1:15 pm EST, February 7, 2013

‘The Walking Dead’ executive producer Gale Anne Hurd talks casting Rick Grimes, British actors

Hypable’s “Week with Gale Anne Hurd” continues as we speed toward the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead this Sunday. Today, our talk with Hurd reveals what the folks behind The Walking Dead saw in Andrew Lincoln, and why there are so many Brits on the series.

It’s hard to imagine The Walking Dead without Andrew Lincoln playing Rick Grimes – he completely embodies the character we’ve come to love and (at times) fear. Rick is a complex guy – dealing with almost losing his son to discovering his wife had been sleeping with his best friend – and it’s all happening during a zombie apocalypse.

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Gale Anne Hurd revealed to Hypable what it was about Andrew Lincoln that made them think “this is our Rick Grimes.”

“He had that haunted quality about him, and yet he seemed like regardless how difficult everything was going to become at least in the first season, that he was someone you would trust to always do the right thing.”

Hurd’s description is spot on for the character of Rick, who despite so much hardship (and a bout with potential madness), is someone you would ultimately put your faith in to lead you through the messy post-apocalyptic world.

Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes

Lincoln is also one of many actors on the show who plays an American Southerner, though not naturally from the states. Lincoln is English, and so are costars David Morrissey (the Governor) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie).

Gale Anne Hurd also commented that “Danai Gurira actually grew up in Zimbabwe.”

We asked Hurd why she thinks this keeps happening in American television and films – so many Brits/non-Americans playing these roles of Southerners – and she attributed it to open casting calls.

“When we do the casting, all of the auditions are posted on the website, and we don’t know necessarily where they’re from. So it’s completely equal opportunity. It just so happened that Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan and David Morrissey all are based in the U.K.”

We at Hypable think that perhaps in the past, these opportunities might not have been as readily available to actors from across the pond, but we’re happy to see the best actors, regardless of national heritage, now getting parts. For some reason though, a lot of British actors have found themselves playing Southern Americans recently (also exhibited by the casting of Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons in Beautiful Creatures).

What would ‘The Walking Dead’ be like without Lincoln as Rick?


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