Monday, March 26, 2012

Q&A Session with Walking Dead "Walker" Steve Warren

Hello my dear friends. As I mentioned before in my last post, we're (mainly ME until I get some volunteers to work with me) going to do some Q&A sessions with some great people from the world of nerddom including comic creators, actors, artists, comedians, authors and the like. Well, we finally "popped our interview cherry" with a chat with actor, author, and Walking Dead Walker, Steve Warren...He is a really funny and interesting guy, so enjoy the interview and be sure to check out his body of work!!

Steve Warren

First of all, so fans recognize you, What W.D. episode(s) do you appear in?

Steve Warren: The only one where you get a good look at me is Episode 201 (the first episode of Season Two). Rick and Shane go into a church and find three Walkers preying (pun intended). I'm the one Rick kills with a machete through the skull. They cut out the part where I had him by the throat when he cut me. They also didn't show me lying in a pool of blood on the floor afterward, but I spent a day that way on the set, in case they decided to use an angle that included me.

I worked on several episodes of Season One, from eating horse entrails at the end of the first and beginning of the second episode to lying outside the CDC in the last. They filmed me chasing Rick and Glenn up a fire escape but didn't use any of those takes. The way the scene aired I was in the group of Walkers below the fire escape but there was no one climbing behind them.
The famous scene where Rick kills "Walker" Steve Warren

How did the Thinhead nickname come to be?

SW: The short answer is that when I needed an Internet screen name I resurrected my d.j. name from college radio. "Thinhead" hosted a Saturday night rock-and-roll show for losers (like me) who couldn't get dates.

The long answer involves crashing the cast party of a touring show that played on campus, and a once-famous actress (Sylvia Sidney) telling me, before one or both of us passed out drunk, "You have the thinnest head I've ever seen." I met her a decade or so later and told her the story. She denied it but, dog lover that she was, said I did resemble a Borzoi.

How much time did you have to spend in character each day? Did ya get to drive home from the set in walker makeup?

SW: I'm not a method actor so I was only in character when the cameras were rolling. If you mean in wardrobe and makeup, that was the first thing we did in the morning and the last thing we did at night, often 12-hour days or longer. If we were wearing contacts we could sometimes take those out during lunch.

We often talked about wanting to go home or to the club or even the supermarket in Walker drag, but they wouldn't let us leave until they got every last bit off of us. I was jealous when I heard a rocker say on Talking Dead he had gotten to wear his gear home when he played a Walker. It depends on who you know. But seriously, I guess there were safety issues as well as the confidentiality factor.

Besides having a chance to work on one of the most popular shows in history, and getting a ton of Facebook friends, and camaraderie with other walkers, what else have you gotten out of working on this show?

SW: I got to call Andrew Lincoln "Andy" and I got a few paychecks, but you probably hit the top three. Oh, meeting some of the other people too: Frank Darabont, Ernest Dickerson, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, Steven Yuen (names listed alphabetically)...

SS: Are you a fan of the show? Who is your favorite character?

SW: Of course I'm a fan! It's hard to pick a favorite because what's so interesting about the show is how your sympathies keep changing. I used to like Rick but, even though I've forgiven him for the machete, he sure showed his dark side toward the end of the season. There's justification for everything he did and zombie apocalypses do things to people, but the Rick we loved in 101 wouldn't have done the things he did in 213. I can't wait to see who I like next season, but it's best not to get too attached to anyone.

Has the exposure of this show advanced your acting career?

SW: It may have helped me get featured parts in TV movies like Level Up (the pilot for the series) as a Ghoul and My Future Boyfriend as "Tinfoil Man," because I earned a reputation for being dependable and easy to work with, and for not minding how much they torture me with makeup and stuff. But last fall I moved from Atlanta to Sarasota, Florida, where there's a lot less going on, and it's taking a while to establish myself. I still get called back to work in Atlanta occasionally, but being 500 miles away doesn't move me to the top of anyone's list.

The Walking Dead and cast is huge on the convention scene. Have you been a guest at any of the cons?

SW: No. Friends like Sonya Thompson and Larry Mainland seem to be doing them every weekend, but they were lucky enough to have been used in early publicity photos for the series. I wouldn't mind doing some cons but no one's asked me. I'm just not in the loop.

SS: Besides The Walking Dead, you have appeared in dozens of really well known films such as The Blind Side and the upcoming Three Stooges film. What are some of your favorite films you were involved in and who were some of your favorite actors/actresses to work with?

