Fifteen years ago, Andrew Lincoln wasn’t the guy from The Walking Dead. He wasn’t even the creepy guy from Love Actually (the one with the signs. Not any of the other creepy guys). No, he was the guy from This Life that was getting a show all of his own in which to charm the viewing masses. That show was Teachers. And charm us he did.
Set in a secondary school in Bristol, Teachers was good enough to make us actually want to go back to school – or, for those of us who were still at school when it started, to wonder if some of the ridiculous rumours we were making up about the staff shagging each other might actually be true after all.
The show was built around Lincoln’s Simon, an English teacher who isn’t so much inspiring the next generation as trying to convince himself that he’s still one of them. He’s not there for the love of teaching, or of passing on the literary torch, or shaping the minds of the next generation. He just can’t work out what else to do. This is a common predicament for people with English degrees. Trust me. And so he’s living with his dad, having an ongoing life crisis, and trying not to think inappropriate thoughts about sixth formers.
But the show didn’t rely entirely on Andrew Lincoln to deliver; he was ably supported by a band of haphazard and hopeless colleagues. There was the borderline sex-pest duo of IT teacher Kurt (Navin Chowdry) and PE teacher Brian (Adrian Bower), plus the unliked and unlikeable senior teacher and definite sex-pest Bob. And, most charmingly of all, a few women who seemed to actually have their shit together, kind of.
Central to the show, and to Simon’s support system, was Susan (Raquel Cassidy), the endlessly patient psychology teacher. She put up with all Simon’s freakouts and failures – only to be let down by him when her own life fell apart. She was smart, ambitious, and good at her job. And she only had one nervous breakdown, which considering the crap she had to put up with was actually quite impressive.
Elsewhere, strong women bordered on the terrifying – Liz, the school secretary, ruled over everyone and made absolutely certain they knew it. Claire, the headteacher, had the terror-inducing gravitas of General Snoke. Man-child Simon just couldn’t cope with these women – except when, as in the case of fellow English teacher Jenny (Nina Sosanya), he really wanted to have sex with them. Then he became socially awkward, terrified and aroused all at once, because he was just a sucker for authority figures. Which was why he went out with a policewoman, presumably.
“I just thought whoever it was I was talking to was doing a really good Andrew Lincoln impersonation,” actress tells TheWrap
Alicia Witt wasn’t long for the world of “The Walking Dead,” but she certainly made an impression during her single-episode arc.
As Paula, the hardened and ruthless member of the Saviors who held Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride) captive during the AMC zombie drama’s sixth season, Witt brought to life one of the show’s most memorable villains, providing an interesting foil to Carol and her new pacifist approach to post-apocalyptic life.
“I’m finding the people who come up to me and want to talk about Paula have a lot of questions about her, but less questions than you would think based on it having been just one episode,” Witt told TheWrap, explaining that fans are pretty evenly split between those who hated her character and those who found her sympathetic.
Witt’s character met her untimely demise at the end of the same episode she was introduced, which was inevitable given Carol and Maggie’s central role on the series, but that didn’t make her death — including the shots of her face being chewed off by a walker in graphic detail — any less shocking.
Prior to her death, the bulk of Witt’s scenes were with McBride, whom she describes as one of her favorite actors on the show, and one of the few actors she actually got to know while shooting the episode in Atlanta. But Witt also described a surprise on-set meeting with star Andrew Lincoln, who only shares the screen with Witt via walkie talkie.
“I was amazed at the fact that Andy actually came out,” she said. “He drove an hour out from his home to be on the set, especially on his day off, [for] an episode that he was only in at the end of, to be the voice on the walkie.”
Even though she had been acting with Lincoln the whole time, Witt said she had no idea. “I just thought whoever it was I was talking to was doing a really good Andrew Lincoln impersonation,” she said. “Then I went to go to the bathroom and he was like ‘Hi, I’m Andy,’ and he was holding his walkie talkie.”
With diehard fans hovering around the set and using drones to uncover spoilers, AMC is going to great lengths to protect the big reveal. Plus THR takes a look at the other burning questions heading into season seven.
