BANFF — The executive producer of AMC’s wildly popular zombie series The Walking Dead has spent his life with one foot in the fantasy realm and the other in the real world.
The show, now renewed for a third season, premiered in 2010 and tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.
The story takes place first in the Atlanta metropolitan area and then the surrounding countryside as the survivors search for a safe haven away from the shuffling hordes of predatory zombies or “walkers.”
The show stars Andrew Lincoln as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a coma to find the world dominated by zombies. He sets out to find his family and survivors along the way.
“I have three passions I have had my entire life that are coming together in this unique project: comic books, TV and horror films,” said Glen Mazzara, the showrunner and executive producer in a speech at the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday.
But Mazzara’s passions have never met with the approval from family, friends or teachers throughout his life.
“My personal experience is anything I’ve been interested in as an adult or interested in as a child, an adult comes in and shuts it down and says it’s not worthy. It’s been a puzzle I’ve been dealing with my whole life.”
Mazzara admits he is surprised by the success of the show, which is based on the long-running comic book of the same name. It is shown in 122 countries to huge ratings and has created a cottage industry with video games, action figures, board games and even playing cards.
“I feel that The Walking Dead is a success all around the world because it is the most basic, childish game you can play,” he explained.
“It’s the game of ‘chase,’ the game of ‘I’m going to get you,’ which is really just an advancement of ’peekaboo.”’
Mazzara is revealing very little information about future seasons of The Walking Dead other than plans to keep the viewer engaged.
“If I like this theory about keeping things in motion, keeping the audience on the edge of its seat — we’ll see how long people want to play,” he said.
“I’m like the dungeonmaster, I’m the gamemaster and the guy who says, ‘Look out! I’m going to get you.”’