The cast and crew of AMCâ€™s hit television show "The Walking Dead" are used to working with stumbling, lifeless corpses. Rowdy, liquored up Milwaukeeans, on the other hand, are a very different story. At least thatâ€™s the way it seemed as a large crowd of vocal fans welcomed Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie) and producer/director/make-up artist Greg Nicotero to the Riverside Saturday night.
Thatâ€™s certainly not to say that it wasnâ€™t a fun event. Instead, it was like three separate events â€“ one-third thoughtful behind-the-scenes discussion, one-third intimate night out with the cast, one-third chaotically entertaining fangasm â€“ inelegantly mashed into a single 90-minute session. The drunken mayhem (if the stars are to be believed, the 7:00 show was a far more sober affair) meant the celebrity sit-down probably didnâ€™t fulfill every Dead-headâ€™s desire, but it was sure to leave everyone with at least an amused smile planted on their face.
After showing a few clips from the current season (which, as Nicotero pointed out, received crowd interaction on a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" level), the cast took their seats on the couches â€“ or on Nicoteroâ€™s lap, in Reedusâ€™s case â€“ scattered on the stage. Master of ceremonies Kyle Ryan from the A.V. Club got the conversation going with a few questions, mainly about how the cast members got involved with the monster hit and the rigors of shooting in the killer heat of Atlanta.
Keeping both the cast and the crowd on track, however, would prove to be a futile mission. From the beginning of the night, Reedus was the most easily distracted. Most of the time, the culprit was the crowd, yelling out dedications of love to their favorite star and summoning multiple rounds of PBR up to the stage (by the end of the night, there were about ten Tall Boys scattered around the stage). Other times, it was simply Reedusâ€™s microphone, which he couldnâ€™t stop fiddling with throughout the evening.
Even with all of the distractions and yelling, for the first hour, Ryan drew interesting answers and entertaining anecdotes from his star-studded panel. Though a bit scatterbrained, Reedus provided several humorous comments and fun behind-the-scenes tales, namely a discussion about Darylâ€™s treasured crossbow and the convoluted "math problem" of filming the action in "The Walking Dead." One of the biggest problems? The weaponsâ€™ Nerf gun-like sounds that kill any sense of badassery the actors might feel like a bullet to a zombieâ€™s brain.
As one might expect, it was Nicotero, the lone non-actor in the group, who provided most of the nitty-gritty technical details that hardcore fans were probably hoping to hear. He explained some of the showâ€™s most intricate and impressive make-up effects â€“ mainly involving blood-filled condoms â€“ and background stories, both amusing and informative, about the showâ€™s creation and development. His discussions about the emotion and psychology of the zombie genre even managed to silence the boisterous crowd (for a little bit, at least).
Yeun fell somewhere perfectly in the middle of Reedusâ€™s distractedness and Nicoteroâ€™s braininess, providing answers that were equal parts entertaining and informative. He stole the show with his story about a harrowing run-in with a frisky tick that ended up in places no insect should be found. It was a hilarious tale, albeit horrifying for the gentlemen in the audience.
Reedusâ€™s tale of saving an actual person trapped in a car accident â€“ after a filming-related head injury no less â€“ and Nicoteroâ€™s explanation of how actors find out (or donâ€™t find out) their characters are getting the bullet come in a close tie for second.
Itâ€™s easy to tell Yeun, a relative newcomer, is grateful for his breakthrough role and the fans that helped make him a star. He was very cordial throughout the evening, thanking the fans in several of his answers. He had plenty of fun with the fans as well. After his Michigan origins received a fair amount of jeers from the audience, he egged the crowd on by saying thanks for Prince Fielder.
Maybe he loves his fans too much, however. During the Q&A section of the night, one particular member of the crowd yelled to Yeun that he was "delicious" â€“ one of the few contributions from the audience that was worthy of a laugh. The actor leapt into the seats, found his adoring fan and took a question from the man.
It turned out to be a misguided decision as the Q&A went from a calm set of pre-submitted audience questions to a chaotic free-for-all. The rest of the cast followed Yeunâ€™s lead and came out to the crowd to take questions.
The fans ate them up like, well, zombies. The questions mainly consisted of silly fanboy inquiries ("How would you do in a zombie apocalypse?" "Will you party with us later?"), which were loudly booed down by the fans. Questions and answers were yelled over one another. Reedus disappeared entirely.
The evening turned to mayhem, but it was always fun, memorable mayhem, and the game cast made the best out of the crazy crowd. Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™d rather deal with some overeager hooligans than a bunch of dead-eyed walkers.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published July 25, 2016
Comic-Con had a lot to reveal this past weekend, from Marvel and DC, to movies and television, "The Walking Dead" and Netflix's superhero shows, a new Blair Witch and some insanely vulgar food. Here's the important stuff to know.
Published July 24, 2016
Sequels are not why we love Pixar, why that name for many has become seemingly a genre of its own and a deeply trusted one at that. But, as "Finding Dory" proves, while sequels may not be what Pixar does best, they still do them better than most.
Published July 21, 2016
Boston and Styx may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of Italian culture and heritage. But what Bostyx lacks in Italian cred, they hope to make up for in rocking classic tunes at their Festa Italiana set this weekend.
Published July 20, 2016
2016 tragically claimed yet another entertainment giant Tuesday, as television and film writer-producer-director Garry Marshall passed away in Burbank, Calif., at the age of 81, from complications of pneumonia following a stroke.
Published July 19, 2016
Deadline Hollywood reported this morning that Netflix ordered another season of the now Emmy-nominated docu-series and that it is currently in production under the watch of returning executive producer/director tandem Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos.
Published July 14, 2016
Before he comes to The Pabst Theater on Monday night, we chatted with legendary film director John Carpenter about his new tour, his new music, his newfound critical appreciation and the new "Halloween" movie he'll help bring to life.
Published July 12, 2016
"The Secret Life of Pets" sounds so much like it was cribbed from Pixar's notes, it's hard to believe Pixar didn't make it first - until you replace "pets" with "toys" and realize they did. Considering the fluffy 90-minute result, though, you likely won't mind.
Published July 11, 2016
Did you have a good weekend? Yes? Well, Milwaukeean and Adele fan Kathleen Dohearty's was better, as she got to join the crooning pop star on stage for a duet of "Someone Like You" last night in Chicago.
Published July 10, 2016
Upon first glance, there wouldn't seem to be much common ground between Saturday night's co-headliners Weezer and Panic! At the Disco. And after Saturday night ... yeah, there wasn't much. But that doesn't mean they didn't put on a heck of a show.
Published July 9, 2016
From country to rock to blues to ... a Nick Jonas/The Weeknd mash-up (?), Elle King's Summerfest set was full of zigging when you expected it to zag. Yet through it all, with King leading the charge, it all worked and totally made sense.