The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus once teamed up to prank then co-star Jon Bernthal ahead of his exit from the series. Bernthal played Shane, best friend turned rival for Lincoln's Rick Grimes, in Seasons 1 and 2 of the zombie drama developed for television by original showrunner Frank Darabont. Lincoln and Reedus famously waged an escalating prank war against one another before Lincoln's own exit from the show in Season 9, but Chandler Riggs, who played Carl Grimes until that character was killed off in Season 8, reveals one practical joke pulled on Bernthal before Shane was killed off in the penultimate episode of Season 2:
"Jon Bernthal is absolutely terrified of crickets for some reason, I don’t know why. Yes, the Punisher is scared of crickets," Riggs said during FAN EXPO Vancouver. "I think it was Norman, or Andy, [they] were very aware of that, and on one of his last days on set, they went into his trailer before he got to set, and they filled his trailer completely with crickets."
When Bernthal opened his trailer door, he quickly closed it and left "because he knew instantly what it was," Riggs added with a laugh. "It was pretty funny."
Despite sharing the screen with the pranksters for nearly eight full seasons, Riggs was never on the end of Lincoln or Reedus' antics. "I was really fortunate," he said. "I think I was really lucky to not get any pranks pulled on me."
In October, Bernthal revealed the emotional experience behind his last days as a series regular, saying he "shed a couple tears" watching his cast mates film the Season 2 finale without him. He would return to the series for cameo appearances in Seasons 3 and 9, the latter as part of Lincoln's sendoff episode.
"Walking Dead, for me, is probably real different than the folks that are on it now. When we did Walking Dead, there were no trailers, there were no craft services. We would just hike out into the woods, it was very humble," Bernthal said at Fandemic Tour Houston. "Nobody thought the show was gonna be what the show was. We got picked up for six episodes, that is not a big vote of confidence. It was a zombie show, and if that thing sucks, it’s gonna really suck. At that point AMC was the network of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and they didn’t want anybody messing with their prestige television. And we were kind of, I think at first, sort of treated like the wart on their ass."
Bernthal "loved" his time on the show, adding, "I loved being there when I was, and I loved getting out of there when I did."
New episodes of TWD Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.