Characters on AMC’s The Walking Dead have always been lovable—and occasionally not so lovable—and this is entirely due to the outstanding performers that play them. Think about how the show may be different if Khary Payton had a significantly smaller role. Or if Sonequa Martin-Green won the role of Michonne instead of Danai Gurira. Or perhaps Andrew Lincoln was never cast in the part.
It turns out that this show’s bizarre other universe was more plausible than you might have thought. While some of your favourite The Walking Dead actors had to try out for other roles before getting their own, one actor didn’t even have to go through the audition process.
Alexandra Breckenridge Auditioned For A Pretend Character
From Season 5 to Season 6, Alexandria Breckenridge played Jessie Anderson, however the actor had no idea for what role she was even going to the audition. In actuality, Breckenridge was unaware of the name of her role until she arrived on set.
Breckenridge discussed her audition process with Hollywood Reporter, “I was reading for a character who was trying to sell the coffee business she owned while having recently been diagnosed with cancer. Finding someone who was both strong and weak was the whole goal.”
Ethan Embry Auditioned For Rick And Shane
In the first episode of Season 6 of The Walking Dead, Ethan Embry played Alexandria member Carter, who perished after that one episode at the hands of walkers. As a result, it might surprise you to learn that he nearly had a considerably bigger part on the show.
Embry, a devoted fan of the programme, initially read for the premiere episode, trying out for both Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh. Prior to getting the role of Carter, he continued to audition for several roles throughout the series.
Jon Bernthal Auditioned For Rick
In addition to trying out for the part of Shane Walsh, a police officer turned villain, Jon Bernthal also tried out for the starring role of Rick Grimes, a favourite of the audience.
AMC broadcast Bernthal and Andrew Lincoln’s audition videos as part of a 2020 The Walking Dead Season 1 marathon. They even went through the audition process together, but in the end, Lincoln was given the part of Rick, and Bernthal was given the part of Shane.
Khary Payton Auditioned For A Smaller Role
As King Ezekiel, Khary Payton made his The Walking Dead premiere in 2016 while perched on a throne next to a computer-generated tiger. However, if Payton had been cast in the role for which he initially auditioned, his TWD experience may have been drastically different.
Years before landing the part of King Ezekiel, Payton tried out for a character with no name who was rumoured to be from Woodbury, Georgia, the town from Season 3 where 73 survivors lived and was governed by the evil Governor.
Laurie Holden Auditioned For Lori
The Walking Dead’s original character Andrea lived until the Season 3 finale, when a walker bite caused her to pass away. The actress initially tried out for a role that would have given her a shorter run.
In the beginning, then-executive producer Frank Darabont requested Laurie Holden to attend an audition for the part of Lori Grimes, Rick’s wife and mother of Carl and Judith; nevertheless, she was eventually granted the role of Andrea.
Melissa McBride Didn’t Audition At All
The Walking Dead’s Carol has established herself as a main character, and unlike her comic book counterpart, Carol has remained on the show into its last season thanks to Melissa McBride’s evident talent. Fans of TWD may be aware that McBride didn’t even need to audition for the show, in contrast to the majority of her castmates.
McBride says she didn’t know anything about comic books when she was offered the job in the six-episode pilot season of Frank Darabont’s The Mist, which she played in for an 11-season run.
Norman Reedus Auditioned For Merle
Standing in a forest with weapons are Danai Gurira as Michonne and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon.
It’s reasonable to argue that actors like Norman Reedus, among others, contributed to The Walking Dead becoming what it is today. Badass In the third episode of the show, Daryl Dixon makes his appearance, but he almost didn’t.
Even though Michael Rooker had already been cast, Reedus was given the opportunity to audition for the role of Merle Dixon by the showrunners because of how strongly he wanted to be a part of it. This audition is what inspired the writers and producers of TWD to develop a completely new character just for Reedus, resulting in the appearance of Daryl Dixon.
Sonequa Martin-Green Auditioned For Michonne
It’s difficult to envision anyone other than Danai Gurira playing the quick and feisty Michonne, but that almost happened when Sonequa Martin-Green, who will play Sasha, entered the competition.
The casting directors of the show admitted that they fell in love with the actress during her audition for Michonne and went on to create the character of Sasha Williams, who doesn’t appear in the comics, just for her.
Ted Huckabee Auditioned Merle
Fans of The Walking Dead may recognise Ted Huckabee as Bruce, who appeared in 11 episodes over the course of four seasons until being hurt by a Savior’s walker-tainted weapon and going through a slow turn before deciding he needed a mercy-kill.
Huckabee initially sought out a more prominent place on the programme, putting in an audition for Merle Dixon. Despite the short lifespan of the character he landed, Huckabee holds the distinction of being one of only six supporting characters from TV shows to outlive their comic book counterparts.
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