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Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 12 of Season 6 of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead is a phenomenally popular show, but it’s not usually all that funny. In a moment that turned out to be pretty much the entertaining calm before the storm of the Saviors’ compound, Rick had to pick which of three severed zombie heads looked most like his new ally Gregory. The three heads were in varied stages of decay, but one of them looked eerily familiar. According to executive producer and special effects makeup master Greg Nicotero, in an inadvertent cameo, the head belonged to none other than Johnny Depp. Here's what he had to say:
One of the other heads, I don’t know if I’m going to get in trouble if I say this, was Johnny Depp. I think we had sculpted an emaciated version of a dummy head for something and we used Johnny Depp’s head as a basis just for a clay sculpt. I can’t remember who the third one is, but I’m in good company.
When talking with EW, Greg Nicotero also revealed that Nicotero was the man behind another of the three heads, which is why he made the comment about being in good company. Obviously, what guy wouldn’t want to end up in a lineup of Johnny Depp lookalikes? Sure, the Nicotero head had his face bashed in by Rick, but that has to be a small price to pay.
Special kudos to Greg Nicotero and the special effects makeup crew at The Walking Dead for these heads. The zombies on the show are always remarkable, but the Johnny Depp head looks enough like the actor that it wouldn’t have been totally shocking to see Depp get a "special appearance by" credit. Knowing that they were just using Depp as a basis rather than having the man come in for a mold just makes the end result all the more impressive.
Norman Reedus was certainly happy with the heads. Nicotero shared his conversation with the Daryl actor as well.
Norman [Reedus] kept saying he wanted the heads when we were done shooting. I said we’ve got to wait until the picture is logged.
Reedus has a reputation for collecting bizarre souvenirs – including Andrew Lincoln’s beard , breast implants from fans, and Scott Wilson’s ponytail - so wanting a collection of zombie heads mocked up to look like Johnny Depp and Greg Nicotero isn’t all that weird. Even the Governor wouldn’t have seemed too crazy if these had been the heads that he kept in his fish tanks.
The episode ended on a pretty terrifying note, so Greg Nicotero’s reveal about Johnny Depp’s inadvertent appearance on The Walking Dead might be just what we needed to stop worrying about Maggie and Carol, at least for a couple of days. To catch what else Nicotero and Co. cook up, be sure to tune in to The Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.