Interview with Jeffrey DeMunn

Jeffrey DeMunn starred as Dale in AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. Jeffrey is known for working with Frank Darabont on every film that Frank has directed. MovieMikes had a chance to chat with Jeffrey about his role on the show and looking forward to the upcoming season two.

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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your experience working on season one of “The Walking Dead?
Jeffrey DeMunn: Overall it was wonderful. It wasn’t really quite what I expected. I took the job without knowing what I was getting into really. Frank had called me up and said “Do you want to come to Atlanta and kill zombies?” I said “Sure”. But I really didn’t know what that would entail. I had no idea since I hadn’t read the script or the graphic novel at that point. But geez, it was really fun! Even though it was over 100 degrees, I couldn’t wait to get to work. I have been doing this for a while and that is not always the case. It was just so much fun [laughs]. I think it is important in that if you are having fun doing something it comes across.

MG: Your character is like the knowledgeable father figure in the show, have you enjoyed playing Dale?
JD: Yes very much. I like him a lot. My thinking on Dale is that having lost his partner, his wife, was really the end of his life. He was really done and it was just question of stumbling along till death. The meaning was out of it. What has happened due to the situation that developed is that he rediscovered life. It is a new shot at life for him. It is like he hasn’t got a dog in the fight. I do not want to say he has got nothing to lose but he has nothing on the line. He can be brave. It adds a sort of fearlessness having gone through his life and said that’s that I am done and everything else now is just gravy.

MG: What was the most difficult part of the shoot?
JD: Yeah, I would have to say the weather. I am born and raised in Buffalo, I love shoveling show [laughs] but the heat knocks me flat. So the weather was definitely significant. In the end, however I think it was actually an asset. It united us because everyone working on the show had a common challenge and people stepped up to that challenge. There were no complaining working on the show, nothing from anybody. If anyone needed help we got together and helped that person and so on, but ultimately it was a wonderful uniting.

MG: Are you surprised with the success of the show?
JD: Yeah, I was surprised.  At the time as we were shooting the fourth and fifth episode, people started talking about do you think we will get picked up. I said at the time that “I would bet the farm”. It felt the show had this sense of of immunity, success, momentum and strength to it. I felt that something was really going on here. Initially at first, I had no idea but once we got that significant response that was a surprise to me.

MG: You have worked with Frank Darabont on every film he has directed, how did this relationship begin?
JD: Boy, I believe it started when I worked on the remake of “The Blob”. Frank had a part in creating that movie but I actually didn’t meet him then. He then called me to come out to Mansfield, Ohio to work on “The Shawshank Redemption”, that is when we first meet. I just trusted him. I saw him under pressure and I saw his strength, honestly and goodwill. From there we haven’t seen a reason to stop since [laughs].

MG: Did you enjoy reuniting with him on this show?
JD: Oh absolutely, it was wonderful. What is great is that he is always opens to idea that anyone has to say. He is a listener and knows a good idea when it comes along. It is not like it has to be his idea or none. “Oh that is a good idea”, that is the kind of thought that comes easily to him. He will be able to then turn it into something really good [laughs].

MG: Are you looking forward to returning for season two this summer?
JD: Oh yeah, I am very much. I have seen some of the folks from the cast either at the house here or I was just down in San Diego. They are not spreading around any scripts or ideas to me just yet though. But I just can’t wait to get back together with them again. It is so much fun.

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