Intriguing Facts About The Shawshank Redemption

Released in 1994, The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of a banker named Andy Dufresne, who is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and lover although he claims to be innocent. The film follows him over the decades, highlighting his experiences in the prison, and the relationships he builds along the way. Upon its release, the film didn’t do nearly as well as expected, although it went on to be nominated for seven Academy Awards and is now regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. Check out these lesser-known facts about The Shawshank Redemption.

It’s Based On A Stephen King Novella

Stephen King at book signing
John Lamparski/WireImage
John Lamparski/WireImage

Although it may differ from many of King’s other works, The Shawshank Redemption is actually based on King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. The story was one of a collection of four novellas titled Different Seasons, with three of them being turned into films including The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, and The Body (Stand By Me).

King sold the film rights for his novella for $5,000 although he never cashed the check. Years after the film was released he framed it and sent the check to director Frank Darabont with the inscription, “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.”

There Was Almost A Different Director

Director Rob Reiner
Tara Ziemba/WireImage
Tara Ziemba/WireImage

After purchasing the rights from King, director Frank Darabont was offered $2.5 million from Rob Reiner to hand over the film’s rights. Although it was a tempting offer, Darabont ultimately turned Reiner down, claiming that it was his “chance to do something really great,” and he was ultimately right.

Under Reiner, the film would have taken a totally different direction as he wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and Andy respectively. Nobody is complaining that Darabont held onto the film.

Morgan Freeman Wasn’t The Only Option For Red

Morgan Freeman as Red
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In King’s novella, Red is described as a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. In order to fit the profile, actors such as Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Harrison Ford were all seriously considered for the role.

However, Frank Darabont always saw Morgan Freeman as Red for his natural demeanor and voice and made the executive decision to hire Freeman. To honor King’s original character, Darabont added “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish,” when Andy inquires about Red’s nickname.

The Maggot Dilemma

Brooks holding a maggot
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the film, the elderly man Brooks, who works in the prison library has a pet crow. Because they were working with a live animal, the scenes with the crow were heavily monitored by the American Human Association.

In the scene when Brooks feeds his crow a maggot, the AHA stepped in claiming that it was cruel to the maggot and that they would have to use a maggot that had died of natural causes. Amazingly, the production team found a maggot that met the AHA’s standards and the scene was filmed.

The Number 237 Makes An Appearance

Keys to room 237 the Shining
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

If you’re familiar with Stephen King’s work, you know that he likes to plant Easter eggs in his writings, connecting them in one way or another. One small detail that he has sprinkled through some of his books is the number 237.

Frank Darabont decided to include this in the film when the guards shout “Open 237!” before questioning Red about where Andy went. The number 237 is also the same number as the room in The Shining, and the amount of change the boys have in Stand By Me.

Red’s Past

Red being questioned
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the film, when Andy asks Red why he’s in Shawshank, he responds by saying “I committed murder.” While much of his story is left to mystery in the movie, the novella goes into much greater detail. It’s explained that Ellis Boy “Red” Redding is serving three life sentences for murdering his wife, neighbor’s wife, and his neighbor’s son.

Red had disconnected the brakes of his wife’s car in order to collect an insurance policy, however, he didn’t anticipate that his neighbor’s wife and son would be riding in the vehicle.

The Movie Helped Boost The Local Economy

Red at the oak tree
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Although the film is set in Maine, it was filmed in Mansfield, Ashland, and Upper Sandusky, Ohio. The three towns shared 13 sites that were used as filming locations which have become increasingly popular tourist destinations since the film’s release.

According to the Mansfield/Richmond County Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourism has increased every year since 1994, bringing over 18,000 visitors to the area and an estimated $3 million to the local economy as of 2013.

Not Andy’s Hands

Holding a pistol
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Although Tim Robbins played Andy Dufrense, the close-up shots of his hands are not his, but rather those of director Frank Darabont. The scenes that show Dufrense’s hands loading the revolver in the opening scene and carving his name into his cell wall were done in post-production and were finalized by Darabont.

The reason that Robbins’ hands weren’t used was that Darabont wanted the scenes to be done in a particular way and decided he needed to do them himself to create the final product he envisioned.

