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NY Wintercon 2016: ‘The Walking Dead’ Panel
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The Walking Dead 7.2 Khary Payton as Ezekiel

[Khary Payton as King Ezekiel on AMC’s The Walking Dead.]

Celebrating the best in science fiction and fantasy, NY Wintercon crash landed at the Resorts World Casino NYC in Queens this past weekend. The convention played host to plenty of guests, tons of cosplayers, and more comics and merchandise than you look can flip through. Day 1 on Saturday saw a main stage panel for possibly the most popular TV show going on today, AMC’s The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead panel featured Khary Payton and Austin Amelio. Payton joined the cast for Season 7, which is currently underway, to play King Ezekiel, who runs The Kingdom, another “utopian” community in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of TWD. Payton talked about his transition from 15 years of voiceover work to working on the hit television series.

When asked about interacting with Shiva the CGI tiger, the actor said he’s fine with it since he’s used to using his imagination in all sorts of ways.

The Walking Dead 7.3 Austin Amelio as Dwight

[Austin Amelio as Dwight on AMC’s The Walking Dead.]

Amelio, portrays Dwight, one of Negan’s main guys. He was introduced in the series in Season 6, when he and his wife Sherry and her sister had fled Negan’s compound. Upon return, he was welcomed back, but there was a punishment for his actions — he was burned in the face with an iron, and Sherry became one of Negan’s many wives. In Season 7, we’re seeing his inner conflicts, as well as his many interactions with Norman Reedus’ Daryl, who is currently Negan’s prisoner.

Amelio joked with Payton about the crew on TWD who act out Shiva’s parts. The moderator asked Amelio about his prosthetics for his facial burn scar and they both joked about how gross it is walking into the makeup room and seeing them hanging there before he sits for 90-plus minutes of application.

Both actors discussed the nature of acting and how scary it is to actually get a part because you get used to rejections. Amelio said this was his longest-running role and he feels like he’s on vacation because they don’t film again till April. Payton laughed and the talked about how nothing is certain on TWD and that any given moment a zombie could bite their ankle and they’re dead.

The mid-season 7 finale airs next Sunday night on AMC, and then the show goes on break until February 2017.

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