The Walking Dead has done plenty over its six-ish seasons to push boundaries and shock viewers. While those surprises usually come via zombies and main cast members being killed off, one of the biggest bombshells of Season 6 came when Rick and Michonne finally got together and had sex…only to have their morning-after slumber interrupted by an intruding Jesus. Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira proved as fearless as their characters when it came to losing their clothes on camera. In fact, according to Lincoln, we have the actors to thank for the particular epicness of the nude scene.
So we campaigned for the butt-crack shot [at the end]. That wasn’t in the script. We both said, ‘If we’re going to do it, let’s do it.’
Let it not be said that The Walking Dead lacks all realism. Andrew Lincoln’s chat with TVLine about the scene is proof enough that he and his costar didn't expect viewers to spend the entire episode suspending disbelief. The zombie apocalypse is no place for modesty, and survivors extraordinaire Rick and Michonne would definitely prioritize aiming weapons at intruders over covering up. The actors deserve tons of credit for their enthusiasm for making their nude scene as epic as possible.
Interestingly, the script called for much less skin to be shown than what ultimately hit the airwaves. Michonne was originally going to cover herself with a sheet after the rude awakening. Andrew Lincoln relates that he and Gurira knew their characters too well for either of them to cover up.
Danai said, ‘No, she wouldn’t. She’d go for her sword.’ And I said, ‘Yeah. And Rick would go for his gun. And we’d both be naked.’
Thanks to the actors, the scene makes sense for the characters as well as makes for what will likely become an iconic shot from The Walking Dead. Frankly, Rick and Michonne have never looked as badass as they did when they instinctively went for their weapons over any clothes. Hopefully for Carl’s sake, he won’t walk in. He might be less impressed with his dad and Michonne for nakedly brandishing weapons at the strange man.
Andrew Lincoln’s story of what went into the nude scene honestly makes it more fun to imagine just how the love connection went down. Rick and Michonne started off on the couch downstairs without their weapons on their bodies; they must have separated long enough to grab gun and sword and then headed upstairs to bed together, then made sure that their weapons were within reach before falling asleep. Ah, zombie apocalypse romance, where "protection" means anything but condoms.
These two actors consistently bring in some of the best performances of the Walking Dead cast, so it’s no huge surprise that they would go the extra mile to make such a major moment true to their characters. To catch more of Lincoln and Gurira as Rick and Michonne, be sure to tune in to The Walking Dead on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.