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Live blog: 'Walking Dead' panel at Comic-Con

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Zombies from 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC

11.22am: Welcome to our live coverage of the panel for The Walking Dead, AMC's new six-part zombie drama. A reminder that all times in this blog are PT (UK -8 hours, NY -3 hours).

11.23am: As usual, add any comments or feedback as we go along by using the usual form at the end of this entry.

11.27am: While you're waiting, be sure to check out our interviews with the cast to get more of a feel for the show. Sarah Wayne Callies was very nice.

11.28am: She also gave us her thoughts on the ending of Prison Break, which we're planning to post separately later but have just realised will probably come up during this panel. Oh well.

11.31am: Special credit to the Comic-Con organizers for providing a decent wifi connection this year. Last year's effort provoked tears.

11.33am: At last, the panel begins! The moderator introduces the show's creative team: AMC exec Joel Stillerman, makeup guru Greg Nicotero, comics creator Robert Kirkman, ep Gale Anne Hurd and ep/writer/director Frank Darabont.

11.36am: Praise from Hurd for the comic series. "Frank and I felt really honoured to be able to collaborate with Robert and keep him involved in the series as much as possible. In fact the episode we're shooting now, 104, Robert wrote."

11.38am: Darabont says he loved the idea of "doing something bold" for television. Stillerman talks about the international deal with Fox to launch The Walking Dead around the world simultaneously in October.

11.40am: "I never really expected [the comic] to be adapted at all," says Kirkman. "I didn't want to do a movie for obvious reasons, and TV always seemed like a tough sell. But AMC got behind it and pushed the limits. It's remarkable. You hear horror stories about adaptations, but every step along the way it's been perfect. I feel blessed, I guess."

11.41am: Nicotero talks a bit about creating the zombie look. He talked to us about this yesterday, but due to time limitations we had to cut it from our video. It sounds like quite an entertaining process though, so we'll try to get that out there for you at some point.

11.42am: Hurd reveals that comic artist Charlie Adlard played a zombie in one episode.

11.44am: Darabont asked how faithful the TV show is. "I've always said I think the template left by Mr Kirkman is an extremely good one, but I've also said that we should take every interesting detour we fancy taking. As long as we follow in the long term what Robert's done. What that's leading to is a lot of cool ideas that will surprise the hardcore fans of the comic. There's a lot of stuff happening that they're not going to see coming."

11.46am: Kirkman: "That was important to me because I didn't want people watching the show and say 'oh, I know what's coming next'. They're doing a good job of taking the best parts of the comic, expanding them and adding new things."

11.47am: Stillerman on Walking Dead's fit with the AMC lineup (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.): "It fits in because it's phenomenal storytelling, which makes it a quintessential AMC show. From a programming point of view, it's launching in FearFest. We're thrilled to have it."

11.49am: Darabont announces Bear McCreary as the new composer for the show. Much applause.

11.51am: First trailer for the series. Scene where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is shot and goes into a coma, then wakes in the hospital after the zombie apocalypse. "The world he knew - gone."

11.54am: Looking by all accounts, awesome. Huge cheers from the crowd.

11.55am: Darabont talks about casting. Says he likes bringing in people he's worked with before. "Then we went through the normal casting process, which was quite a journey. I'm in awe of the cast and the work they're doing. I'm not just being polite, this is an amazing group of people."

11.56am: Cast comes out: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies (henceforth known as SWC), Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden and Emma Bell.

11.57am: Lincoln: "Rick is a sheriff's deputy. He works in a rural district of Georgia. He's a decent honorable man, he gets shot and wakes up in a zombie apocalypse. As you do. Throughout the course of the season, he gets eroded. It's one of the most exciting characters to play because he changes morally."

11.58am: SWC: "I play Lori Grimes. She's Rick's wife and Carl's mum, she's a woman who's trying to protect their humanity. She's trying to make sure that just being alive is what we're doing and that we retain our rituals of being human."

11.59am: Bernthal: "Shane Walsh is Rick's best friend and partner. He does everything he possibly can to honour his best friend." Cue laughter from the audience.

