How One Walking Dead Stunt Almost Went Horribly Wrong For Josh McDermitt

eugene walking dead negan

Mild spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "Hostiles and Calamities."

Eugene may not have been given a big fluffy robe and chocolates whenever he was ushered into Negan's Sanctuary on The Walking Dead, but he was certainly living it up more luxuriously than Daryl had been during his stay. However, just because Eugene appeared to be safe within those walls doesn't mean actor Josh McDermitt was. Remember the moment from Sunday night's episode where Eugene was showing off his science project skills in front of some of the Saviors? It turns out the actor feared for his mullet's life. Here's how he put it.

The special effects guys showed us how to do it and I got to practice it a bunch and it was very consistent and everything. And then, of course, when it's rolling, it never went the same way twice. There was one moment, because these little balloon things were filled with hydrogen, and I was supposed to put the candle up to the balloon and it just explodes, but there were a couple of takes where it just pierced a pin-sized hole in it, so the hydrogen comes jetting out and it's on fire so it's like a blowtorch. Basically, the fire cuts the line and then the balloon starts flying around in this crazy direction and I feel like it's going to land on my mullet and catch it on fire, so I start running and I'm screaming and everyone's laughing at me and like, 'I'm literally right next to this fireball that's not exploding and you guys are laughing at me? Go for it.' I'm freaking out, man.

That's certainly no laughing matter to anyone who has a head of hair that's susceptible to bursting into flames...which is pretty much anyone. But I guess since he was the one making the "science" happen, Josh McDermitt was at ground zero when the fireball balloons started, so he didn't have the proper distance from the situation to offer a reaction relative to the actual danger. Human beings haven't survived for as long as we have by NOT running away from flying fire. I'm not sure if this means McDermitt would do a better job of surviving in the post-apocalypse, but I feel like everyone who was laughing at him would definitely be doomed.

Eugene was all about trying to appear fully in control of himself inside the Sanctuary (after initially blubbering outside his room's door), but it would have been fantastic to see the character lose it in that moment and tear ass around the room, screaming loud enough to raise a second wave of walkers. It certainly would have made him appear a little less credible to Negan's wives at that point, though it's hard to tell if they truly want to kill Negan or if they were just testing Eugene's motivations. Setting his hair on fire would have been as good a way to get the truth as biting someone's genitals, which he knows a little something about.

During his interview with EW, Josh McDermitt was asked if fans will maybe get a chance to see him zipping around like a pissed wasp on a blooper reel when the next Blu-ray set comes out. His answer gives us hope.

Oh, man. I'm all for it. I have no shame. Please! I'm sure I look like a giant idiot. I'm sure it wasn't as bad as it looked, but standing right next to it, that's what you do with stunts, especially with pyrotechnics and things like that. If something doesn't go exactly according to how it's supposed to go, then get the hell out of there. That's me running, and of course, the crew who's standing 60 feet away are laughing their butts off and it's like 'No, no, you don't get to laugh at that.'

Nobody would want anything terrible like that to happen to Josh McDermitt, but the same might not be true for the character if Eugene really is getting his nose comfortably browned by Negan. Everyone be sure to wear flame-retardant hairnets next week, as The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out what the comics tell us about Eugene's potential villainy and then head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what's on the way for TV fans.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.