Sunday marks the debut of the third season of the television adaptation of The Walking Dead, the best-known work of acclaimed comic book writer and Central Kentucky native Robert Kirkman.
Anticipation is high as the dramatic horror series has exploded into a major hit for the AMC network, which ordered 16 episodes this season. That's up from six in its first season and 13 in its second.
The Herald-Leader recently spoke with Chandler Riggs, 13, who plays Carl Grimes, the son of zombie- fighting protagonist Rick Grimes. Riggs visited Lexington last month for the annual ScareFest convention.
The Walking Dead follows the story of a band of the apparently few people who survived a zombie apocalypse as they make their way through Georgia. The first season focused on the motley crew's flight to and from Atlanta; the second season mainly had them holed up on a farm trying to figure out their next move.
When last seen, Carl and the other survivors had ventured from the farm and were near a prison, which played a pivotal role in the comic books that launched the series and is expected to be a major setting in the TV drama's third season.
Here are highlights of the conversation with Chandler:
On the third season: "It's an unbelievable experience. The set designers built all of the prison, so it's really, really cool. It's just amazing filming the show. I'm blessed to work with all these amazing actors as well. It's been an amazing experience.
"You can expect a lot more action this season. Last year was more developing the characters, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. This year, they've finished developing most of the characters. We've got some new characters coming in. It's a lot of fun. The first two episodes, I think, are the best yet. I can't wait for everyone to see it."
On the show becoming so popular: "I really had no idea. When I auditioned for The Walking Dead, I just thought, 'Yeah, right. It's a zombie TV show. It'll never be made.'"
On being a child in a horror show: "I started reading the comics after I auditioned for it. The comics are a little made for older people. My parents just let me watch it freely. It's cool. I don't think they were really worried."
On his favorite episode: "I really liked and had a lot of fun with the one where the zombies took over the farm (the season two finale, "Beside the Dying Fire"). There were a lot of late nights. It was just a blast to film. They added on an extra day to the shooting because it was just so much that we had to do. They had six or seven cameras in that episode. We usually have two or three cameras, and they were shooting different angles of everything."