One week after “Breaking Bad” delivered its jaw-exploding season finale, AMC has delivered once again in the form of “The Walking Dead.” The post-zombie apocalypse series crawled back onto television Sunday night, and it ended with one hell of a gut shot — literally.
In last night’s second-season premiere, Southern lawmen Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) spent much of the episode dodging zombies and trudging through the woods in search of a missing companion. Joined by Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs), the trio’s journey took a turn for the eerie when they stumbled upon a deer in the forest … a deer that was shot in cold blood seconds later, the victim of an unseen shooter. That deer wasn’t the only party injured, either: That very same bullet found its final destination in poor little Carl’s abdomen.
Shot in the stomach in the middle of nowhere with nothing but two men and who knows how many hidden zombies for company, Carl’s chances for survival are looking pretty slim. Regardless of whether or not he makes it, shooting a child in the belly certainly qualifies as crossing a line, but don’t fear for actor Chandler Riggs — according to “Walking Dead” comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, Chandler was very much onboard with the scene.
“Chandler, I think, was super-excited,” Kirkman told MTV News about the young actor’s reaction to hearing about his character’s fate. “He was like, ‘I’m going to get shot? This is great!’ Chandler is really into that stuff.”
Kirkman, who was on set during the shoot, described the process of filming Carl’s accident. “I got to witness what they were calling ‘Chandler Chucking,’ where they would basically pick him up by his pants and his jacket and then swing him onto a mat that was covered in leaves … he was totally into it.”
“Anytime you shoot a child onscreen, you have to make sure the kid is OK with it,” he joked. “I think most of that was digital effects.”
Beyond building a controversial, water-cooler moment out of shooting a child, Kirkman said that the scene represents another interesting aspect of adapting “Walking Dead” from comics to television.
“I think that’s the magic of the TV show, personified in that scene,” he said. “That [scene] is something that happens in the [early phase of the] comic book series, and it’s a shocking thing. You’re not expecting that kid to get shot. People who have read the comic know that it happens, but the way we got to that scene in the TV show was done in a way that even if you’re completely, 100 percent familiar with the comic book, you’re not watching that going, ‘I bet he’s about to get shot. This is the part where he gets shot.’ ”
“It shocks even me,” he continued. “I’ve seen that episode probably — I’m not going to exaggerate — 400 times already. I’m always sitting there watching it going, ‘OK, he smiles, and then the deer moves its ears, and then that gunshot’s coming, and then — oh God, no! It came!’ I can never really pinpoint when that gunshot is coming. It always really startles me. I think it’s a cool scene.”
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