentioned that they work in Atlanta and they should have some love as well. Several of our crew jump over and work there, which is fantastic. Some of our cast has worked “Vampire Diaries” as well, if I remember correctly. Of course, Ian Somerhalder should fill in nicely in case of the absence of Norman Reedus for this particular event. All that being aside, the organization, the management, the administration, the build of Walker Stalker is really done well. It’s very professional. It’s like a production. It’s like a television production, and it’s run right and I really respect that. It makes it easier: We’re in a good mood, so everyone else should be as well. You might have to wait a while to see Andrew Lincoln or David Morrissey, but I promise you it will be worth it. When you’re all done, you can come by and see me.
CJ: Definitely. You had mentioned the reunion aspect of the Con, who are you really looking to reunite and hang out with at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta?
Lew: I can’t get enough of Andy. I try to when I go to the UK in the off season, to see Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey. I don’t get to see them enough. They are very dear. As the old guys we’ve kinda formed a bond. When I say old, I mean middle aged. Hershel has got the figurative grip on the elder statesman award.
I love seeing Scott Wilson, We’ll have a cigar and catch up. I don’t get to see him enough as well. It’s always great to be around them . There’s people who I have not met yet, that im excited to meet. I have never met Josh McDermott. I adore his work, and I’m looking forward to saying hello and meeting him. I get along really well with everybody, so it’s great to meet some of the new cast. Maybe Gareth if he’s got a moment, as long as he doesn’t want to capture me and hold me hostage or something. All good things man.
Always great to see Greg Nicotero and catch up with him. You know, just everyone. Wow, im trying to think of someone I haven’t met yet…I’ve met Micheal, I’ve met Christian Serratos and she’s great. Really looking forward to meeting Josh.
CJ: One of the great things about the con is it gives the fans a chance to get autographs and meet their favorite actors. Getting Photo Ops is another big part of the con. Is there any photo ops that stand out that you’ve been asked to do at any of the Walker Stalker Cons?
Lew; I feel like there was one we didn’t do last year in Atlanta, which was “the Men of the Walking Dead”. I think at that point, it was so cool because there were so many of the male cast members that were there. It occurs to me that if the opportunity was to do it this year, “The Men of the Walking Dead”, not to like the female cast because they are fantastic too.
It looks like we’re trading off with the Dixon boys this year, because currently Norman isn’t listed to be there but Michael is. Of course now we have the Governor as well. I think this year if they do a photo op with “Men of the Walking Dead” , it would be super cool. Last year, the photo op with the prisoners also was pretty great. Although it felt like Nick Gomez was a little tardy. He couldn’t make it in for flight reasons until the last day. That was pretty cool. The “Men of the Walking Dead” would definitely stand out to me.
CJ: As far as I know, They are still adding photo ops, so there’s still a chance we may still see it.
Lew: They should do a “Moustache you a Question” Photo Op! All of the dudes with the great mustaches be in it. You could have guys like Cudlitz and Me. Hershel/Scott Wilson has got a good mustache. Maybe we could throw beards in there too, and Lincoln can come in with the beard. You know, Morrissey, never really got the facial hair though, so he would be excluded unfortunately. As would Jose and maybe, Bowman. Maybe the Woodbury guys didn’t have too much facial hair and mustaches. That would be a good one.
CJ: (laughs) Maybe everyone in Woodbury, got to use Shavers.
Lew: Yeah, they had Razors. We didn’t have any at the prison.
CJ: How crazy do you think it’s going to get in Atlanta this October? The Busiest day Last year had over 10,000 people on Saturday Alone.
Lew: I think it goes without saying. The Numbers alone, and I don’t think you even need specifics whether it was 5,000 or 10,000; The level of excitement and the opportunity to meet your favorites just kind of brings that kind of excitement. I think it’s going to amped up like a rock concert. I think that level of energy is contagious. People continue to make it their own: People come in cosplay, People come with a variety of things to sign, or just to meet and say, “Hey, I was sitting on my couch and I threw my remote at the television when that happened”.
