- ABOUT US
The Talking Gadd
Oklahoma City native Paul Gadd, a producer on AMC’s hit drama The Walking Dead, has a plan to evade the zombie hordes
Published November/December 2013
For Paul Gadd, the zombie apocalypse is an everyday reality. Since 2011, the Oklahoma City native and University of Oklahoma graduate has been a producer on The Walking Dead. Based on a bestselling comic book series of the same name, the zombie survival epic has become one of the most popular cable shows of all time. It airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on AMC. The show’s first three seasons are available on Blu-ray, DVD, and via iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon streaming. amctv.com.
What shows or classic television moments made you want to work in television? My mom, Lola Hall, worked at Channel 9 in Oklahoma City for ages, so I kind of grew up at television stations seeing all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I thought it was really cool, so no doubt that played a role.
How do you think growing up in Oklahoma prepared you to survive a zombie apocalypse? In Oklahoma, you’ve got severe thunderstorms and tornadoes—some pretty apocalyptic weather. I would say if Oklahomans aren’t ready for the zombie apocalypse, no one is.
What’s your survival plan if one did happen? I would get on a boat and find an island in the Caribbean. Who doesn’t want to spend time on an island, anyway? Zombies don’t swim, although they don’t breathe, either. So you’d have to look out for zombies that wash up on shore because they could just keep going.
Is there a character on The Walking Dead you would want to have with you? It would have to be Daryl.
Why do you think the zombie ethos has such staying power? The show’s really not about the zombies. It’s about the survivors. They don’t have to deal with any of the nonsense that we have to, like traffic, bad cell phone reception, and work. It’s about surviving and what you have to do without all the stuff we’ve been so spoiled by. What would you do if you had to find food in the wilderness? How would you handle monsters coming at you? Zombies can also represent fears of what’s out there. People have their own personal zombies. They can take away from it what they want. It’s the monster under the bed.
What do you think has paved the way for the show to be so successful? You could say we’re working in the golden age of television. There’s such a variety of shows on television right now, thanks to cable. It used to be three or four networks, but now that you’ve got a vast array of cable channels that are making their own shows—as well as Netflix and Amazon—there really is stuff out there for everybody. I think it serves individual viewers better because we don’t have to worry about getting twenty million people to watch every episode. We can make things that are more intriguing for not as broad an audience.
Have you had a favorite zombie on the show? The zombie in the RV in season two that Andrea took down was pretty awesome—I just bought one of our editors the RV Walker bobble head for a gift. But special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero and his team have done a fantastic job this season of stepping up the zombies and making them look better than ever before.
Tell us about your favorite scene on The Walking Dead. In season two, there was that great scene where Shane goes berserk and lets the zombies out of the barn, and Sophia is one of them. Also the scene last year with Carl and his mom—she has the baby and dies, and then Rick finds out. That was fantastic, in a horrific way. That’s one of the scenes that proves it’s not all about the zombies.
Which character has been the hardest for you to say goodbye to? I hated to see Merle go last year. I thought he was such an interesting character. He wasn’t part of the main group—he was sort of an antagonist. He wasn’t with our group or against us—he rode the line. I liked the shadows he played.
What scares you? Well, zombies scare me, right?