Larry Mainland Interview with the First Walker of The Walking Dead
"If you have a dream, go for it!"
Larry Mainland is a professional actor and stuntman based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Best known as a featured zombie in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” Larry has been affectionately tagged "The GQ Zombie" after his notable “undead” appearances in world-famous fashion publication- GQ Magazine. His infamous “Walking Dead Walker” image was the first to be released from the set before the show aired and has since been used extensively for advertising by AMC in the US and in more than one hundred and thirty five countries by Fox International and others.
- First , it is a pleasure to have you , Larry , here for The-Entertainment-junkie.de, thank you.
It's my pleasure.
- You are one of the famous The walking Dead Zombie Pictures,how does it feel to see yourself 1000 times in www as a zombie or on magazine covers in the world?
I still have to pinch myself sometimes. At other times, I'll casually mention I was in TWD, and even people who I've known for awhile (like people I play pool with) are so surprised and asked a gazillion questions. LOL
- How did you get your role in the AMC Series The Walking Dead and as image Walker ?
In 2007, my youngest son (Jarod, age 7) was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Although my wife was a pediatric RN by profession, she was working for our insurance company. One of us needed to stop working and take care of Jarod almost 24/7. I was the logical choice, at the time, since she carried the insurance on us all.
After about 2 1/2 years of treatment and LOTS of rehab, he was doing well enough that I could start thinking about doing something part-time to help our totally depleted savings AND maybe pay down some of the medical bills. You have no idea how much co-pays can add up when the total amounts to almost 1 million dollars!
That said, a friend told me about TWD looking for zombies. I had no idea what he was talking about, so he said they are looking for skinny people and he said I was the skinniest guy he knew! LOL
After 2+ years of worrying about whether Jarod would live or die, at 5' 11" tall, I was down to 118-120 lbs. So I figured why not go for it! My wife thought it would be fun, IF they liked me.
I sent in a photo of me in a hula skirt and coconut shells, that was taken for a skit in a talent contest, for kids with cancer. Of course, I also sent in a headshot I took myself.
My wife and I laughed about it all, but within 3-5 minutes, I had a reply asking me to come to their zombie school.
I WAS SHOCKED!
As for the media shots, there were 2, one of the producers in charge of media came up to me and said, "I have bad news and good news". I had no idea who she was and I wasn't really sure she was talking to me.
Anyway, she said she was sorry to tell me my closeup scene of exiting a car and going after Rick was cut...BUT, they were using that closeup as the first media release photo from the set and would be seen Coast to Coast! Wow....
That same day, they had called a few of us in for cameo shots. They said they might use some of them for media, or internet, releases.
Turned out, they paired Sonya Thompson's and my photo. That became the #1 media only photo seen in over 140 countries!
- Working in The Walking Dead will be a dream for every TWD Fan, what can you say about working inside the Series? You are a part of the beginning.
If you have a dream, go for it! It's hard, hot work, but worth it, if you love what you're doing. I was beyond lucky! Greg Nicotero told me the first day in makeup that I had "the look!", whatever that meant, but I guess he was right.
- You had just little part´s in the show in some episode´s. How much has the series The Walking Dead influenced your life? Can you go outside unrecognized ?
In the general public, sure. That's the beauty of being in makeup 90% of the time. At conventions, that's another story. Many of the attendees know what I look like IRL.
In general though, I haven't changed at all. I had fun and was able to still be myself. Some folks let it go to their head. I never really got used to being paid for having fun and being me. I'm still amazed people will pay for my autograph. LOL
- After 2010 and The Walking Dead you work in many other projects and as you said yourself, you had a lot of fun. What was you favorite role when you look back?
I was a ghoul in a TV movie called LevelUp! It was on Cartoon Network. There were 3 of us ghouls and we had a fight scene against the 3 teenage stars. My makeup and wardrobe took about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to apply and I looked AWEAWESOME! We had the most fun doing that movie. Of all the productions I was blessed to be a part of, that was my favorite!
- In front of your interview you told me that you fully retired from acting now. Even so, you still do a few conventions and events a year, just to stay in touch with your fans and friends.Do you still have contact to other TWD members like Sonya Thompson ,the other famous Walker Face, or maybe some guys of the cast?
Of course, we're family! Sonya is affectionately known as my zombie wife. LOL
I see many cast members at various events and convconversations. Some I know well and we keep in touch, but many I meet for the first time. The cast has grown a LOT since my few scenes!!
- Retired from acting and making stunts after all the years and working in movies like "The Three Stooges" , "Goosebumps" and all the other, what is Larry Mainland doing right now in your life?
Playing pool/billiards. I love the game! I'm still learning (and not very good) but I have a lot of fun.
I'm also blessed to be able to attend a few events and/or cons a year, so that's fun too.
- Is there anything else you would like to let The Walking Dead Fans and your fans know?
I don't consider my fans, "just fans". About 50% of my "fans" are now "friends". We keep in touch on my personal Facebook page. The rest follow me on my Facebook acting page.
I may not act any more, but I still love meeting people and having fun.
As Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage..." and I love being a small part of it!!
Be safe and God Bless, but...
Watch Your Back!