TWD's Sarah Wayne Callies Recalls Andrew Rothenberg Making The Cast Cry Laughing

Given the rash of spin-offs, cast-offs, and knockoffs it has inspired, it's easy to forget "The Walking Dead" was widely seen as one of the more thrillingly original series ever produced for the small screen when it debuted. It was also one of the more under-the-radar productions in TV land at the time, with Frank Darabont shuffling off to Atlanta to shoot the first season with little fanfare and not much in the way of expectation. Thankfully, he did so with a cast and crew willing to go to great lengths to bring the savage world of Robert Kirkman's beloved source material to life.

Sarah Wayne Callies was, of course, one of the series' original core cast members, portraying Lori Grimes over the first three seasons of "The Walking Dead." Though the character proved divisive among certain sects, Callies' work in the role was often highlight-reel worthy, including her unfathomably brutal series exit. As tough as that scene must've been to film, Callies made no particular secret of how challenging the show often was to shoot in the early days during a 2012 Reddit AMA session. And she admitted one particularly hard day on set was saved only by the well-timed prank of then co-star Andrew Rothenberg. "Andy Rothenberg had a day on set that absolutely killed us," she said, later noting that said prank eventually had the wound-up cast cry-laughing, stating, "It brought us all to tears, we were cracking up so hard."

Rothman's antics kept the mood light on a brutal day of shooting for The Walking Dead cast

For those who've forgotten, Andrew Rothenberg plays survivor Jim in the first season of "The Walking Dead." And his tale of survival easily ranks among the saddest of that original group. It seems the actor never let the weight of his character's survivor's guilt bring him down, however. And as Sarah Wayne Callies claimed, his ability to keep things light helped the cast get through a particularly grueling day of shooting.

As Callies recounted on Reddit, "We were shooting a scene in 105 [degree temperatures] where everyone contemplates Amy's death and tries to figure out what do to so she doesn't become a walker. It was HOT. Atlanta HOT — that special kind of heat that fries your skin and makes it hard to think straight... and we'd been out there for hours, making the scene." Callies goes on to say the scene mattered all the more to the cast as it was the last for Emma Bell, who played Amy during Season 1. The actor adds, "There was so much emotion, so much tension and exhaustion." 

Thankfully, Callies claims Rothenberg seized on a chance to lighten the mood. "And then in the middle of a take," she said, "Andy Rothenberg looks over his shoulder at Jon Bernthal, blows him a kiss, and mouths the words 'I love you.'" The hilarious move apparently brought the house down, with Callies stating, "I thought Jon was going to have a heart attack; he was trying so hard not to laugh," and that the mood-lightening prank was "just what we needed."