Walking where the Walking Dead walk: Flashlight & A Biscuit, No. 30
A quick roll through redneck Hollywood
One of my all-time favorite show business anecdotes concerns “The Walking Dead,” the undying undead show. Seems that to lend the zombie scenes that extra layer of authenticity, propmasters would use chicken meat and barbecue sauce in the creation of “bodies.” The director would yell action, and the “zombies” would then dig into some poor fresh “corpse” and devour the innards with gusto.
A little too much gusto, as it turned out. The directors would notice that as the day wore on, the zombies seemed to be attacking the meat with decreasing fervor. Soon enough, they figured out the problem: the barbecue chicken just tasted too good.
Yes, the zombies stopped eating because their tummies got full.
The production had to switch to cold chicken to keep the “zombies” from eating themselves into a meat coma on-set. It’s one of many little Walking Dead tidbits you hear here in Georgia, home to that show and so many other movies and TV productions.
I tapped out on The Walking Dead right around the time Negan started going all Ronald Acuna Jr. on the heads of series stars. But zombies are enough of a cottage industry that not one but two new shows now exist in the Walking Dead Cinematic Universe. There’s “Fear The Walking Dead” and … and … and I honestly can’t remember the title of the newest one, but I’m going to assume it’s “Walking D3ad” and you can’t convince me otherwise.
There are at least three Walking Dead tours you can take to see famous spots where half-eaten people once shambled, the way my kids up there are doing in front of the infamous “Terminus” hideout. Here’s a convenient (and cool) Google map that shows you all the filming locations … at least up to 2017, when the mapmaker apparently got as bored with the show as I did.
Whether you like the show or not, I can’t deny it’s a kick seeing familiar locations show up there. For instance, take this highly dramatic and intense scene, filmed in downtown Atlanta right near State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (STRONG content warning if you’re not a zombie/violence fan):
You see that and you think, wow, that was a daring escape for Daryl and Carol! I see it and think, damn, son, you just dropped that van right in the middle of Hawks media parking! That’s a brilliant way to get around the traffic. I’m going to take that route the next time the Lakers are in town!
The movie industry is thriving in Atlanta despite some political hiccups that I will not discuss here. (Weird fact: turns out “Hollywood money” spends just fine in Georgia.) And if you’re an extra in this town, you can count on steady work, either biting people or just lurking in the background like a giant-foreheaded ninny. Who is that fool under the left exit sign, anyway?
(That was my stint in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a story I’ll tell another time. Short version: they didn’t think I looked like a sportswriter, so they made me a photographer.)
So many movies have filmed in Georgia, in fact, that they’ve started to overlap each other. Example: that Walking Dead van fell right into the area that was also used as the marketplace for the opening battle in Captain America: Civil War. Here, you can see (nerd sentence alert) the Scarlet Witch hurling Crossbones into the building that’s in the background of that Walking Dead scene:
And you don’t have to look too hard around town to find, say, the streets from Avengers: Infinity War, the Blue Cat Lodge from Ozark, or the Bad Moms kids’ gym where I’ve sat through endless birthday parties but never once saw Kristen Bell or Mila Kunis. It’s all pretty cool, and it damn sure makes for a better tour for out-of-town guests than yet another trip to The Varsity.
Anyway, now I’m hungry for barbecue chicken. Or maybe human flesh. They apparently taste the same.
See you this weekend with more SEC talk!
This has been issue #30 of Flashlight & A Biscuit. Check out all the past issues right here. And if you dug this, share it with your friends. Word-of-mouth is how we’re gonna grow this bad boy. Invite others to the party, everybody’s welcome.