'The Walking Dead' Star Andrew Lincoln Explains How He Became Rick Grimes

Way back in April, AMC ended speculation over who would play Rick Grimes in "The Walking Dead" television series by naming Andrew Lincoln the series' lead. Fan reaction was initially mixed, with many questioning the decision to cast a British actor as a Kentucky policeman — but the network quickly removed any doubts from fans' minds with the first batch of photos and footage from "The Walking Dead."

When Andrew Lincoln dropped by Splash Page HQ recently, I asked him about those first few weeks as the new face of Rick Grimes, and how he prepared himself to face both flesh-hungry zombies and "Walking Dead" fans.

"It was a big surprise to me as well," said Lincoln of landing the role. "I'm from London, I grew up in the West Country... But I think there was something that Frank responded to when I put myself on tape."

Lincoln went on to describe how he got into character as a native Southerner first, laying the foundation for what was to become the live-action version of Rick Grimes.

"I went out early, [because] if someone's going to offer you a role like this — this incredible part with an incredible channel like AMC — you want to get the basics right," he said. "Obviously, a dialect is a hugely important part, but I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to get a sense of place, so I went out early to Atlanta."

"I've played a New York lawyer before, so I knew the East Coast, and I also knew the West Coast, but I'd never been to the South, the southern states," he explained. "So I got out early, I got a sense of place, I spoke to people, [and] I worked with a very, very good dialect coach."

According to Lincoln, his practice in the role wasn't limited to his on-camera time, either.

"Frank [Darabont] asked me to be in dialect for the whole shoot," he said. "I practiced and practiced, and initially it felt a bit strange. It felt like i was an inch behind my actual personality, because you're filtering all these sounds and strange noises, and eventually it became incredibly normal."

"And as everybody knows," he laughed, "I have a lot more scary things to deal with than an accent playing Rick Grimes."

"The Walking Dead" premieres Halloween night, October 31, at 10 PM EST on AMC. The series stars Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Steven Yeun, among other notable actors. Keep it locked to Page all week for more "The Walking Dead" news, interviews, clips, and giveaways!

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