The Walking Dead star Ross Marquand revealed unexpected difficulties that came with shooting Jesus’ (Tom Payne) death in a fog-covered graveyard.
“It was great because Tom was a good sport, but there was this fog machine that was busting out so much fog that was actually quote noxious,” Marquand said aboard Walker Stalker Cruise 2019.
“And they said, ‘You should be fine as long as you’re not below three feet,’ which of course Tom was. And so every time we did a take, Tom would go [inhales deeply] and lay down. And there would just be times where I’d be trying to cry and sob over him, and I could just see him holding in the breath about to break. I’m like, ‘Don’t you do it! I’m trying to cry over you man!’ And he didn’t break.”
“It’s carbon dioxide, so basically what it does is it just deprives oxygen from that area of the floor. So you know, just gets rid of everything that keeps you alive,” Payne quipped.
“I was definitely holding my breath pretty hard, but very aware that I was trying really hard and he was having a breakdown above me [laughs]. I’m trying my hardest not to break.”
Then, feigning a mopey tone, “Anyway, it was very sad for everyone on set, it was a really, really sad day,” Payne added.
“Everyone cried,” Marquand said.
Payne’s martial arts expert Jesus was struck down as the first victim of the Whisperers, the territorial walker skin-wearing enemies who have since emerged as The Walking Dead’s leading threat.
Jesus’ death came moments after he turned swashbuckler, cutting down walkers and disguised Whisperers alike with a sword — but the sequence posed challenging for its low visibility brought on by the eerie fog.
“We shot it all on a stage so that you could keep the fog in there. There was low lying fog and then there was a smoke throughout the room,” Payne previously told ComicBook.com.
“The main challenge was just making sure that you weren’t gonna step on anyone once they’d gone down, because you couldn’t really see people on the floor. So we made sure that we really marked out the fight and where people were gonna fall and how all the kills were gonna happen.
“Before I do my little fight, there’s the fight which me and Ross do, but there’s already people flying around and stuff. It’s funny watching it, like Ross and I kill a bunch of people and then, I kill like six people in that last fight, but if they didn’t shoot it in slow-mo, it’s over in like five seconds. The slow-mo adds a lot to it, because now he’s got this sword, he’s got this sword and he’s just like cutting through them like butter.”
Payne wanted that sequence to express Jesus — who had grown bored from being tasked with increased responsibilities as interim Hilltop leader following the departure of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) — was “kind of having fun.”
“Like for him it’s really easy. He’s not threatened at all by the walkers,” Payne said.
“I think that adds to the whole, when he gets killed, they’re not a threat to him, the walkers, especially when he’s got his sword. So it was kind of cool, when he’s walking backwards says, ‘Oh I’ll just take this one out,’ and then just, oh, and then he gets [stabbed]. I really liked that surprise aspect of it.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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