- Ryan Hurst joined “The Walking Dead” to play Beta, one of the major new villains on the show.
- A longtime fan of the show, Hurst told INSIDER he asked his manager about a year ago to cold call the producers to tell them he wanted to be on the AMC show.
- A few months later, producers called back and said they had a role for him.
- Hurst’s good friend Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on the show, almost ruined the news. He said Morgan started texting him at 2 a.m. when he found out from executive producer Greg Nicotero he’d be on the show.
“Sons of Anarchy” actor Ryan Hurst was a longtime viewer of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” when he decided he wanted to be on the show.
“Probably about a year ago, I had this premonition that I was going to be on the show,” Hurst told INSIDER. “It was so strong that I actually called my agent and my manager, and I said, ‘Hey, can you call over to ‘The Walking Dead’ and tell them that I’d like to be on the show?'”
Hurst said his agent and his manager told him that’s not exactly how it works. You need to audition for the show. But he was persistent.
“I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but just cold call the producers and say, ‘Hey, Ryan Hurst would like to be on the show,’ and they did. And the producers got back to them and they said, ‘No, he can’t be on the show right now. We’ll let you know.”
At the time, Hurst said there wasn’t a character in particular he wanted to be on “TWD.” He said he just woke out of a dead sleep with a want to be on the show he had been a fan of since it started airing on AMC in 2010.
Eventually, he was surprised to hear back from the network.
“Slowly but surely, a few months go by, and my agent calls me back and says, ‘You’re never gonna believe this but they want to offer you a role on ‘The Walking Dead.’ And I said, ‘You see?'” said Hurst of getting offered the role of Beta, one of the new Whisperer villains on the show.
But Hurst says his pal Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on the AMC show, nearly ruined the big surprise for him.
“Before I knew that I’d been offered the role, Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Jeffrey and I have been friends for a long time – were out to dinner with [‘TWD’ executive producer] Greg Nicotero, and Greg had told Jeffrey that I had been offered the role,” said Hurst.
The only problem was that Hurst hadn’t officially been offered the role yet.
“Jeffrey starts texting me at two o’clock in the morning saying, ‘Dude, this is amazing! Oh my God! Oh my God!'” Hurst continued. “And I’m responding like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ Greg says to him, ‘Dude, the deal hasn’t gone through. You gotta shut up!’ And then he texts me, ‘Oh, never mind. Sorry, I’ll talk to you later.'”
Hurst said it was two weeks later when the deal finally closed and he could finally respond to Morgan’s texts saying how excited he was to be on the show.
A long time Comic-Con attendee for years, Hurst told INSIDER that fans had been telling him he had to be on “The Walking Dead.” A majority of them insisted he had to play Beta, a towering figure who wears a mask made out of one of the undead. He’s second-in-command only to Alpha (Samantha Morton) in the Whisperer group.
“I wasn’t familiar with Beta while they were saying that,” Hurst said of fans who would come up to him at Cons. “It wasn’t until I got the role that I went and explored the comic a bit more and learned about who Beta was. But fans have been telling me that I should play Beta for a long time.”
Now that Hurst is on the show with his friend Morgan, there’s some anticipation to see the two in scenes together. In the comics, Beta and Negan’s characters wind up going toe-to-toe, a matchup Hurst finds pretty perfect.
“I’ve always thought Beta and Negan are sort of foils for each other. As stone silent as Beta is, Negan is as charismatic and full of hubris,” he said.
But with Negan in jail on “TWD” right now, it’s not clear whether or not we’ll see Negan and Beta get to throw down. Fans will get to see a big fight scene between Beta and Daryl, though.
- Read more:
- 7 details you may have missed on Sunday’s ‘The Walking Dead’
- Ryan Hurst teases the upcoming Daryl vs. Beta brawl on ‘The Walking Dead’: ‘It’s a 3-page fight scene’
- Ryan Hurst says Beta’s outfit on ‘The Walking Dead’ has a lot of nods they ‘stole from other characters on the show’
- ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Ryan Hurst says he would try being a Whisperer if a zombie apocalypse ever really happened
- The 10 ‘Walking Dead’ characters fans think are most likely to die next on the show
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