Frank Darabont Explains Why ‘The Walking Dead’ Team Chose Andrew Lincoln To Play Rick Grimes

Way back in June we got our first look at actor Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the main character of “The Walking Dead,” AMC’s upcoming television series based on Robert Kirkman’s celebrated comic.

When I visited the set of “The Walking Dead” later that month, I spoke to the series’ award-winning writer, director, and executive producer, Frank Darabont (“The Mist”) to get the scoop on why Lincoln was the right man to play former police officer Rick Grimes.

“Andy is so good in this. He has a fantastic ability to intrigue the viewer,” said Darabont. “It’s that Gary Cooper thing. You wonder what’s going on. You want to know what he’s thinking. He holds back just enough to draw you in — that’s a very rare knack for an actor.”

“You put this guy on a horse and he really does look like Gary Cooper. It’s great,” added Darabont.

In fact, the filmmaker said he realized early on that the story of a small group of survivors navigating a dangerous, zombie-filled America was more like a Western than he would’ve guessed coming into the project.

“I always kind of knew it, but it really came home as we’ve been shooting the last few days — it really does turn into a Western at times,” he explained. “You see [Lincoln] riding into the dusty streets of the town here, only it happens to be Atlanta with these skyscrapers, [and] it’s a very cool mix of visual elements.”

“There’s a little John Ford meets ’I Am Legend’ thing going on here,” he laughed.

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