"The Walking Dead" not only changed television history but also changed the lives of a great many actors who were involved in the iconic zombie series. There was, of course, the way that it transformed so many working actors into household names practically overnight. But there is also the factor of the relationships created during the show's 11 seasons.
Many of those friendships, in various forms, have already been reported on extensively. For example, on-screen father-son duo Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs have become friends. And the deep bond between Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) extends to the actors who play them too. McBride told Entertainment Weekly that she had a very hard time keeping her emotions in check while filming their final scene together.
“Melissa McBride is probably the thing I will miss the most about the show,” Khary Payton told the Knockturnal. “She is the greatest acting teacher I’ve ever had.” Payton played Ezekiel Sutton, first introduced as the Kingdom’s titular “king.” He and Carol meet, fall in love, and fight for survival together. It is only the death of their adopted son, Henry (Matt Lintz), that ultimately drives them apart.
Payton is certainly no greenhorn when it comes to acting technique. He’s been at it for more than 20 years, appearing on shows ranging from “Walker, Texas Ranger” to “General Hospital,” which is to say nothing of his impressive voice acting résumé. Melissa McBride, meanwhile, had had only a handful of roles before landing the role of Carol on “The Walking Dead.” Still, the best actors are always willing to learn — and to see each job as an opportunity to do so.
“I learned something beautiful and nuanced from her every time I’m on set with her,” Payton elaborated. “The thing is, she teaches you without even trying. She is a raw nerve and a live wire. … She takes and uses it and she’s pointed out things to me along the way that have just changed my perspective on a scene and the way that we interact with each other.”