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'The Walking Dead' Director Talks New Season

Gwyneth Horder-Payton takes the reins of the Season 2 premiere

"The Walking Dead" director Gwyneth Horder-Payton recently offered insights about her experiences filming the hit AMC zombie series, which returns in October for Season 2.

Horder-Payton is directing the Season 2 premiere after previously helming the Season 1 episode "Tell It to the Frogs," where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was finally reunited with his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs).

How will the premiere measure up to her experience directing "Tell It to the Frogs"?

"That was a director's dream," Horder-Payton said of her Season 1 episode. "I was up there with a total of 18 actors who couldn't go to their trailers because it took too long, so basically we're up there with a semi-air-conditioned RV which is sort of not really working. So, people were just out there sitting and panting and sweating.

"After five days, this Stockholm syndrome set in and they felt very dependent on me. It was a great bonding experience. It was also a major character episode, where you found out who people were and what the relationships were between each other.

"For this episode, it felt like there was almost no dialogue. There was a lot of creeping around ... But, I still had 11 actors who go around as one bunch, so it's this interesting little pipe tribe. It's like who goes first and then who goes next and why?"

Another part of the directing challenge Horder-Payton has embraced is her foray into horror, a genre she is still becoming acquainted with.

"It's really weird. As a child, I did only read Edgar Allan Poe, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, but that's not really horror," she said. "I wouldn't have thought that I would go necessarily in this direction. I guess it's the humans getting caught in extreme situations and seeing how they react. I certainly like dark, and I don't mind being in an atmosphere where I'm surrounded by chewed up bodies.

"I have a great picture of a zombie from last night. It's a very old lady sitting there all chewed up, and in between takes she was knitting. It looked like 'Whistler's Mother' as a zombie."

"The Walking Dead" broke ratings records when it premiered Oct. 31, 2010, reaching more adults 18 to 49 than any other show in the history of cable television. Hailed as one of the best new shows of the year, the series was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series -- Drama.

Based on Robert Kirkman's acclaimed comic, the tragic tale follows a police officer from a small Kentucky town as he leads his family and a group of survivors across the country in search of a safe home.

Frank Darabont wrote and directed the pilot, with Gale Anne Hurd ("Aliens," "The Terminator") of Valhalla Motion Pictures and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion executive producing along with Darabont and Kirkman.

AMC has set Season 2 for a 13-episode run.

The series stars Andrew Lincoln ("Love, Actually," "Teachers"), Emma Bell ("Frozen"), Jon Bernthal ("The Pacific," "The Ghost Writer"), Steven Yeun, Sarah Wayne Callies ("Prison Break"), Chandler Riggs ("Get Low"), Jeffrey DeMunn ("The Green Mile") and Laurie Holden ("Shield").

See more of Horder-Payton's interview at AMCtv.com.

View Kirkman's Season 2 set visit here.

About the Author

Bryant L. Griffin is managing editor for Airlock Alpha, 1701News and Rabid Doll, and a writer for the entire GenreNexus network. He works at a major-metro newspaper and served as a journalist in the U.S. Army. In 2002, he joined Nexus Media Group Inc., contributing to many early design concepts before shifting his focus back to writing. Bryant hails from Tampa, Fla.
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