It Was Considered A Box Office Flop

Andy and Red
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

While The Shawshank Redemption may be considered a classic today, the film didn’t do well at the box office upon its original release. In fact, it only initially grossed $18 million, which didn’t even cover the cost of the film’s production. However, after earning numerous Oscar nominations, the film made another $10 million but was still labeled as a box office flop.

Even though the film wasn’t successful in theaters, Warner Home Video shipped 320,000 rental copies across the United States. This aided the film in becoming one of the top-rented films of the year even though its distribution was considered to be risky.

More Than One Freeman

Mugshot
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Unknown to most, the mugshots of a young Red attached to his parole papers isn’t Morgan Freeman or anyone random. They’re actually photos of Morgan Freeman’s son, Alfonso Freeman.

Alfonso even had a cameo in the film chanting “Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We’re reeling em’ in!” This wouldn’t be the first time Alfonso appeared in one of his father’s films either. A year later, he was featured as a fingerprint technician in the film Seven.

Working With A Bird

The crow Jake
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the scene when Andy arrives at the library to begin his new position as Brooks’ assistance, Brook’s crow Jake is squawking. In order to film the scene, Robbins had to time his line, “Hey Jake, where’s Brooks?” so that the bird didn’t squawk while he was talking.

Over time, Robbins became acquainted with the bird and began to pick up its squawking pattern so that it never ruined a scene, something that Darabont commended him for. if you look closely, you can see Robbins paying close attention to the bird, waiting for it to squawk before saying his line.

The Scene That Took Nine Hours To Shoot

Red with baseball glove
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the scene when Andy and Red converse for the first time, Red is throwing a baseball back and forth with Heywood. Although it may be a rather basic scene, it was anything but basic to shoot.

The brief conversation took a grueling nine hours to film with Freeman throwing a baseball the entire time. Yet, he didn’t complain and threw the baseball every time that the camera was on. The following day, Freeman showed up on set with a sling because of the damage caused to his shoulder.

Deleted Scenes

Red at the stone wall
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Although the film feels complete, there were a few scenes that were cut that added a little more depth to the plot. One of these was the inmates finding Brooks’ pet crow dead in a field and giving it a proper burial after Brooks’ is paroled. In another scene, Tommy’s wife visits him, which encourages him to turn his life around and focus on getting his GED.

Finally, in another removed scene, Red has a panic attack in a grocery store and retreats to the bathroom because it reminds him of his cell. This makes his visit to the tree and rock wall more meaningful, as it’s the opposite of what Brooks decided to do.

There Was A Recording Issue

Red sitting on a bench
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Known for its narration by Morgan Freeman, the voice-over by Freeman was actually recorded prior to filming and was played out loud during production to set the rhythm for each scene. Freeman recorded the entire narration in Iowa in just 40 minutes.

However, something went wrong and there was a noticeable hiss to the track that the sound engineers in Los Angeles were unfortunately unable to get rid of. So, they had to re-record the entire thing in a proper studio, except this time it took three weeks to complete.

Changing The Title

Rita Hayworth
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Although the original title of King’s novella is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, the title was eventually shortened to The Shawshank Redemption. This was done because people in Hollywood were beginning to think that the film was actually a biopic about the life of actress Rita Hayworth.

Before shortening the title, director Frank Darabont was even receiving audition requests from young actresses and supermodels who wanted to play Rita Hayworth in the film. The trick is that she only appears when the inmates are shown her film, Gilda.

Not Entirely A Real Jail

Interior of  prison
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Although the interior of Shawshank Prison is incredibly convincing, it’s not an actual prison. The exterior shots of the prison were filmed at the abandoned Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, except the interior was too far gone to be saved.

So, many of the interior shots were filmed on a sound stage because the filmmakers figured they would be cheaper to build rather than try and renovate the interiors of the decaying prison. Definitely fooled us!

References To Shawshank

Andy kneeling down
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Like many other of Stephen King’s writings, the story of The Shawshank Redemption takes place in Maine. However, he alludes to the prison in countless of his other novels, short stories, and novellas.

For example, in the film Dolores Claiborne, based on another one of King’s novels, Dolores yells at her husband that he will do time in Shawshank for what he did to their daughter. Shawshank is mentioned in several of King’s other works, including The Fifth Quarter, Needful Things, Sun Dog, and more.

