Much like the characters that wonder aimlessly through the barren wastelands of the world following a zombie apocalypse, “The Walking Dead” has had a difficult journey from the page of the Robert Kurtzman-penned comic books to “Mad Men” home AMC. While the strong ratings certainly don’t reflect the behind-the-scenes turmoil that’s been aired quite publicly since the show’s debut on October 31, 2010, as you know things downhill fast when “The Shawshank Redemption” helmer Frank Darabont shocked many by quitting as showrunner of the series. A dream project he had been trying to get off the ground for years before AMC took a chance, Darabont walked away from the popular series due to clashes with the network over budget cuts and left behind a cast of many, that like a lot of viewers, signed on to the project based on Darabont’s name alone.
Though thankfully this isn’t a piece of news about “The Walking Dead,” but a potentially intriguing bit of info by way of Variety that Darabont may be saddling up with “The Walking Dead” star Jon Bernthal on his recently announced TNT project “L.A. Noir,” where he’ll be serving as writer-director of the series’ pilot. Based on author John Buntin's non-fiction tome "L.A. Noir: The Struggle For The Soul Of America's Most Seductive City," concerning the struggles of L.A. Police Chief William Parker and nefarious gangster Mickey Cohen throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s, Bernthal is apparently in early negotiations for a role as Joe Teague. Teague is a Los Angeles cop uncovering corruption within the LAPD and in true “Serpico”-style sniffs out links between those who are supposed to serve and protect with the ones they’re supposed to be protecting us from. TNT has declined to comment as to whether Bernthal is in talks with the AMC rival, but as always a “source close to the situation” is usually pretty on the money in Variety’s case.
It wouldn’t come as a shock as it was widely reported many “The Walking Dead” cast members had grown quite fond of Darabont, with many keeping mum on the matters at hand in order to keep their place on the hit series. Bernthal’s character, the loose cannon best pal of lead Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), is quickly dispatched in the comic series after descending slowly into madness following a relationship with Grimes’ wife after assuming Grimes was zombie food. The affair between Grimes’ wife and Bernthal’s character Shane is already one of the repetitive storylines bubbling below the surface of the overwrought show, with Shane starting to show his darker side, so like the comics could his death be next? The prospect of Bernthal looking for some work for life after “The Walking Dead” appears plausible.