'Walking Dead' exec producer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's show, 'I Ain't a Judas'

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It was interesting that the show’s resident makeup  wizard Greg Nicotero directed this episode given that it was one of the more effects-light shows.
This is a good example of why Greg Nicotero has become one of our go-to directors. He ended up doing three episodes this season. He’s just a fantastic director. It’s not like it’s, “Oh, this is a special effects, zombie-filled episode, let’s make sure Greg does it.” He really is a skilled director, one of our strongest directors on the show, and I think this episode is a very clear example of that.

On the other hand, if you’re going to have a sequence in which someone de-jaws a zombie I guess there are worse people you could have behind the camera.
Yeah. I’ve heard from a few people in the production that that was the first time they had to look away from a TV screen while they were watching a show.

It was spectacularly unpleasant, which I guess I mean as a compliment.
[Laughs] You know, it’s always fun to put that stuff in. I mean that, I think, is the dessert of the show. I love that we have this episode of political maneuvering with Andrea back at the prison and it’s basically a character-based episode and then there’s something like this just kind of thrown into the mix to remind people that this show is insane.

It was fascinating to hear the Tyreese-led group describing the situation in the prison and the personnel they encountered there in such unpleasant terms.
[Laughs] And somewhat accurate terms too. We had a lot of fun with that. These are characters that we’ve known and loved for so long and we’ve seen them go through all these horrible things — [but] if you do take just a slice of them and look at them for what they are at this moment you can kind of see how Tyreese would come to that conclusion. They had a pretty bad encounter with those people.

While it’s fun dramatically to have an out-and-out villain like the Governor I think this episode reminded us is that you don’t need him around necessarily for these two groups to be at each other’s throats.
Exactly. The Governor is manipulating things and pushing things forward but it is very easy to have a conflict between humans in this world, you know. Everything’s heightened — there’s a lot of dire situations going around.

Are we going to learn more about Martinez at any point?
He definitely shows up a bit in the Governor novel series so I would highly recommend people go out and buy those to find out more about that character — and he appears in the comic books. But I think Jose Pablo Cantillo, the actor playing him, is fantastic and there’s definitely a lot more to come with Martinez.

We learned this week that there are only around 25 people who can fight in Woodbury. Do you think the Governor is now regretting having killed quite so many people previously?
[Laughs] Yeah, yeah. Now he’s looking at the head in fish tanks — well, he’s not looking at heads in fish tanks any more — but if he could he’d probably be saying, “Yeah, these guys would maybe have been a little useful.”

For a moment I thought the Governor was really going to make that older woman in the housecoat join the fighting ranks.
I think that she would probably be a pretty good fighter. And you could conceal things in the coat. You never know.

Who’s the Tom Waits fan?
I think everyone in the production is a Tom Waits fan. But I would say the biggest fan among us is probably Glen Mazzara. That guy only listens to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.

Did you see the footage of the hacker interrupting a news report to announce that the dead had come back to life?
I heard about it but I didn’t see the footage. Yeah, that seems pretty funny to me. I hope it didn’t cause any mass panic or anything.

It’s kind of your fault, though.
[Laughs] I take no responsibility in that.

“…said Robert Kirkman on the advice of his lawyers.”
Yeah.

Read more:
‘I Ain’t a Judas’ recap
‘Walking Dead’ ratings dip, but are still massive
Check out a terrifying clip from Rob Zombie’s new movie, ‘The Lords of Salem’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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