I’m sure we all know that Danai Gurira has been cast as Michonne in AMC’s hit zombie drama series The Walking Dead; and we should see a lot of her in season 3 (we hope), after her brief hooded intro towards the end of season 2’s finale episode.
And now we have your first-look at Danai in character as Michonne in the above photo, courtesy of EW.
The news of her casting came literally minutes after that final episode, when series’ executive producer (and author of the graphic novels), Robert Kirkman, announced what a lot of you folks had been anxious for.
THR caught up with Kirkman back then, to talk about the casting of Danai, and he said a few things that I thought were worth sharing here.
First, you may or may not be surprised to know that Michonne’s intro scene during season 2’s finale had already been shot before Danai was cast, and the person you saw in that sequence wasn’t Danai in costume.
Second, when asked why he cast Danai in the part, compared to the other actresses who were being considered, Kirkman said that Danai “really portrayed the power and strength that we need Michonne to exhibit. Michonne is a very complex character who’s dealing with a lot of things and has a very intricate personality. There’s a lot to that role, and Danai, more than any other actress, showed us that she could exhibit that strength and show what an intense character she could be and, at the same time, have that emotional core and be able to show a vulnerability to a certain extent that we don’t see much of but is definitely there. She really was the whole package, and I think she’s going to do a really good job.“
Third, Kirkman says that Danai will be going through extensive sword training before cameras were to start rolling in early May for season 3.
Fourth, regarding rumors last year that True Blood’s Rutina Wesley was in the running for the part, Kirkman said that he didn’t know the source of the rumor, because Rutina wasn’t even really available, and she was never in contention for the part.
Fifth, expect a 6-page origin story for Michonne, which reveals the character’s backstory, like where she was at the onset of the outbreak; but don’t expect those pages to make it into the show. Kirkman says that he likes the mystery that’ll surround her if her backstory is kept off the show; although audiences can readily read up on her if they’re that curious.
And sixth, Danai’s response to learn that she’d landed the part was thrill and excitment as you’d imagine, and she was anxious to get through her sword training, and head down to Georgia to start filming (already begun).
Kirkman expressed his excitment for the series finale’s numbers, pulling in some 9 million viewers. “They’re pretty insane!” he said.
Top it all off with the fact that Ernest Dickerson directed it and, as recently announced, is also directing episode 1 od season 3, which is expected to be even more insane.
EW asked Kirkman whether the Michonne in the comics (the unflinching warrior) is the Michonne we’ll see on screen, and he replied: “The essence of the character — her personality, her motives, everything that makes Michonne Michonne — remains intact from the comics… But like a lot of things on the show, there will be little tweaks and differences here and there. We saw that her introduction is slightly different from how it was in the comic, and her interaction with Andrea is really going to be a really cool addition to the character that I think will get television viewers up to speed, and they’ll get to know her a lot faster than comic book readers did.“
Before then however, you may next catch Danai in director Andrew Dosunmu’s latest feature project, Ma’George, which is currently in post-production.