The Walking Dead Loves The Wire: Casting Directors Ignored Note to Stop Hiring More Actors
The Walking Dead producers have repeatedly mentioned their love for the TV show The Wire, and desire to cast everyone who has ever been affiliated with it. The first big casting announcement was Chad L. Coleman (Cutty in The Wire) as Tyreese in Season 3. TWD comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman even said there was no second choice for the role. It had to be Chad. In Season 4, they cast Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (D’Angelo Barksdale in The Wire) as Bob Stookey. And now Seth Gilliam (Det. Carver) has been added in Season 5 as Father Gabriel Stokes.
Gold Derby recently talked to TWD’s casting directors, Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas, who were just nominated for an Emmy for casting Breaking Bad. At one point, Gold Derby asked them to name which past show (that they didn't work on) has the best cast. They had the same answer, and it’s not exactly a shocker.
"Past has gotta be The Wire," Sharon said, turning to Sherry. "It's her goal in life to hire all those actors. We're getting to the point where we've had waiting rooms where you hear the guys out there 'Oh yeah this is the casting office that loves The Wire.' We've had three of them on The Walking Dead. Even when they told us we couldn't bring any more actors in from The Wire, we just didn't pay attention."
Considering how much the show’s producers love The Wire, we can’t imagine the stop signs came from them! But they’ve actually cast more than three Wire stars on the show. Vincent M. Ward, who played Oscar on TWD, was in an episode of The Wire; and Brandon Fobbs — who was in one episode of TWD Season 4 as Terry, best friend to Michonne’s boyfriend Mike — played Fruit on The Wire. TWD has also featured The Wire alumni behind the scenes — like Clark Johnson, who played double duty as City Editor Gus on The Wire and director of TWD Season 2’s “Nebraska,” plus other director/stunt crossovers.
Entertainment Weeklyrecently talked to Robert Kirkman about all The Wire stars, recalling how a few years ago RK said, “I’m just trying to get as many Wire alums on this show as possible.” Turns out, he wasn’t kidding. And, he added, “Hopefully there’s more to come. I’m looking at you, Idris Elba!” Yessss!
Are you glad the casting directors blew off whoever suggested TWD already has enough The Wire alums in the zombie apocalypse? Should they scroll through the cast list to find more stars for future seasons?