Most people just need to be able to tell you how the show affected them and you’re there to receive that. I think it’s going to be madness in Hotlanta. It’s going to require extra security, and patience amongst everybody: the hotel Staff, parking, and the audience alike. But we’ll get through it, the more the merrier so I say bring it. I think it’s going to be over the top; We’ll call it Walker Stalker Palooza. It will be the biggest and the best of the cons. Atlanta is a great city. Some of the best food in America is there.
I love eating in Atlanta, Im almost as excited for that. One of my favorite places is called “Holeman and Finch” on Peachtree. They only make 20 hamburgers a night and you have to be on a list. They’re great! I love the “Buckhead Diner” Sunday Morning: The Shrimp and Grits is incredible. The food overall is incredible. So come on, Bring it I say.
CJ: You just mentioned people cosplaying. Have you seen many people cosplay as Axel?
Lew: I do. There’s a lot of good ones. Everyone is so smart, and pays such attention to detail. I’ve seen some small children, from 7-10 year old boys with Mustaches which is really great. Always awesome to go, “Well there’s a mini me!” and that’s fantastic. We see a lot of Daryl and a lot of Rick’s. You want to have a little earmark: a moustache, poncho, crossbow, or angel wings. Something cool so your audience can notice those details. I give the audience like credit because they always seem to find the quirky details of the characters.
CJ: Definitely. The audience of “The Walking Dead” seems to be one of the most loyal audiences I’ve ever seen.
Lew: Without a doubt.
CJ: I also have a couple of fan questions that were sent in to me through Facebook and Twitter.
Lew: Awesome, Ask away!
CJ: I have a Tara Brooks who asked if Axel had survived, Where would you like to have seen his character go?
Lew: I feel like Axel would have been very serviceable to the group of Survivors that were at the prison. In other words, he was a handyman who could have actually become a good friend to everybody. I think he would have helped Hershel with the Moral compass and being able to settle things. I think there’s a real place that he could have landed thinking of bygone times and thinking of nostalgic and memories.
I also think there’s a part of Axel that we didn’t know. There was a mystery underneath that jumpsuit that we didn’t see. Maybe we could have peeled that off and showed some really ugly fangs; Maybe show that he was in there as a murderer or rapist or something, and maybe that he would have been just as dangerous as the Governor possibly. We always reserved those options for him. For the most part, I really like that Axel was somebody that tried to put his best food forward and to be friends with the group. Good Question Tara; Thank you!
CJ: My last question is from Gina Jones and she wants to say that she loved you in “Unstoppable”, and wanted to know how hard or easy it is to play such different roles.
Lew : I think that you go into your work as a open pallet, and I try not to bring any one character back to the new character. I try to find out who this character is inside of Lew Temple, and then fill the character with pieces of Lew that fit with the element of excitement, desperation, or sadness of the character.
You have to open yourself up emotionally and intellectually and really learn who it is that you’re building. There’s a lot of focus. We never think of focus being a difficult task, but focus is really required in a lot that we do. We don’t have to focus much on breathing, but if we did we would recognize how difficult focus is. Focus is a big part of what I do. It’s just being focused for extended periods of time on the set, or on camera, or even in my study process of building the character.
So I would say it is difficult to go from Ned Oldham to Axel to Hollis in “The Lone Ranger”. I tried to make each of them different so people would appreciate that these are different players. We’re not seeing the same guy showing up to do the same work every time out. So I’m really thankful that people notice ”Wow, he’s doing different things out there and playing different music. It’s not always just a guitar solo. He brought some horns to this one”. I think that’s cool.
CJ: I just want to add you really have done an amazing job with all the characters that you have played in your career.
Lew: Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s always nice to be validated by people who appreciate your work.
CJ: Well that’s going to wrap things up for Episode 3 of Creech Questions. I want to thank you again for doing the interview.
Lew: Thank you for having me on. For letting me have a voice and talk to the Walker Stalker Con fans!
For more information on Walker Stalker Con or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.walkerstalkercon.com/atlanta/