He’s a shuffling corpse that was more than happy to talk to us once he found his jaw on the floor. Actually, his vocal chords worked just fine because it is only on the set of The Walking Dead that actor Michael Koske is reduced to grunts and groans. This past month, before someone touched up his corpse paint, Michael gave us a few minutes for some questions while he was inside the Zombie Compound.
PREVIEWSworld: How does one become a zombie in The Walking Dead?
Michael Koske: Much like any other role in most major productions, I had to submit for it. It wasn't an actual audition, but they wanted to see pictures of how tall and skinny we all were, and get our height and weight.
PREVIEWSworld: How do you learn the zombie walk and stance? Is there training?
Michael Koske: We actually had to go to training at our "Zombie School." It sounds funny, but there's a method to their madness. In going to it, we were all coached on how to walk, and react to situations, so that we didn't have a bunch of different styles, especially Frankenstein's monster type walkers, with their arms straight out, and walking all stiff-legged.
PREVIEWSworld: How long does it take for you to be in makeup?
Michael Koske: It varies on your degree of makeup. An average for the featured Walkers can be 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but for special ones, it can go MUCH longer.
PREVIEWSworld: Do the contact lenses hurt your eyes? Are you in pain for your art?
Michael Koske: I actually already wear contacts, so they didn't bother me, but the only part that DID hurt, was when you couldn't see while walking, and collided into things, or when I was playing basketball with Jon Bernthal (Shane), and didn't see him pass the ball until it was about an inch from my nose.
PREVIEWSworld: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on set?
Michael Koske: I've had quite a few incidents, but the one that sticks out as the funniest was when a group of us were attacking Shane and Otis in the gymnasium during the beginning of the second season, and I was starting to chase after Otis. Shane shoots me in the back of the head with his shotgun, and when I fell to the gym floor, my prosthetics on my face stuck to the floor. I couldn't get up, and everybody came running over, thinking I was hurt, and I embarrassingly had to say "I'm fine, I'm just glued to the floor."