Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TWD Casting News -- the ranks of the not YET dead are growing...

Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" is going to feature a period of the comic in which the survivors wind up at a farm.  I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear that they were going that direction.  Those who have read any of the comics know that this period as integral to the way the story -- and characters -- progress.  Far more integral than the death of Shane (which, according to the comic and fanboys everywhere probably should've happened before episode 3).  While in the comic, Shane's death was important -- but nothing that couldn't be put off and written around.  The farm, however, will introduce characters and situations which will ultimately provide motivations and cause actions that will set the stage for the whole future of the franchise.

The farm is owned by a veterinarian-turned-farmer named Hershel, and is populated by Hershel's kids, along with a neighbor named Otis.

The Comic book character is the guy on the left.
In case you weren't sure.
I don't want to give away too much from people who enjoy the show but have not yet read any of the books, but suffice to say that Otis is a skinny redneck.  Recent casting news has Otis being played by Pruitt Taylor Vince.  Born in Baton Rouge, LA, at least he's got the accent down.  Actually, of the three roles cast (actually, of ANY of the casting decisions so far), Vince as Otis makes the least sense, at least as far as looking the part.

Having said that, Vince is a fantastic actor, and has both the chops and pedigree to play the role and do it well.  If he looks familiar, it's possible you've seen him as the perpetually drunk priest in another comic-based movie: "Constantine."  His was a memorable role, and he easily out-acted Keanu Reeves -- not that I'm suggesting it was difficult.  Hell, Shia LaBeuff out-acted Keanu in that film.  But he is very good, and I'm actually looking forward to seeing what he brings to the role.

Now TV Guide (via IGN) has reported on two more Hershel's Farm survivors: Maggie, and Hershel himself.  As Maggie, a face familiar to television viewers: Lauren Cohan.  Cohan had recurring roles in both "Supernatural" and "Vampire Diaries."  She also had a recurring role on "Chuck."  I confess I'm not as familiar with Cohan, so will have to withhold judgement on this pick. 

Finally, Hershel. This is an excellent pick, and I'm really not sure they could have found anyone better.  Scott Wilson is a great character actor, who can pull of the range of emotion necessary for this role.  Hershel will go from friendly to concerned to violently angry to manically depressed -- all within the span of a few moments -- and he'll need an actor who can not only provide the depth, but also just play the part.  Wilson, with career spanning nearly 40 years, has the chops to pull it off.  Plus, Wilson is also no stranger to playing comic roles (albeit of significantly less quality than this one): he played an uncredited role as Pa Angel in the 1995 travesty that was "Judge Dredd."

With every announcement, I'm getting more anxious for the preview of Season 2.  AMC has been taking a risk by waiting until the Fall for the debut.  However, they are marketing intelligently, by constantly releasing new updates and slowly allowing news to trickle out into the public. 

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