SW: At the end of the day, an actor's love for a project is directly proportional to the amount of screen time (or money, or maybe awards) he gets from it. Because I get better roles in independent films, those are some of my favorites. The one feature I'm top-billed in is Scarce, an independent horror flick. We shot it five years ago during a cold Canadian winter, with a great, mostly young cast and crew. There were two writer-directors, each of whom has a new project coming out this year. Check the trailer on YouTube: (SteveS added it at end of interview too). I'm a cannibal in Scarce and some kind of zombie cannibal in Lynch Mob, in which I get killed four or five times. It's a horror comedy that no one saw because a new distributor botched the release. One of my favorite shorts is The Ecstatic Truth, in which I play a director based on Werner Herzog.

All my work in major films has been as a "background artist," as we pretentious extras call ourselves. I've worked on more than a hundred of them, starting with Oliver Stone's The Doors, but I've only been recognizable in a handful - shaking hands with Burt Reynolds in Striptease and Kenneth Branagh in Warm Springs, spilling a bedpan on Queen Latifah in Joyful Noise and a few more. Otherwise my scenes were cut out or you have to know where in the crowd to look for me. I describe my role in The Doors as "the 428th dot from the left" in the audience at a concert, but I got hooked working on that one.

Extras aren't supposed to talk to the "real" actors because they need to be able to focus, so usually the best experiences are the ones where I'm in a small enough scene that the stars introduce themselves and maybe we even chat a little. The first movie I worked on in Atlanta was HBO's Boycott, and that was a great experience for a lot of reasons. For one, the stars, Jeffrey Wright and Terrence Howard, came over and sat with some of us extras at lunch. I guess it was appropriate when we were making a movie about the Civil Rights struggle, not to be classist; but that was very unusual.

SS: In my research, I found that you appeared in one of my all time favorite comedy films, Run Ronnie Run. I as a comedy nerd, HAVE to ask how working on that set was? Was it all business? I'd imagine it was a blast with all of those brilliant comedy minds on that set (yourself included)?

SW: Wow, that takes me back a ways. I know Doug Peterson (who has since moved to Hollywood to be a producer) and I spent several hours in a car with M.C. Gainey, who was pretty cool. I don't remember whether Gainey played the governor or the head of the governor's security, but Doug and I were bodyguards working with him. I'm not sure if you can see us in the picture but at one point we jumped out of the car with our guns drawn.

I like comedy too, but I'm afraid I'm not as big a fan of this one as you are, although of course I like a lot of other things David Cross and Bob Odenkirk have done. I wasn't close enough to the funny people to share in whatever fun they were having. Comedy is serious business, so there's sometimes more fooling around - to break the tension - on a dramatic set than a comedy, except when the cameras are rolling.

SS: Any good stories you can share from Run Ronnie Run filming?

I remember standing in the crowd for take after take after take (add at least a dozen more "after take"s) of the scene where David Cross as Ronnie farts the alphabet. The sound effects were added later. Not one of my favorite experiences, but it could have been worse. I wasn't close enough to smell the farts.

SS: You are not only an actor, but a writer too. What don't you do (HaHa)?

SW: That depends on who I'm with. Are you from the National Enquirer?

SS: Any exciting new projects on the horizon?

SW: I wish! I was teased with a possibility a few weeks back but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. What makes actors so insecure is never knowing what's coming up. When we're "between engagements" we feel like we'll never work again. I might kill myself tomorrow morning, then get three job offers in the afternoon. Of course people with "real jobs" are just as insecure these days.

SS: What is your personal highlight of your career, to date?

Here's a creepy shot of Steve from the movie Scarce
SW: The Scarce premiere at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto. There were about 600 in the audience and they were very enthusiastic. After the movie the filmmakers got up and spoke to the crowd, and then they introduced me. The crowd cheered as I went up to the stage. I grabbed the mic and said, "In the States when a villain does a good job we don't cheer, we boo. You Canadians are too fucking polite!" Of course the cheers turned to boos, and I felt like a rockstar!

Another Scarce screenshot
I stayed at the home of one of the filmmakers that night, and his dog, Otis, curled up on my bed. My one dog night proved that a star doesn't sleep alone after a premiere.

Is there anything you would like to add or plug?

I wish I had something to plug besides my availability. Maybe someone could start a Facebook page to get me to host SNL?

I'd like to thank my friend Steve Warren for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Be sure to check out more of his work. Click Here for his his IMDB page to get more info.  Horror fans, I know you will love the movie Scarce, if you haven't seen it yet. Here's the trailer:

Coming soon, we will have a quick interview with the creator of the Pokeweed comic strip, Drew Pocza! Drew will be appearing at Emerald City Comic Con next weekend, so be sure to stop by and say hi! Also, I still want to find a sweet header logo for this blog, so shoot me some ideas people!

Thats it for now. Thanks for reading. Please share me.


Twitter: @thestevestrout