Remember that halcyon day back on The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 13 when all anyone did was talk and we had no idea most of the people on screen would be dead soon?
That was the day Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) refused to flash his stump for Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts) — “at least buy me a drink first” — Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) called Milton “the butler,” Milton called Daryl “the henchman,” and Daryl quipped, “You better watch your mouth, sunshine.”
No one watched his mouth that episode, since “Arrow on the Doorpost” was the one where The Governor (David Morrissey) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) first met face to face and flashed their peacock feathers. It’s also when Daryl and Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) bonded outside in a zombie killing contest. Just two soldiers on opposite sides of the trenches trading war stories.
Why revisit this day? Because it’s one of Jose Pablo Cantillo’s favorite memories of his too-brief stint on The Walking Dead. His character managed to walk-of-shame his way out of The Governor’s life on Season 4, Episode 6, only to see One-Eye Bri return with a vengeance, and steal his camp leadership position. Never get drunk on a trailer roof while playing golf! That’s the lesson there.
Jose had a little exit interview with AMC, and they asked for some of the memories he’ll cherish from TWD. He answered, “In Episode 13 of Season 3, it was a nice day with Norman Reedus. We’re having that kill-off episode, with who can kill the most zombies. It was a beautiful day; I remember it was November, the sun was nice, the lighting was beautiful and it was this really cool urban decay effect going on. We were literally just sharing a smoke, two guys just shooting the shit. You kind of felt like you didn’t have to act anything.”
Daryl just has natural bromance chemistry with every man in the zombie apocalypse. It’s a gift.
Enough with the good times, though. Jose also shared some behind-the-scenes intel on Martinez’s dramatic death scene, when he was swallowed up by walkers.
“I was upside down and quite disoriented,” Jose said. “At one point, one of the walkers actually took a clump of my hair out, during the stunt itself. So I think a piece of me was buried in that pit for real. It’s a little tribute there for the character. David Morrissey is holding onto a harness of mine, and he kind of just lifts me up. I look like I’m struggling, but really I’m just kind of crab-walking my way over to the pit. Which is really a mind-blow; you want to fight for your character and you want to survive, and at the same time, you have to crab walk over to your demise. There was one take where I did dig my heels in when we hit the grass and that’s actually one of the takes I use because David Morrissey stumbles and then he just drags me the last five or six feet. It was intense.”
We didn’t give the mechanics of it a whole lot of thought at the time, but Jose said there was so much going on between the camera running around the crane, the RV swaying, plus a whiskey bottle and other props to juggle. “That scene was such a complex dance in terms of continuity that I decided not to think about it, and instead what I decided to do was try to hit one of the balls and see if I could get it to land in one of the pits with extras playing walkers in it. I came close.”
If we were playing some of those extras in the pit and a golf ball hit us in the head, we might literally run over there and bite him. But we’re sorry to see him go. Back on Season 3 we thought maybe Martinez might leave The Dark Side and join Team Prison. He wasn’t too different from a Dixon brother, at his core. He just ended up on the wrong side.
Do you wish Martinez had defected to Team Prison and traded quips with Daryl and company, or was he too ruthless for our group?
The Walking Dead Season 4 returns with Episode 9 on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.