12.00pm: Holden: "I play Andrea. She's a lawyer from Florida that went on a roadtrip with her baby sister Amy. On this roadtrip, the apocalypse happens. She's trying to keep it together and take care of her sister."

12.01pm: Bell: "Amy is the younger sister of Andrea. She got caught up in this zombie apocalypse going back to college. She's now in this camp and she doesn't really know what's going on most of the time."

12.02pm: Hurd points out Michael Rooker sitting in the front row. He's just joined the cast.

12.03pm: Lincoln says he hadn't read the comic books before, but went to his local store in Camden to find out more. "I started reading it and it's extraordinary. The world Robert's written, the script from Frank... it's beautiful."

12.05pm: SWC says she'd never read a comic book or seen a horror movie before doing the show. Adds that she woke up this morning shaking. "[This show] has ruined my life."

12.07pm: Holden claims it's been 152 degrees as they've been filming in Atlanta. Darabont adds that he's lost 15lbs through sweat. "It's the AMC dietplan," jokes SWC.

12.08pm: Nicotero jokes that at lunchtime, the cast sit on one side of the room and the zombies on the other. "No-one wants to eat with the zombies," he notes.

12.10pm: Bernthal on Shane/Rick dynamic: "You'll see a bit of our relationship before the apocalypse. Andrew Lincoln is a wonderful actor and I know everybody says stuff like this. He's a wonderful man to be leading us here."

12.11pm: Slightly distracted. Zombies have just lurched past me. They're approaching the stage. Slowly.

12.13pm: Lincoln: "Jon is Shane. He's one of the greatest actors I've worked with. It sounds trite to say this but I love every single person on this table." Recalls spending two weeks hanging out with Bernthal in Atlanta before filming began.

12.14pm: The moderator notices the zombies, who have now reached the stage.

12.15pm: First audience question. Why Georgia instead of LA? He's complaining. "It was written for Georgia," says Darabont. "The locations worked well for us, and also if California ever gets its shit together to offer us a tax break... the eagle f**king screams, we're stretching the dollar so tight."

12.16pm: He adds: "So write to Schwarzenegger. Everyone here!" SWC praises the crew in Atlanta. Audience heckles the questioner to sit down.

12.17pm: Another audience member asks how they're going to deal with what happens to Carl. Says Darabont: "We're not there yet. We'll handle it sensitively. I don't want to traumatise the shit out of some kid on the set!"

12.19pm: Nicotero says they haven't reigned back on the gore. "We're dedicated to making this as authentic as we can. AMC is known for pushing the envelope." Hurd adds that the reel we were shown earlier was toned down because Comic-Con is a family convention.

12.21pm: Kirkman confirms that Glyn and Dale are both on the show. "I can't wait to get to Michelle," adds Darabont. "But patience. I'm thinking maybe some time in the second season. And Tyrese too."

12.22pm: "I'm the luckiest girl in the world," says Holden. "Jeff DeMunn (Dale) is an incredible actor. He's such an example of kindness and grace." Bell adds that she's given him the nickname Gandalf. "He stands there stoically and then spurts these words of wisdom."

12.24pm: Audience member asks if they've given any thought to directors for season two. "Yes," confirms Darabont, then hints at George Romero. "We all have friends whose work we admire greatly."

12.25pm: Darabont says they had actors come in to read for Morgan. It eventually went to Lennie James, but he says that as part of that process they found lots of potential actors for Tyrese.

12.26pm: Darabont says they have floated the idea of doing a B&W version of the pilot for the DVD release. "It's a distinct possibility," says Stillerman.

12.27pm: Question about role of music in the show. Darabont calls Bear onto stage. "The one thing we're all desperate not to do is be obvious," says Darabont, "and that's why we asked Bear to join us." Bear: "The thing that drew me to this story is that it's a character drama that happens to be set in the zombie apocalypse. I'm scoring it like a drama but there are some times where you have to do the obvious thing once in a while. It's going to be a really beautiful sound and not at all the sound you've heard associated with zombie stories in tthe past."

12.30pm: Much praise from SWC for the young actor playing her son, Carl.

12.31pm: Second play of the teaser trail, and that's a wrap on this panel. Thanks for joining us. We'll be back around 2.15pm with coverage of the panel for new hero drama The Cape!

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