Using Ex-Cons As Extras

4fc9525732823e4e49ce570a6e068e3b-45023
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Initially, the citizens of Mansfield, Ohio were thrilled that The Shawshank Redemption was being filmed in their town. Not only would it help to increase tourism, but it also meant that some of the locals would be featured in the film as extras.

Many signed up to play extra prisoners, however, their normal jobs got in the way and many could only work for one day. So, in order to fill the positions, the filmmakers went to a halfway house to recruit extras. Many of them were even ex-cons.

Portraying Correctional Officers Correctly

895aa6f8c4ae727b84fb1170611088a0
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Prior to filming the movie, Clancy Brown was approached by several real-life correctional officers to work with him to help make his portrayal of Captain Hadley as realistic as possible. However, Brown turned them all down.

He knew that Captain Hadley was written to be an evil character, and he didn’t want to misrepresent actual correctional officers. So, he decided to make the role his own, transforming Captain Hadley into one of the most least-likable characters by far.

Making Sewage

Andy crawling through pipe
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the climax of the film, Andy Dufresne, escapes from Shawshank Prison by tunneling through the walls and leaving through the sewers. During his escape, he is forced to crawl through a sewage pipe that is full of human waste from the prison.

Obviously, the sludge that Andy crawls through isn’t human waste. It’s actually a mixture of Chocolate syrup, sawdust, and water. According to visitors of the prison, the pipes still smell like chocolate decades later.

The Set Almost Burned Down

Frank Darabont at a premier
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM

The cell block of the prison was built on a set and they used opaque plastic sheeting over windows so that lamps could be used to simulate daylight. During a break between scenes, director Frank Darabont and extra Michael C. Poole decided to grab a cup of coffee.

On their way to get coffee, they were alarmed when they discovered someone had placed a lamp too close to the plastic. It caught fire and the two quickly extinguished the flame, saving the set.

You Can Buy Shawshank Souveniers

Shawshank Trail sign
Pinterest
Pinterest

In the area that Shawshank Redemption was filmed, the local businesses decided to make the most of the tourism and have begun selling Shawshank-related products. Known as the Shawshank Trail in Ohio, tourists passing through can buy things such as Reformatory “Red” Wines, Shawshank Bundt Cakes, and more.

Die-hard fans can stop at Two Cousins’ Pizza and grab a slice of Redemption Pie. The sales of these products has also helped to benefit the local economy significantly.

Charlie Sheen Was Extremely Interested In The Film

Charlie Sheen at an event
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

After reading the script, a young Charlie Sheen fell deeply in love with the plot of the film. He even went so far as to talk to an executive at Castle Rock, saying, “I’ll do this movie for [expletive] scale,” meaning the minimum an actor can be paid.

He also offered to do a 30-minute test reel portraying Red to prove that he was the right guy for the part. Ultimately, the studio decided against using Sheen and hired Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins soon after.

Missing Out On An Academy Award

Terence Marsh at Roosevelt Hotel
Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Although the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, one that it was not nominated for was Production Design by Terence Marsh. He had already won two Oscars for Art Direction in the 1960s, so it seemed strange that Shawshank didn’t even earn a nomination.

However, according to Frank Darabont, the prison set that Marsh had built in an abandoned manufacturing plant looked so real that the majority of people assumed they had used a real prison.

The Trailways Coach Is Still Up And Running

bus on the road
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Near the end of the film, we see Red board a Trailways coach (bus). The actual bus is a GM PD-4104 that was built in 1960 and later delivered to the Carolina Scenic Trailways.

In 1990, the late John Holbein, the owner of the Blue Ridge Trailways, found and restored the bus as it’s seen in The Shawshank Redemption. Currently, it is the property of Capital Trailways which is based in Montgomery, Alabama. Some people have been lucky enough to ride in it.

Coincidence With Names

Deakins at Variety Awards
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for TIFF
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for TIFF

When Andy is first reassigned to the prison library for a job, the first correctional officer who comes seeking investment help introduces himself saying “I’m Dekins.” Coincidentally, the cinematographer on the movie was named Roger Deakins.

Strangely enough, Frank Darabont wrote the character of Dekins into the script before hiring any of his other crew members, since the character was in King’s novella. However, it proved to be strictly a coincidence since the character and Deakins spell their names differently.

