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TWD Zombie Makeup Is So Realistic James Allen McCune Almost Punched An Extra BTS

Despite the fact that the walkers themselves become almost an afterthought in later seasons of "The Walking Dead" (as the humans roaming this post-apocalyptic world are far more sadistic and deadly), the series is well-known for having some of the most elaborately crafted zombie makeup in the entire industry.

The final product is some of the most convincing zombies in all of film and television — so convincing in fact, that actor James Allen McCune said he almost punched an extra out of fright. "The actors have this table set up that's full of every kind of snack you can think of ... the walkers have their own personal [snack] table because usually there's so many of them they need their own," McCune explained in a Reddit AMA. "Well sometimes either they would get confused, or I would get confused and go to the wrong table ... I had one guy ask for some crackers one time and when I turned to give him some I almost punched him in the mouth."

Considering how infamously detailed the zombie makeup is on "The Walking Dead," it's no wonder why McCune reacted this way — though it certainly would have put a damper on lunch if he started punching all the "walkers" that wandered towards his table.

The walkers are trained to act a certain way, which makes them so realistic

Although it seems hard to believe that a "Walking Dead" cast member might be fooled by the walkers and their makeup, it's worth noting the sheer level of detail that goes into creating all the zombies in the franchise. Special effects designer and director Greg Nicotero explained to Vulture in 2015 that the show's groundbreaking prosthetic makeup is only one reason why these zombies look so believable: the series also utilizes a so-called "Zombie School" to help them move like a walker.

"I spend an entire day auditioning people, putting them through some exercises in terms of how fast they walk, what their character is, what their personality is, explain to them that in many instances, their performance can make or break a scene," Nicotero said. He added that the best "walkers" are actors who bring a lot of character to their respective movements, comparing the process to Boris Karloff's embodiment of Frankenstein's monster.

Nicotero specifically referenced the zombified girl in the park from Season 1, who brought an intense level of sympathy and grief to the scene as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) regretfully executed her. These "walkers" are actors in their own right, and their performances help to inform the emotions (and fear) of the cast around them. So it's no wonder that James Allen McCune was scared out of his mind when one of these creatures showed up at the craft table — even if they only wanted some crackers, not human flesh.