Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) pulls of a pretty impressive American accent each week when The Walking Dead is in season, so it’s not surprising that his initial audition for the show’s producers was just as awe-inspiring. In fact, after watching Andy’s audition, co-executive producer Gale Anne Hurd didn’t even realize he was British!
Per Variety, TWD casting directors Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas asked Gale and producer/ Season 1 showrunner Frank Darabont to watch an audition tape on their website, and Gale remembers being “blown away” by Mr. Lincoln. She even noted that at least 100 actors read for Rick before they stumbled upon Andy.
“We didn’t know where he was from,” she continued. “Then we got on the phone, and that’s when they told us that he was from the U.K. Frank gave him some direction, he retaped himself, and AMC said, ‘Let’s fly him over.’” And, as they say, the rest is history!
Variety notes that part of the reason Brits (and Aussies etc.) are increasingly playing Americans on television is because, as executive producer of Showtime’s Masters of Sex Michelle Ashford states, “Britain has a huge tradition of acting.” She continues, “It’s incredibly respected there, so very well-trained actors quite often come out of there.”
For her part, Gale actually agrees with Michelle’s argument and thinks that American actors need more access to theatrical training. “We don’t have the same acting-school traditions that the U.K. does, so a lot of people work with individual acting coaches, but it’s not the same kind of tradition,” she points out. “I wish it would be addressed in the future so that people here have the same access to training.”
We agree that Americans should be afforded access to the same training, but we wouldn’t trade our Andy in for anything — he’s the perfect Rick!
Are you surprised that Gale had no idea Andy was British until after she watched his audition? Tell us your thoughts below!
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.