One of the hallmarks of The Walking Dead in recent years was seeing the show’s cast at conventions. There was a point when it seemed like there was a TWD actor appearing somewhere in the world every weekend, but TWD alum Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) is shining a light on the lengths AMC took to keep their actors from burning out.
Cudlitz recently appeared on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast Inside of You to promote his new CBS show Clarice. He also opened up about his time on The Walking Dead and how AMC wanted to avoid burnout and schedule conflicts among its actors by paying them not appear at too many conventions. “You got a little more each episode to not do X number of conventions,” the actor said. “Some people were doing them every weekend and it was interfering with the work schedule.”
Not all cast members made appearances at conventions, and top-billed stars like Norman Reedus spaced the lucrative appearances out. But it still took a toll. “Norman wasn’t doing that. His [convention appearances] were spaced out, because they took a lot out of him because he was a huge convention draw. It took a toll on him physically just doing that.”
The Walking Dead actors have always been big draws at San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con, where AMC ensures that the entire cast is available, even during filming, to show up.
This practice sounds like it applies more to smaller conventions, where actors can make extra money by selling autographs and photos at $50 to start. That kind of money is hard to pass up. AMC tried to offset the draw of conventions by increasing salary to dissuade the cast from appearing too frequently and burning themselves out.
Michael Cudlitz has kept up his convention appearances and his connection to The Walking Dead
Cudlitz knew his time on the series would be limited, as Abraham’s fate was already sealed in the comics. Conventions became a way to connect with fans after his departure from the show.
Thankfully, Cudlitz is never too far from The Walking Dead family. He became the first TWD actor to direct an episode of the series, making his directorial debut with season 9’s “Stradivarius.” He went on to direct several more episodes of the flagship show and he even branched out to direct episodes of the most recent spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond.