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The Walking Dead

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AMC is venturing into zombie-drama territory with multi-hyphenate Frank Darabont.

Cabler is close to finalizing one of the richest development deals ever with Darabont to write and direct a series adaptation of the Image Comics graphic novel series "The Walking Dead," penned by Robert Kirkman. Gale Anne Hurd of Valhalla Pictures and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion are also on board to exec produce.

Project is set among a group of zombie survivors of an apocalypse who are led by a police officer, Rick Grimes, in search of a safe place to live. Numerous editions of the "Walking Dead" graphic novels have been published since 2003.

Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior veep of programming, production and original content, said the project appealed to the cabler because of "the quality of the storytelling" in Kirkman's work. The series will stay faithful to the tone of the original novels, he said.

"This is not about zombies popping out of closets," Stillerman said. "This is a story about survival, and the dynamics of what happens when a group is forced to survive under these circumstances. The world (in 'Walking Dead') is portrayed in a smart, sophisticated way."

Stillerman noted that the cabler's annual "Fear Fest" movie showcase around Halloween is one of AMC's most popular programming events of the year.

"We've got an audience that loves this kind of material," he said.

Darabont and Hurd pitched the project to AMC and several other outlets. There is no studio attached yet. The duo's involvement made the project a must-have for the cabler, Stillerman said.

"These are two world-class filmmakers who are also brilliant storytellers with experience in the fantasy genre," he said.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118007161.html?categoryid=10&cs=1&nid=2248

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I was pumped BEFORE I knew AMC was involved. Seriously? The people behind Mad Men and Breaking Bad want to make Walking Dead into a TV Show?

Well, I know what I'll be watching on a loop for the rest of my life.

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*Geekswoon*

I always thought that Walking Dead would be perfect for a series, it explores the group survival aspect so much more than Lost does. Granted I think this might be the most depressing show EVER but I'll watch, especially with Darabont writing and directing.

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Even though I'm kind of getting tired of the Walking Dead as a comic series, I'm all for an adaptation, plus Frank Darabont is involved and that's a huge plus. I haven't touched any of AMC's cable shows yet (they're on my netflix que) but I've heard good things about them.

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Mad Men is very good, and it makes me want to do all sorts of dirty things to Christina Hendricks.

as does Firefly

Mal: Whoa, hey. Flesh. Um... Saffron... i-it-it ain't a question of pleasing me. It's more a question of what's... um... of what's morally right.

Saffron: I do know my Bible sir. "On the night of their betrothal, the wife shall open to the man as the furrow to the plow and he shall work in her, in and again till she bring him to his full and rest him then upon the sweat of her breast."

Mal: Whoa, good Bible.

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Mad Men is very good, and it makes me want to do all sorts of dirty things to Christina Hendricks.

Yeah, I'm with Stavros; I was gonna say "and Firefly didn't?"

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It's the period clothes, nothing against her in Firefly, but... the 50's clothes give her a whole 'nother something.

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Robert Kirkman's acclaimed zombie epic just took one more step towards a fully-fledged life on the small screen.

Variety is reporting that the AMC Network has greenlit a pilot for a "Walking Dead" TV series after reviewing the screenplay adaptation submitted by "Shawshank Redemption" director Frank Darabont. While the step does not ensure that fans will see a full show inspired by the Image Comics series hit the cable airwaves, the fact that a pilot will be committed to film for the channel known for high quality original programming such as "Mad Men" is a good sign for fans of the series.

When Kirkman spoke to CBR about the AMC deal last September, the writer said that a TV adaptation was "the only thing that really makes sense to me. The thing that makes 'The Walking Dead' unique and interesting is that it's a zombie movie that never ends – that's the log line or whatever. To do a zombie movie that's based on that? Kinda dumb."

Kirkman went on to say of Darabont's involvement with the project, "I think a really good indication that he's going to handle the series really well is his recent movie, 'The Mist.' A lot of people don't realize that Frank is a genre guy – he wrote 'The Blob,' he wrote 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.' He got his start doing horror stuff and he's a huge horror and sci-fi fan. He's been going to Comic-Con every year just for fun, whether he's putting a movie out or not. He kind of lives this stuff. If you watch 'The Mist,' you'll see that he can do the character development – he's an excellent writer – but 'The Mist' is a big indication that he knows how to handle the subject matter."

According to Variety, the pilot's development will include famed genre producer Gale Anne Hurd ("The Terminator," "The Incredible Hulk"). The network also greenlit a pilot for an adaptation of a Danish crime drama called "The Killing." However, at this point no casting announcements have been made for either show.

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Great news, and Darabont is probably the perfect guy for this, an acclaimed writer and directer who has affection for genre work.

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While I doubt that it will be slavishly faithful to the source material (although that certainly would not hurt) there is at least a good two or three seasons of material in the first 50 issues alone.

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In Hollywood, nothing is official until the audience is sitting in front of the screen, but getting a TV pilot underway is possibly the biggest step towards getting story out there short of official release. And today, word came out that the cameras will roll on AMC's planned adaptation of "The Walking Dead" from Robert Kirkman and Image Comics.

Horror news source Bloody Disgusting is reporting that writer-director Frank Darabont's pilot for a proposed "Walking Dead" TV series will begin filming in May in Atlanta, Georgia. Focusing on the years-long survival story of southern sheriff Rick Grimes in the fact of a devastating zombie plague, the comic book was long-cited by fans as a prime example of a "would work better as a TV show than as a movie" wishlist item.

With only a few short months until filming begins, it only reasons that casting announcements for the potential series will spring up soon, something Kirkman himself professed excitement for in a September interview with CBR, saying, "I'm excited about the casting and I'm excited about being able to watch the show. I'm excited about everything, but it's kind of odd… my dad sent me an e-mail and he goes, "Congratulations about the TV show." I never thought I'd get that e-mail from my dad – it's kind of bizarre. It's kind of a whole surreal thing."

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Ideas for the cast? Only thing I'm worried about is the kids, who due to the nature of the show will suffer from Lost Walt syndrome, growing old way faster than their characters are supposed to.

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Ideas for the cast? Only thing I'm worried about is the kids, who due to the nature of the show will suffer from Lost Walt syndrome, growing old way faster than their characters are supposed to.

Meh. They'll be dead before long anyway.

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Fans won't get a look at AMC's "The Walking Dead" pilot as directed by Frank Darabont until next fall if at all, however with the series tryout episode rolling film in May, it looks as though now is the time for real life faces to start getting attached to the characters created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore for the Image Comics series.

The first casting word for the pilot came today courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter who revealed that actor Jon Bernthal will play police officer Shane in the zombie epic. As fans of the series know, Shane was lead character Rick Grimes partner before the undead outbreak overtook America, however saying much more about his role in the comic would probably constitute spoilers for any new fans, though the trade notes the "Ghost Writer" actor's character as "an outgoing bachelor."

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The Walking Dead" will become AMC's fourth original series.

The cable network on Monday gave a six-episode order to the zombie drama based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel series.

The project, written and directed by Frank Darabont and produced by Gale Anne Hurd, has been on the fast track since AMC acquired the rights to the books in August after a bidding war. It was ordered to pilot in January, followed by the early series pickup while the pilot still in the casting stages with one actor, "The Ghost Writer" co-star Jon Bernthal, locked in so far.

"Dead" will begin production in June in Atlanta and is set to premiere in October during Fearfest, AMC's annual marathon of thriller and horror films.

Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior vp programming, said the opportunity to debut "Dead" during Fearfest, which he called the "perfect platform" to do that, was key to the network's decision to go ahead with an early series order.

"We felt like we had the appropriate road map in place in terms of the story," he said.

He also praised Kirkman's series for "brilliantly capturing the social commentary and ongoing human drama of the zombie apocalypse. And it lets us kick a little zombie you-know-what from time to time."

"Dead" tells of the time after a zombie apocalypse and follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a secure home. Bernthal plays Grimes' partner and friend Shane.

"Dead" was one of two pilots AMC greenlighted in January. The chances of the other one, "The Killing," which also is in a casting stage, are not affected by the series pickup for "Dead" as "Killing" is being done on a different timetable, with shooting slated for summer. Stillerman said it is being eyed for a potential 2011 launch.

With the series order for "Dead," AMC will run four different original series in a single calendar year in 2010, with flagship "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad"; "Rubicon," which starts production this week; and "Dead."

"We're delivering on the promise we made several years ago when we entered the original series arena," AMC president Charlie Collier said.

Kirkman Darabont, Hurd and David Alpert from Circle of Confusion executive produce "Dead," along with Charles Eglee ("Dexter").

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AMC has cast Andrew Lincoln as the lead in its zombie apocalypse thriller "The Walking Dead."

Lincoln ("Teachers," "Love Actually") will play Rick Grimes, a small-town cop who leads a group of survivors in their struggle against a world besieged by zombies.

As previously announced Jon Bernthal ("The Pacific") will play Shane, a survivor who was Rick's police partner before the zombie disaster.

“Andrew Lincoln, wow--what an amazing find this guy is," said Robert Kirkman, who wrote the comic book series upon which the series is based. "Writing Rick Grimes month after month in the comic series, I had no idea he was an actual living breathing human being and yet here he is. I couldn't be more thrilled with how this show is coming together."

"Walking Dead" starts shooting in June in Atlanta, with Frank Darabont as writer, director and executive producer.

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