- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” season 10 finale, “A Certain Doom.”
- Ryan Hurst speaks with Insider about the “TWD” finale after his character was killed off the show.
- Hurst couldn’t see at all while filming his death scene because of prosthetics he had to wear under his Whisperer mask.
- “I saw nothing… At the end of the day it was strangely peaceful, to be led at night by somebody else, just walking through a bunch of zombies,” Hurst said.
- Hurst was a little sad his death scene was so quick, but said TV probably couldn’t handle the three of them together on screen.
- This may not be the last time we see Beta or Half Moon. Hurst said he could “neither confirm nor deny” having a long dinner with “TWD” universe chief content officer Scott Gimple to discuss coming back on “Tales of the Walking Dead.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Beta finally met his end on Sunday’s “The Walking Dead” after two seasons as one of the Whisperer leaders on the AMC zombie series.
If you were hoping for a long, drawn out battle between Daryl, Beta, and Negan, that’s not what fans received. Daryl (Norman Reedus), knowing Beta is much larger than him, made quick work of it by stealthily sneaking up on him to swiftly stab him in both eyes.
Hurst he couldn’t see a thing at all during his death scene as fake blood spilled out around his eyes from extra prosthetics.
“It was real technical, walking from the makeup trailer completely and totally blind, led by an [assistant director], stepping over extras or laying on the ground at four o’clock in the morning in the Georgia heat,” Hurst told Insider. “It was quite a day.”
While in Vancouver, Canada to film a new Hulu series, Hurst spoke at length with Insider about filming his death scene, how he wished he had some more scenes with his good buddies Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the series, recording country music songs for the show, and hints that we may not have seen the last of him just yet in “TWD” universe.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Hurst is happy that Daryl was the one to kill him on “TWD.” He was fitted with extra prosthetics for the scene.
Daryl finally got the best of Beta. Are you happy Daryl killed you or did you want Negan to do it? I feel like Beta really didn’t even know what was happening to him at this point. He was ready to let go.Yeah, I think you’re right. I don’t think it really mattered to [Beta] who killed him. At this point, I was sort of like a kamikaze pilot. He knew that the end was near. He has 300 of his herd, or more than 300, saying, “We are the end of the world. It’s coming, It’s near.” I think he knew that his time alive as a human was coming to an end.
I think he probably left that one sort of page unturned about not getting to kill Negan for infiltrating his ranks and killing Alpha. But, I think, in the long run, for him to be bested by Norman feels very good. When you’re a great warrior, to be killed by another great warrior is sort of an honour. So I don’t think that he’s upset at that.
What was it like filming that moment with the knives going into the eyes? You have all that fake blood coming out and you’re just covered in it. I don’t know if you remember how many times Norman had to try and “stab” you to make sure he got it just perfectly. I could just see Norman accidentally catching part of your face instead.
So they painted in the blade. So all [Reedus] was really holding was the handles of knives just to make sure that I wasn’t sort of stabbed actually in the face. Thank goodness. It was tricky. It was one of those very sort of technical things. I had to have prosthetics under my mask, you know, made up of dead Beta and dead Alpha that were totally covering my eyes. It sort of squirted blood out it, you know, because of the beautiful work of Mr. [Greg] Nicotero, as always. Mr. More Blood Nicotero.
So you couldn’t see?
No. I saw nothing. I saw nothing… At the end of the day it was strangely peaceful, to be led at night by somebody else, just walking through a bunch of zombies. There’s something cathartic.
If you’re bummed Beta didn’t have a bit of a longer fight scene with Negan and Daryl, Hurst was a bit sad about that, too.
I loved your final scene, but I had one complaint. I’ve been waiting, and I’m sure the fans have been waiting, for a scene featuring you and Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] and Norman [Reedus]. The moment it was happening, I was going, ‘Yes!’ And then it was like, I snapped my fingers, and it was over. And, I went, ‘Wait, what? That’s it?’ I wished it was a little bit longer. I don’t know if you guys had discussed that at all.
I think we were all kind of a little sad at that part because the three of us are such great friends, hanging out on the weekends all the time, and riding motorcycles every other weekend. The fact that we didn’t really get a firm real good scene together, I think, we were sad about that.
But, then again, we’re like three chaotic elements. You don’t want to put them all together in one scene. It’s too much. Your TV will explode. It’s just too much cool. The two of them together are cool enough. You put me in there, it’s just going to put you right over the top.
Hurst suggested changing Beta’s comic character from a basketball player to a country music singer after reading the comic and even recorded music written by “TWD” costars.
You told me all the way back in March 2019 that you and [showrunner] Angela [Kang] worked together to come up with an expanded backstory for Beta. In the comics, he’s a basketball player. Here, we now know he’s a country singer. How did you guys come up with that? Was, that you? The more I watched, I thought it was so clever how the zombie army had this interesting parallel to a hoard of concert fans.
You know, again, I give all credit to, to Angela and to Nicotero and the producers and writers for being so willing to accept my collaborative, sort of, ideas. A lot of the time, an actor will bring a bunch of ideas to the table and they’re all sort of cast aside, but Angela was like, ‘These are great ideas. Let’s use them.’
