That old acting adage about never working with children or animals? Yeah, Andrew Lincoln's been doing that almost exclusively on "The Walking Dead" this season, be it spending most of his time with baby daughter Judith and teen son Carl, and filling the rest of his waking hours raising the little piggies who are part of the prison's farm.
"I only work with children and animals, and, actually, sometimes both: Norman Reedus," Lincoln joked to Yahoo TV about his pal and co-star.
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"No, I became very attached to those little piglets, and they had great names," he shared about his swine co-stars. "There was Bandit. He had two little spots over his eyes. There was Chaps, and he had black legs like chaps, like one of the … 'Young man, da da da da da da' (singing "YMCA") … he looked like the cowboy (from The Village People). Then there was the unfortunately named Pork and Chop. They were incredibly quiet. They were very, very quiet through most of the filming. My favorite was the runt of the litter, Truffle. I absolutely loved that piglet. It's so sad about what happened to little Truffle."
The scene from Sunday night's "Infected" — heartbreaking even if you didn't grow up on a farm and have a pet pig named Wilbur yourself, we imagine — to which Lincoln refers found his Rick Grimes using the piglets he'd raised to lure a rampaging pack of zombies away from the prison, where they threatened to collapse the fence and gain entry into the survivors' sanctuary.
"[They] just embodied all of our hope in the future," he said of the pigs, whose deaths were a turning for Rick. He was forced to admit he could not continue to remove himself from active duty in keeping his little corner of the world safe, even if it means resuming the use of guns.
The cast and crew talk about the making of "Infected":
But Lincoln, the "Walking Dead" leader on-screen and off, was also quick to point out that filming such heavy subject matter wasn't always so serious. Or so pleasant for the olfactory senses of those around him.
"Whenever you pick these little piglets up, they do have a tendency to poop. Most of the day, I was covered in pig sh-- and blood. The funny thing was, no one would sit next to me. The chairs in between takes got further and further away from me, because I had this … I was covered in sh--. Like Pig Pen. I was surrounded by these flies. We film in Georgia, and there are insects all around, like a cloud of insects. It was one of the most fun days, but I stank to high heaven all day. Four days it took to get that stink out of my body."
"That day filming, you know what, we were laughing about it. We do all of the stunts. It's such a wild show to be in," Lincoln continued. "That was [one] of the great days. Norman was driving the truck … It's zombie chumming is what we were doing. We're chumming zombies. We were doing it, and Caleb, who is one of the producers on the show, he's a Georgia boy, and he looked at me and said, 'You two boys are Georgia boys now.' It's like a Southern sport, a mean sport that you do, zombie chumming.
"But it was such an extraordinary day of filming, such an extraordinary sequence. When I read it I went, 'We're the only show that does this kind of crazy stuff that makes sense.'"
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.