Andy Could Have Avoided Prison

Andy on trial
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When Andy is on trial at the beginning of the film, he tells the D.A. that he threw his pistol in the river, which was never found. This was the major mistake that Andy made that landed him in Shawshank.

Had he kept the gun, a ballistics test would have shown that the bullets that were fired from Elmo Batch’s gun, which killed Andy’s wife and lover, and could not have been fired from Andy’s gun. It’s always good to hold onto your firearms if you’re being accused of a gun-related crime you did not commit.

Frank Darabont Had A Different Idea For The Ending

Red and Andy reuniting
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Initially, Frank Darabont wanted to end the film with Red searching for Andy after he had been released from prison. According to Darabont, had he got what he wanted, the final scene would have been Red on the bus heading for the field that Andy was talking about.

However, the executives at Castle Rock decided against this and insisted that the film ends with Andy and Red reuniting in order to please audiences. This is why we don’t see a close up of the two reuniting, but is instead shown from a distance, which was Darabont’s idea.

Change Of Plans For A Filming Location

Zihuatanejo cityscape
Mahaux Charles/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Mahaux Charles/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the end, Andy and Red reunite and continue their lives in Zihuatanejo, a Mexican paradise in the Pacific coastal state of Guerrero. Back in 1966, it was still a small fishing village, exactly how Andy had described it to Red.

However, since 1966, the small village grew to become a large tourist city because of its beauty. Still needing to find a place that could double as Zihuatanejo, they ended up filming the scene in the United States Virgin Islands.

The Iconic Rock Wall

Red at the wall and tree
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

The rock wall where Andy leaves Red money with directions and money for travel was built for the film and remained standing for years after. It was made by hand by the art department several months before filming so that it would look overgrown and weathered by the time they shot at the site.

However, the wall was eventually sold, rock by rock, on eBay by the farmer who owned the land. The tree remains, although it was struck by lightning in 2011. Part of the wall also remains on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory.

Parallels With The Count Of Monte Christo

Cover of the book
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Pinterest

There are numerous similarities between The Shawshank Redemption and Alexandre Dumas’ epic novel, The Count of Monte Christo, a book that is also mentioned in the film. In The Count of Monte Christo, the protagonist is falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and later escapes by digging a tunnel that takes him years to complete.

After his escape, the then discovers a buried treasure that he learns about in jail and uses it to execute a plan to take revenge on those who had wronged him.

There Are Multiple Wardens In The Novella

Warden Norton at desk
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

One of the differences between Stephen King’s novella and the film is that there are multiple wardens throughout Andy’s time in prison. This is why it seems like Warden Norton’s personality and attitude changes so rapidly on numerous occasions.

The warden who is kind to Andy and allows him to send letters and work on the library is a completely different person than the warden who treats Andy so harshly towards the end. To make things easier, they bundled the multiple characters into one person.

The Introduction Of Miranda Rights

Captain Hadley arrested
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the film, Red says that Andy broke out of Shawshank in 1966. This was the same year as the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case before the Supreme Court. It was this case that established that a defendant must be informed of his or her rights during the process of being arrested.

This is why at the end of the film when they arrest Captain Hadley, the police can be heard reading him his Miranda Rights. Doing this helped with historical accuracy.

Red’s Name Has Symbolic Meanings

Red in the sunset
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Although there’s symbolism riddled throughout, one of the most prominent can be found in Red’s full name, Ellis Redding. Ellis is a Welsh derivative of the word “elus” which translates to mean benevolent/kind.

His last name, Reding is also a Germanic last name which means counsel or advice. So together, Red’s name can be translated to mean “benevolent counselor,” which perfectly fits his character and the role that he plays for Andy throughout the film.

There’s Symbolism Behind Andy And The Warden Too

Andy and the Warden in the same frame
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Red isn’t the only character with symbolism associated with them. In the film, Andy is also symbolized as being the savior for many of the inmates inside of the prison. The name Andy means brave, strong, and courageous, and his initials are A.D. or “anno Domini” or “the year of our Lord.”

The antagonist in the film, Warden Norton, symbolizes Lucifer which translates to mean “bringer of light.” This is further shown when the Warden notes that his favorite bible verse is “I am the light of the world…”

It Had A Limited Release At First

Pulp Fiction characters
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

When The Shawshank Redemption was first released, there was a limited release in North America on September 23, 1994. The film could only be viewed in 33 theaters until October 14, when it was released in 910 additional theaters, the same day that Pulp Fiction was released.

