The Walking Dead Director Greg Nicotero: Production Will Change “Dramatically” After Coronavirus

Veteran The Walking Dead director-producer Greg Nicotero says resumed film and television production will change "dramatically" in the wake of coronavirus, which delayed the Nicotero-directed Season 10 finale until later this year and indefinitely postponed the shooting start on Season 11. The Georgia set of The Walking Dead could adapt the new protocols and stricter health and safety rules being discussed industry-wide: as reported by the Los Angeles Times, this includes adhering to social distancing standards, the use of protective masks, reduced or limited crews working in staggered groups, minimal travel, more tightly controlled sets, and having sanitation crews regularly disinfect equipment and sets.

"It's going to be very interesting in terms of seeing how productions work and how things that we are so accustomed to doing on sets will change, and will change pretty dramatically," Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly. "The number of people you have on set will probably diminish, which might mean it will take a little bit longer, where instead of having 60 people on set you may have 35 or 40 people on set. I know the industry is working towards some sort of industry-wide guideline in terms of are we going to do box lunches and nobody takes a break and you shoot for 10 hours and that's it."

"No one's really going to know," he added, "so it's going to be a unique situation and definitely a brand-new world."

Following Gov. Brian Kemp’s loosening of lockdown restrictions in the state, Georgia's Department of Economic Development is working to determine what production might look like in the months ahead.

"The state has been working on plans for a safe return to operations across industries, including bolstering testing capabilities as we look to move forward with projects cautiously while protecting our terrific crews here," said a department spokesperson when reached for comment. "We are in constant talks with studios and production companies as they determine the best methods to ensure the safety of all cast and crew in the state. We thank the film and entertainment industry for the many ways they have stepped up to support Georgia's fight against COVID-19 while on hiatus."

The Czech Republic, among the filming locations on Marvel Studios television series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, recently allowed production to resume after implementing new hygienic standards. This includes vigilant sanitation standards, both on location and in studio, and testing actors for coronavirus every two weeks during production.

Also opened back up for production is New Zealand, site of Amazon's Lord of the Rings television series, where social distancing practices will be enforced alongside varying degrees of other limitations depending on the size of production. British Columbia, filming home of shows like The Flash, hopes to resume film and television production by June or July.

Addressing the delay of Season 11 filming during a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s EW Live, The Walking Dead’s Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan said it's a "mystery" when the new season, once expected to premiere on AMC in October 2020, might air.

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"I just don't know how long it's gonna take for us to [start shooting] … like when we're gonna see a season 11 of The Walking Dead is such a f—ing mystery to me right now," Morgan said. "It's a new world."

The Walking Dead will air its Season 10 finale as a special episode on AMC later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.