This past weekend, the New Jersey Expo Center in Edison, NJ hosted Walker Stalker Con. The convention featured stars of AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead as well as several other guests. The ferocious fans, many dressed as zombies (cough… walkers) were given an opportunity to meet, greet, get autographs from, take selfies with, and coolest of all, chat with their favorite actors. The weekend of the 2nd/3rd we were at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest in Secaucus, and one thing that was obvious at both cons, sometimes smaller is better!
Check out some of my celebrity highlights below.
On Sunday, for instance, while waiting to meet Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) we were told by an escort that “Jeffrey likes to talk with the fans.” Nobody seemed to mind the waiting times, because all the actors we met were genuinely nice people, open to conversation and some even commented about how the smaller environment (one giant room) felt so much nicer and easygoing then the stresses of the larger events… I’m looking at you Comic Con. Having spent 4-days at NYCC last fall, these past two weekends were an awesome experience and pure pleasure.
Scott Wilson – You may know him as Hershel Greene from The Walking Dead, but I spoke to him about one of my favorite independent horror films, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. When I brought it up, he said he loved working on that. When I pressed if a sequel might be in the works, he told me the director (Scott Glosserman) had just reached out to him, so fingers crossed.
Lennie James – Meeting Morgan from TWD was great, even better was talking about his role in the Guy Ritchie classic Snatch (2000). He said fans always ask about that and he has trouble remembering; “It was 16 years ago mate!”
A non-TWD actor there was Giancarlo Esposito, and while many newer fans know him as Gus from Breaking Bad, to me he’ll always be Buggin’ Out from Spike Lee’s classic Do the Right Thing.
Russell Streiner aka Johnny from the original Night of the Living Dead was also there, and he was tremendous with his fans, sharing stories of George Romero and the making of the movie that essentially created the zombie craze. Funny to think that without NOTLD there is probably not a TWD or Walker Stalker Con. Streiner also took the time to autograph an 8×10 from the film with his famous quote, “They’re coming to get you _____ (my name)”.
Max Thieriot – Dylan from A&E’s Bates Motel was another highlight. We spoke about the upcoming final season of the hit show, and the futures for his character as well the show’s connection to the source film, Hitchcock’s Psycho. He told us he will take a “stab” at directing the season’s 4th episode.
The two most fun with the camera were Walking Dead favorites Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Not only did Cudlitz have stacks of Bisquick by his table but they each took our phones and did multiple selfies with some hilarious poses and faces. Finally I was confronted Saturday by the daunting image of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark walking right towards us. I immediately channeled my inner Wayne Campbell and dropped down giving her the “I’m not worthy” pose. She agreed.
For those of you iced out of tickets to NYCC this fall, I cannot give a bigger recommendation to the smaller conventions out there. HVFF last weekend and Walker Stalker Con were so much fun, we got some neat merchandise, and actually had time to meet the stars instead of being rushed past them.
Walker Stalker Con hits Boston July 30th and 31st, and Philadelphia on October 1st and 2nd.