Both films were nominated for seven Academy Awards and each grew to achieve cult followings. Both films are also listed in the Top 10 of IMDB’s top 250 movies.

There Were Threats Of Fines

Behind the scenes
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Because the shooting schedule in Mansfield, Ohio was so tight for the film, the production team made it very clear that anyone who was late or held up production in any way would be fined.

Even though they were dealing with successful actors, they felt that it would be a good incentive for everyone to show up on time. Both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman were each late once but were never fined. In the end, filming in Mansfield finished ahead of schedule.

Tension On Set

Freeman and Robbins at screening
Valerie Macon/Getty Images
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Although most people won’t believe it, the environment on set wasn’t all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. According to Morgan Freeman, there was “extreme tension” while filming, as there were constant disagreements between actors, producers, and director Frank Darabont.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Freeman explained that the atmosphere was “very strange,” but refused to elaborate on the subject. This is surprising since it appeared that all of the actors had at least some good chemistry between them.

Frank Darabont Almost Had A Different Film Debut

Darabont at comic con
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A new director looking to make his first film, Frank Darabont was initially supposed to make his silver screen directorial debut with a Child’s Play-type of horror film. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t incredibly enthusiastic with the idea, afraid it would hinder any potential that his career might have had.

Instead, he opted to take a chance and adapt Stephen King’s novella. Luckily for him, once the script began circulating, major actors and other filmmakers expressed their interest and started approaching Darabont about being involved.

Using The Film Gilda Worked Out

Inmates watching the film
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

In the novella, the prisoners watch the 1945 film The Lost Weekend. Darabont initially intended to show the same film in the movie, however, soon discovered that the rights were owned by a different studio. So, he set out to find a film that he could show a segment of without having to pay a lot of money.

This resulted in him using the movie Gilda. Darabont actually couldn’t have been happier since Gilda is one of Rita Hayworth’s most notable films, and her image plays a huge part in The Shawshank Redemption.

HBO Passed On The Walking Dead For Being Too Violent

the-walking-dead-was-too-violent-for-hbo-81873
AMC
AMC

Producers were hit with a bit of shock when they were originally trying to sell The Walking Dead to networks. Although it landed on at AMC, where it became a huge hit, it was originally pitched to HBO. The Emmy Award-winning behemoth rejected the show for being too violent.

Let that sink in for a moment. The same network that brought the world The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones, and Westworld, told producers that The Walking Dead was too violent for them to take a chance on. Their loss, we guess.

The Word ‘Zombie’ Is Never Said

the-walking-dead-never-says-zombie-53639
AMC
AMC

To help make the show more believable to modern audiences, the word “zombie” is forbidden from being written in any scripts for The Walking Dead. Instead, the words, “herds,” “walkers,” “biters,” and “undead” are used. The writers say they want audiences to buy into the fact that survivors were not prepared for the new world order.

We guess the movie Night of the Living Dead never came out in the universe these characters live in. That brilliant George Romero film gave the zombie genre life and is a must watch for any Walking Dead super fans!

SWAT Interrupted Filming During Season One

swat-interrupted-filming-of-the-walking-dead-60520
AMC
AMC

During the filming of the first season of the show, actor Michael Rooker stood on a rooftop with a rifle. Citizens in Atlanta thought he was an active sniper and called the authorities. In a matter of minutes SWAT showed up to put an end to trauma.

Producers cleared things up with SWAT, assuring them Rooker was filming a scene as Merle Dixon and was no threat to anyone on the ground. SWAT was satisfied with what they learned, and Michael Rooker was never taken into custody as an enemy of Atlanta.

Walkers Massively Outnumber The Living

zombies-outnumber-people-in-the-walking-dead-30931
AMC
AMC

When The Walking Dead begins, Rick Grimes wakes up in a hospital alone and confused. He has no idea what kind of world he has woken up to, and neither does the audience. There’s no clear timeline of how long into the zombie apocalypse Rick is when he steps into the light.

What we do know is that the world has been devastated and walkers outnumber humans 5,000 to one. Rick’s odds of survival are slim to none. If we were betting people, we’d take those chances considering Rick is the show’s main character.

