The Walking Dead News: Premiere Episode Influenced By Breaking Bad Box Cutter Scene

In a recent interview, The Walking Dead‘s executive producer Greg Nicotero talked about how Sunday’s premiere episode was influenced by a particular scene from AMC’s Breaking Bad.

“When Scott Gimple pitched the episode we had a long conversation and I said, “Listen we have a great opportunity to put a little red herring in here because Glenn’s character is killed with a baseball bat in the graphic novel.” So we set that up specifically to tease to the audience that Glenn might go,” he said. “And so that is a perfect example of Scott and I taking something and just continually ramping it up. And the way that we accomplished the blood gags were that we put a tube around the actors’ necks and we shot the entire scene with the tube there, and then the actor came across with the knife an we sprayed the blood out, and the visual effects went in and erased the tube. So the tube was there the entire time. So we shot the whole scene and it was easier than putting a prosthetic on and trying to hide the tube. Again, a really good marriage of practical and digital and it’s so shocking. I had that low angle with Robin Lord Taylor — who is in Gotham — that was him, because he played the character Sam in episode 4 of last year. People will hopefully notice that that’s him. That’s where Rick gets his watch back. So we just put the tube on and shot the scene and I had this low angle where the blood sprayed the lens and they were like, “You’re never going to get away with that. They’ll never let you do it.”

My defense was that Breaking Bad pushed the envelope because of when Gus slits the throat in the “Box Cutter” episode and there’s blood spraying out. So we really used that as our basis and said, “We have to really show how violent and how deadly these Terminus people are, because if we don’t ever see it, then that threat will never become palpable — so it was really important to us that we sold the violence of it. By adding the baseball bat to stun them and then the knife coming through to slitting their throats — Steven and Andy and Norman and Lawrence, they had no idea really what it was going to be like. They knew there was a tube there and we were going to pump some blood, but when they were leaned over and they heard the actors scream and the blood hitting the trough and seeing the blood, it freaked them out. It was really powerful and they started moving a little faster. All of a sudden their hearts were pounding. And that was my intent. I wanted those emotions to be real. It’s a fantastic sequence. What I love about this episode is you get to feel every emotion that a Walking Dead episode will give you all at one time. It opens with suspense and terror and moves into thrills and the big adrenaline action scene and then by the end with the reunions…”

To read the entire interview, visit