Who did Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) kill in the season six finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead?
That’s the biggest burning question for the zombie drama heading into October’s season seven premiere. With filming having already under way in Atlanta, AMC is going to greater lengths than usual to protect the massive reveal.
Season six ended with Carl (Chandler Riggs), Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Arron (Ross Marquand), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) all lined up before the charming villain and his barbed wire-covered bat, Lucille, with Negan taking a deadly swing at one of them.
Sources tell THR that each of the 11 cast members involved in the scene have already filmed a death scene. The Walking Dead producers and the episode director will then work with the show’s editors and pick the character who does indeed die.
Season seven of The Walking Dead will pick up immediately with Negan’s deadly swing, and as Morgan said, “you’ll see who was at the end of that bat and what happened from there,” while series creator/EP Robert Kirkman ha said that Negan’s victim is “beloved to everyone.” For those who haven’t read the comics on which the series is based [spoilers ahead], the landmark 100th issue sees Negan beat Glenn to death with Lucille.
The extra lengths come as diehard fans continue to line Atlanta locations looking for a glimpse of their favorite stars and an early preview at what to expect from the new season — or to be outright spoiled with who Negan killed. Some have gone as far as to use drones to capture images from production — something that showrunner Scott M. Gimple struggles with.
“With the advent of drones, it can become such a game of cat and mouse that as far as sneaking a peek at the actors walking to set, we want to just keep our actors safe and the people who might be looking safe — like [when they’re] in the street,” he told THRlast summer. For her part, co-star Green noted that some actors have to be covered in hoods or moved around the locations in costume in order to protect who’s still alive on the series. “Sometimes you can tell a specific story point based on what someone’s wearing or what their makeup looks like — so in that case, we do what we can to cover in order to protect the story,” she said last year.
Below, THR takes a look at some of the other big burning questions heading into season seven of The Walking Dead with the trailer and premiere date expected to be announced in July at Comic-Con.
Who is playing Ezekiel?
The Kingdom, first hinted at in the penultimate episode of season six, is overseen by a George Clinton-like leader named Ezekiel, a former zookeeper who watches over the community with Shiva, his pet tiger. The residents of the Kingdom dress in protective armor — and serve as knights to the so-called “King Ezekiel” at a transformed high school. “If we do see the Kingdom, it’ll be a big reveal and it will be another new world to inhabit and explore,” said Gimple, who would neither confirm nor deny the story point.
“The Walking Dead” Season 7 will undoubtedly see a major fight between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But will the AMC show focus on the humans and leave the zombies in the back of the storyline?
“The Walking Dead” executive producer Greg Nicotero wants fans to know that the undead will still play a major part in the seventh season. “It’s always about keeping the walkers present,” he told IGN.
Nicotero explained that Negan’s role in “The Walking Dead” Season 7 will still not mean lesser zombies. In contrast, the walkers are now more central to the show.
Greg Nicotero continued by stating that “The Walking Dead” Season 7 will be all about the conflict “of the good guys and the bad guys.”
The executive producer suggested that Rick Grimes and the residents of Alexandria will go up against Negan and the Saviors. Nevertheless, the zombies will still remain “relevant in the show.”
But what happens if an episode focuses too much on Rick Vs Negan? Greg Nicotero stated a lack of zombies will call for gags. The “TWD” EP teased that “there’ll be some awesome gags in it that you’ll just be blown away by” in “The Walking Dead” Season 7.
Greg Nicotero even admitted that he is already looking forward to filming new gags for the series soon.
“The Walking Dead” Season 7 has a lot to live up to after the massive number of zombies in the past season. “The Walking Dead” Season 6 premiered with thousands of walkers that needed to be led away from Alexandria.
“The Walking Dead” Season 6 also teased the deaths of Glenn Rhee and Daryl Dixon, although both characters survived. But will they survive past the premiere of “The Walking Dead” Season 7?
“The Walking Dead” Season 7 is expected to air on AMC on October 9.