Did Breaking Bad’s Walter White Start The Apocalypse?

wakter-white-may-be-responsible-for-the-walking-dead-97262
AMC
AMC

In the second season of The Walking Dead, Darryl Dixon explains that his brother, Merle, was a drug dealer before everything went wrong. The show then cuts to a bag of blue drugs that are identical to what Walter White made in Breaking Bad.

The nod to AMC’s other hit show led to speculation that the zombie apocalypse started thanks to Walter White. Of course, this is unlikely, but it’s pretty funny to think about. Other theorists think infected water is the cause. The most common theory is that biological warfare gone wrong sent the world to… you know.

You Can Buy Darryl’s Crossbow In Real Life

darryls-crossbow-from-the-walking-dead-is-sold-at-walmart-52664
AMC
AMC

One of Darryl Dixon’s defining traits on the show is his weapon of choice: a crossbow. It turns out he bought his crossbow at Walmart, and if you really felt the urge, you could too. It’ll cost you around 300 bucks. We bet you can find something better to spend your money on, though.

The cost of Dixon’s crossbow reflects the budget of the show in the first season. Producers were constrained by the small budget given to them by AMC and had to make the most out of a bad situation.

Frank Darabont Left As Showrunner After One Season

frank-darabont-was-fired-from-the-walking-dead-after-season-one-58811
AMC
AMC

Frank Darabont works behind the scenes as a producer, writer, and director. It was Darabont who adapted the show for television after earning three Oscar nominations. It only took him one season to exit, upset with AMC for the tiny budget they gave him.

Darabont sued AMC for $280 million after being fired. Several actors and crew members he hired left the show in solidarity with him. One of the biggest was the actor who played Dale, whose character arc in the comics went much further than in the show.

Carl’s Stand-In Is An Adult Female

chandler-riggs-from-teh-walking-dead-and-his-stand-in-60486
AMC
AMC

Rick’s son Carl does a lot of growing up in The Walking Dead. The show takes place over several years because of the actor’s inability to stay eight years old forever. In season four, the 15-year-old actor had a stand-in twice his age and the opposite gender.

The actress who was cast as Chandler Riggs’ stand-in is named Emily Brobst and was 31 years old during season four of the show. Aside from her work on The Walking Dead, she was also a part of the stunt team for Godzilla and Iron Man 3.

It’s Freezing During Filming

walking-dead-cold-at-night--32941
AMC
AMC

Filming for The Walking Dead happens when the weather is not warm. When scenes have to be shot at night, it’s absolutely freezing. The show isn’t supposed to take place in an area that gets so cold, so post production is called in to save the save the day.

The best example is the season two episode “Beside the Dying Fire.” Temperatures were so low while filming that the actors had visible steam coming out of their mouths while breathing. Using movie magic, editors were forced to digitally remove the breath before the episode made it to air.

The Prison Was Supposed To Be A School

the-prison-in-the-walking-dead-was-supposed-to-be-a-scholl-39481
AMC
AMC

During season three, the show moved into one of its most iconic locations: the prison. Fans of the comics were ecstatic. In the comics the prison is where the survivors take shelter before facing off with the Governor. The show ended up following the same storyline, even though it originally had different plans.

When producers began scouting locations for season three they looked for schools. Yep, before finding the perfect prison to loyally re-create the comics, the third season was supposed to take place in the lonely halls of a post-apocalyptic school. Watch out for the hall monitor!

Chandler Riggs Ate All The Pudding

the-walking-dead-pudding-scene-95490
AMC
AMC

In one of The Walking Dead’s most famous scenes, Carl sits on a rooftop after escaping certain death and finds happiness in a can of chocolate pudding. A 112 OUNCE can of chocolate pudding. When he returns to Rick, he says it ate it all.

He’s not lying. Chandler Riggs says the scene was one of his favorites to film, but he absolutely hated pudding when it was all over. We don’t know how many times they had to film the scene, but it sounds like Riggs ate all, if not most of, the seven pound can of pudding.

Andrew Lincoln Isn’t His Real Name

andrew-lincoln-isnt-his-real-name-68206
AMC
AMC

Are you ready for this bomb to be dropped? Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays Rick Grimes, is not really named Andrew Lincoln. His real name is… wait for it… Andrew James Clutterbuck. That’s not a typo and we fully understand why he adopted Lincoln as a stage name.

