Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
Mike: Please introduce yourself?
Steve: Since I’m dead I guess my introduction should be in the past tense. Oh wait, that was just a part I played. OK, several parts. When you reach a certain age they only cast you in things to kill you off. And I used to wonder what “diecast” meant. What was the question? Oh yeah, me. I guess you noticed I’m kind of a smart ass. I think I developed a sense of humor as a weapon when I was in school. I mean, if you can’t fight or run (although I was a pretty good runner before I was a Walker), sometimes cracking jokes can defuse a situation. My jokes may have escalated more situations than they calmed, but you gotta play the hand you’re dealt. I did some acting in high school and college until I realized I sucked at it and moved over to the tech side. Also got into radio in college and switched my major from Journalism to Broadcasting. Out in the real world I transitioned back to writing for newspapers, reviewing movies and plays and interviewing celebrities. That’s how I made a modest living most of my working life. When a friend invited me to work as an extra on a movie (Oliver Stone’s “The Doors”) I found I enjoyed being on the set and felt more comfortable in front of a camera than I had on stage in my younger days. After a few years of occasional extra work someone suggested I go up for speaking roles. I did, and acting became what I call my “midlife crisis career.” Now that you’ve read my autobiography, aren’t you sorry you asked for an introduction?
Mike: How would the Walking Dead universe know you?
Steve: It’s amazing how many details some Walking Dead fans remember! After working a lot in Season One without standing out from the crowd, I had a brief big moment in the first episode of Season Two. I attacked Rick in a church and he split my skull with a machete. They shot it several times from different angles. In the one they finally used you couldn’t tell I had Rick by the throat with one hand when he got me. Andy Lincoln was cool. He told me not to be afraid of hurting him. When they don’t cover it with makeup you can still see my thumbprint on his neck.
Mike: Are you still doing the Walking Dead at all?
Steve: I’m still watching. They haven’t brought me back but I email them every season to tell them “The Oldest Living Zombie” is ready for his comeback. (I don’t know if I really deserve that title but we’re not living in an age of honesty when it comes to self-promotion. I may use it as a campaign slogan when I run for president.) I’ve thought about a Facebook page, “Bring Back the Oldest Living Zombie,” to use as a petition, but haven’t done anything about it. I fantasize about an episode where Rick is haunted by memories of some of us sweet, innocent Walkers he brutally dispatched; and – probably in a dream – we come back and attack him en masse.
Mike: If you were asked to come back and play a person instead of a walker, would you?
Steve: I’d probably do anything Greg Nicotero asked me to do – within reason and for money, of course!
Mike: Who all killed you on the Walking Dead?
Steve: Glenn (R.I.P.) and I chased each other in a couple scenes of Season One but it was Rick who did the deed in Ep. 201.
Mike: What was your favorite scene to do?
Steve: Of course nothing can top my death scene that millions of people actually saw and many remember me from, but an interesting sidelight of that scene was that they brought me back the next day when they were shooting more in the church. I had to lie in a pool of blood where I’d fallen, just in case I showed up in the background of another shot. I think I spotted myself in one quick shot, but they could have used a pile of rags for the same effect. My favorite scene in Season One (besides eating fake horse guts) didn’t make it into the show. I chased Rick and Glenn up a fire escape ladder. It was over 90 degrees when we shot it so we were all sweating like pigs. It was hard enough to grip the ladder to pull myself up, but I was directed to make it look even more awkward, since I was a Walker. Had I fallen 30 feet or so and hit the concrete below, I could have been seriously injured. They should probably have used a stuntman, or at least given me stunt pay; but Andy and Steven did their own climbing too. On the show you just saw the two of them racing up the ladder with no one behind them.
Mike: Of all the kool stuff that has come out with walkers on it have you seen yourself and what was it?
Steve: I’m not on any merch that I know of – no t-shirts, bobbleheads, nuclear weapons, etc.; but I’ve popped up in a couple of AMC promos for the show, especially “Inside the Walking Dead: Walker University.”
Mike: What else have you done?
Steve: I’ve worked as an extra on hundreds of major films and TV shows, usually invisible or lost in the crowd. Occasionally I get a closeup or a little featured bit – shaking Burt Reynolds’ hand in “Striptease” and Kenneth Branagh’s in “Warm Springs”; spilling Queen Latifah’s bedpan in “Joyful Noise.” I got top billing in “Scarce” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vNvsKcp738), a Canadian horror movie where I played a backwoods cannibal. I was a combination zombie/cannibal in the barely-released “Lynch Mob” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wKFZWXvug) and a police detective in the unreleased “The Frame.” I’ve been in several dozen music videos, student films, webseries and I-don’t-know-what-they-weres, playing cops and killers, clergy and monsters – a little of everything.
Mike: What are you doing now?
Steve: Answering your questions. Oh, you mean in general. I’m living in Florida, 500 miles from the action in Atlanta; so unless a project’s worth traveling for – and there are thousands of actors who live closer and will usually be chosen first – I work mostly little local jobs. I had vertigo for two weeks from shaking my head too hard doing the Pentecostal Shuffle in a video (vimeo.com/164755871). They didn’t use the dancing but I had some nice closeups. I’ve also got a part-time day job at a medical school as a standardized patient, which I describe as a crash test dummy for students to practice on. It’s a good way to exercise the acting muscles without paying for classes, and it helps ensure there will be good doctors out there when I need one.
Mike: Will you be doing any conventions in 2017?
Steve: No plans at this point. I guess I’m waiting for someone to make me an offer I can’t refuse.
Mike: How can fans reach out to you to say hi or get an 8×10 signed?
Steve: Since I’m usually looking for work I can’t afford to keep a low profile, so fans are able to find me on Facebook (my college d.j. name, “thinhead” can be helpful), or through my FBI, CIA or NSA files. If all else fails, hire a Russian hacker. I haven’t invested in photos but I’ll sign almost anything people send me if they enclose a stamped return envelope. Pictures, that is. If they send body parts I’ll eat them.
Mike: What would you like to say in closing?
Steve: I think I’ve rambled on enough already. You can probably market this interview as my autobiography. It was nice chatting with you, Mike. You can wake up now…. He’s not waking up! Do you think he’s…one of us?!!!