When I read the comic and I knew that his backstory was the basketball player, it almost felt more like a gag than anything else. So these weird little things happened where I was meditating one day and I was just like, Oh, I think he’s a country music singer.
So I just wrote up all these ideas of him being a country music singer and having a best friend whose face that he sort of took with him. And that’s sort of how the Whisperers were born. I just sort of threw out all these ideas, not really expecting them to use any of them and then they sort of called me back and said, you know, what else you got? I was just so, so grateful that they, let me do that.
I said if he was a songwriter, in sort of devolving, maybe he writes a song that sort of plays out like this. And I read [Kang] this sort of poem song that became, we are the end of the world. And they used all of it. I’m just so, so thankful for that.
Speaking of the music, AMC released at least one of the Half Moon songs, “I Went to the Well,” in April. You sang that. When did you record this music and how many songs did you record?
The first song that I did, the turtle song, was written by Emily Kinney [who played Beth on “TWD”]. It was one of those sort of like actor’s nightmare situations. Before we started shooting, they said, ‘So we’re going to make him a country music singer, we’re going to use all these ideas’ and they said, ‘Well, you can sing, right?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, sort of.’
And then like two or three days before they said, ‘OK, so you’re gonna have to record a song in the next three days.’ And I said, what? What, what do you need? What song? And then something had fallen through the cracks so I got that song very, very late. And then the other song was written by Dan Fogler [who plays Luke on “TWD”]. Him and I were just vibing one day.
I know that he’s a musician. And I said, you should write a song for Beta. An hour later on my drive home, he sends me this little rough track of him singing. And I was like, ‘Oh, let’s do that.’ So we passed it along to AMC, and they got somebody that really put all the composition together, and I went in and recorded another song. Again, it’s just sort of a testament to how it’s a true sort of meritocracy on ‘The Walking Dead,’ which is like, if you have a great idea, please bring it to us and we’ll see if it fits in the show.
That’s amazing because I don’t know how many people picked up on the fact that Magna listens to you singing that Emily Kinny song on season five, episode 10 at the Hilltop. It’s playing in the background briefly.
I was trying to keep track of all the hints that were dropped on Fear and then on ‘The Walking Dead’ about your identity as a country singer. The ones that I had were that one, the album on Fear that dropped in the road. You hummed early in season 10 when you first met Alpha, probably one of your songs.
Very astute. Very astute.
Were there any other teases or hints that you can recall that I may have missed?
No, I think that’s about it. And again, I’ll give it up to [‘TWD’ universe chief content officer] Scotty Gimple. He called me early on and said we’re going to drop your album cover in Fear. And I was like, ‘Oh, I love that sort of meta crossover.’ I was like that’s beautiful stuff. I think you got most of them.
He would have liked to have seen another or more scenes between himself, Norman Reedus, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Is there anything you didn’t get to do on this show that you wished you were able to? Are there any scenes with any characters that you didn’t get face time with?
The only thing that I would have liked to see â€” just to see how all the elements would have played out â€” but if Jeff, Norman, and I were all really in one sort of sequence together.
Anytime that Norman and Jeffrey are on screen together, I love watching that dynamic. To throw sort of the darkness of Beta onto that, I would have liked to see… just put those sort of three powerhouses together. We get it for a nanosecond [on the finale] and then Beta gets stabbed in the face.
Could Hurst return to “TWD” universe one day? He’d “absolutely” return.
Well, we know we have these six bonus episodes of ‘The Walking Dead” at some point, and then a spinoff, “Tales of the Walking Dead.” Is there a chance we may see Beta again, maybe in human form?
Well, I can neither confirm nor deny whether I had a long, long dinner with Scott Gimple, but that’s pretty much all that I can say.
OK. Well would you like to come back to this world at all?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I love everything about that show. I love all the people. I love Angela. I love Nicotero. I love Norman, the cast, the crew.
You know, I had heard it so often before I started shooting season nine that there’s so much love flying around that set. There’s so little ego from anybody.
What’s next: Ryan Hurst is filming a Hulu show called “The Mysterious Benedict Society.”
You and Samantha Morton really helped roar life into this show after Andy [Lincoln] left. You basically said, ‘Hell, yeah. This show can carry on.’ Is there anything I didn’t ask you about your time on the “TWD” and what it has meant to play Beta? Or is there anything else you’d like to share?
I think that’s pretty much it. You know, anytime there’s sort of a death of a character, it’s like practicing dying in real life. You get to look back and say, what am I going to miss the most? And so the thing that I’m probably going to miss the most is just a love that was shared on that show. It’s just the love that… you’re ever doing a thing where there’s lots of blood and lots of zombies but the sort of interconnecting thread is that everybody loves to be there and it’s sort of pervasive on the set. I’ve never been on a set that was that communal.
Now that your time, at least for the time being, is done on ‘Walking Dead,’ you mentioned at the start of the call, you’re working on something with Disney and Hulu. Are there any other projects that you can talk about or anything that you’re really excited about that’s coming up.
Oh, just this show for Disney I’m very, very excited for. It’s called “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and it’s based on the young adult novels and it’s basically like if Wes Anderson made Willy Wonka or Wes Anderson made Harry Potter. It’s this beautiful, beautiful story about children coming of age who are tasked with saving the world.
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