Q: When you found out that Hershel was going to get bitten by a walker in the first episode, were you worried that was going to be it for him?
A: When Glen (Mazzara) told me they were going to chop my leg off, of course my first thought was, “Oh, there I go!” But just the opposite: He said he wanted someone with a disability and I understand that. When you look at the veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that have lost limbs, it makes sense that someone would have that as an issue. It’s also very interesting that Hershel was the first one to have survived a bite. The question I think for Hershel is whether he is going to become a liability for the group. Is he going to be able to carry his load?
Q: What kind of prosthetic did Greg Nicotero fashion for the scene?
A: They did a cast of my leg, Greg Nicotero and his group, and that’s the leg you see a part of after they chop it off in Episode 1. It’s a pretty brutal scene; I got some responses from people who were really taken aback by it!
Q: How do you think this disability will change the character — and your portrayal of him?
A: He needs to show that he is combat ready and that he can contribute. His age and his life experience helps a bit. But I’m hoping right now that sometimes he’ll have a prosthetic.
Q: Hershel’s got a lot more hair this year. Whose idea was it to make him look so unkempt?