Of course, it’s pretty normal for actors to take stage names that are easier on the ears. Clutterbuck definitely doesn’t make us think “Hollywood hero!” Also, when you try and say it, pronunciation is key or you’re going to embarrass yourself.

The Governor Has 24 Heads In His Collection

the-governor-from-the-walking-dead-92124
AMC
AMC

Season three is probably the most beloved season of The Walking Dead. During one scene, it’s revealed that the Governor likes to sit in a darkened room and stare at fish tanks full of zombie heads. For the curious, he keeps 24 heads for his viewing pleasure.

For those even more curious, the water in the tanks was dyed with green tea to get that disgusting opaque greenish-yellow look. Now that you know, good luck sleeping at night. You never know when the Governor will come to take away!

The Walkers Eat Ham, Not Humans

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Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

As graphic as the show gets, it’s important to remember that it’s just a show. You aren’t really watching walkers eat human flesh. What you are watching are actors in zombie makeup getting fat and happy on salty (and hopefully delicious) ham.

Sometimes chicken is used, too. When Dale is being consumed by ravenous biters, they are really taking huge chunks of chicken breasts. They might not be eating humans, but if you’re a vegetarian you’ve been warned. The Walking Dead is not the show for you.

Speaking Of Fake Food, Let’s Talk About That Mouse

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There’s a storyline in the show where it’s revealed that Lizzie, a young girl, is feeding the zombies’ mice. The girl thinks of the walkers as pets and is trying to take care of them. If you remember this story arc, then you know it doesn’t end well for Lizzie.

It also doesn’t end well for the mice. Luckily, the actors in makeup aren’t really eating mice. To make the fake animals, the crew made them out of gelatin, then filled the insides with grape jelly. That sounds… better than fresh mouse.

Fans Aren’t Very Nice To Actors When They Meet

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Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Fans can be crazy. Now that we have that established, fans of The Walking Dead take the crazy cake. Apparently, for some reason, they like to bite the actors when they meet them in real life. Sadly, we’re not joking, just ask Tyler James Williams.

Speaking to TV Guide, the actor said, “I got bit one time. I think it was like ‘Haha! A Joke’ But it wasn’t funny. The last show I did I was kind of ripped apart, so I think they thought it would be fun to re-enact it.”

Walkers Don’t Blink

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Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Working on set as a walker might be the hardest job on The Walking Dead. In order to be cast as an undead extra you need to attend “zombie bootcamp” where you’re taught how to walk like you’re leaving a bar at 2 am and how to not blink.

That’s right, zombie actors must adhere to a strict set of guidelines, and one of those is to blink as little as possible. Any blinking must be digitally removed in the editing bay, which is an understandably tedious job for an editor.

Norman Reedus Didn’t Audition For Darryl

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Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When Norman Reedus booked his audition for the show, he wasn’t looking to be cast as Daryl Dixon. He was auditioning for the part of Merle Dixon, Darryl’s redneck brother. At the time of his audition, the character of Daryl Dixon didn’t even exist.

Producers loved Reedus so much that they wanted to use him full-time and created the role just for him. It’s lucky they did. Daryl has become a fan favorite on the show. Amazingly, his character has not crossed over into the comic book series yet.

Walkers Are Silent Predators

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Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jonathan Kirn/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Okay, if you watch the show, you know that walkers are anything but quiet. They groan and moan and you can generally hear them coming from a mile away. The actors who play them are the ones that are completely silent.

When filming, zombie actors are not allowed to make any noise. All the grunts and things you hear in the show are added entirely in post production. We don’t know why, but that’s how the show chooses to do it. They also don’t let zombies eat with the living cast during lunch.

It Veers Wildly From The Comics

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While this should come as no surprise, just how wildly the show veers from the comics is pretty amazing. One of the biggest shocks the show pulled was the deaths of Sophia and Andrea. Both are still alive in the comics (as far as we know).

Andrea becomes Rick’s girlfriend after the survivors settle into Alexandria. In the show, she never makes it out of the prison. Sophia is offed even earlier, turning into a zombie and being “taken care of” by Rick. In the comics, she’s adopted by Maggie and Glenn after becoming an orphan when Carol takes her own life.