Even though AMC’s hit zombie series “The Walking Dead” ended its 11-season run in 2022, the story is far from over. It’s already spawned one spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead,” and others are in the works. Next in line is “The Walking Dead: Dead City,” which premieres June 18—the same day “Fear the Walking Dead” will air its final episode. “Dead City” promises a slew of new adventures—and with them, new casting opportunities. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about getting cast on the series, including audition advice from its biggest stars.
- What is “The Walking Dead: Dead City” about?
- Who’s in the cast of “The Walking Dead: Dead City”?
- Who’s the casting director for “The Walking Dead: Dead City”?
- How does the casting process work for “The Walking Dead: Dead City”?
- When does filming for “The Walking Dead: Dead City” Season 2 start?
- Where can you find “The Walking Dead: Dead City” casting calls and auditions?
- What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “The Walking Dead: Dead City”?
Set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, “Dead City” takes place after the events of “The Walking Dead” finale. The spinoff follows Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan), who first appeared in the original series, as she heads north to rescue her kidnapped son, Hershel (Logan Kim). Along the way, Maggie teams up with an unlikely partner—Negan Smith (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man who murdered her husband. The two must put aside their differences to survive the hordes of walkers and save Hershel.
“Dead City” features some veterans from “The Walking Dead,” as well as newcomers to the franchise:
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan Smith
- Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee
- Karina Ortiz as Amaia
- Jonathan Higginbotham as Tomasso
- Michael Anthony as Luther
- Pallavi Sastry as Nina
- Zeljko Ivanek as “the Croat”
- Randy Gonzalez as Hunched Man
- Gaius Charles as Armstrong
- Logan Kim as Hershel Rhee
- Mahina Napoleon as Ginny
- David Chen as Gritz
- Matthew R. Staley as Hero Buraz
- Hedley Harlan as Skinny Buraz
“I really like actors to know that the time they’re in my room is theirs,” she said. “I’m very open to answering questions, and I’m very open to working on it a couple of times if they’re having a moment. I think a lot of people get so nervous, and I really want to make sure they know that coming in for me is going to be fun and warm, and I’m on their side. I think auditioning is very difficult and very stressful, and I’ve heard audition horror stories from many people that I would never, ever imagine doing to someone. So I just want people to come in a little nervous but leave happy.”
When she’s casting, Kromer looks for performers who make strong choices. “It’s an actor who owns the part, whether it’s one line or a series lead. Even if they’re not right for it, if they make it theirs and [bring] a breath of fresh air to it, I can see their talent and keep them in mind for something else,” she explained. “It’s all about timing, and people get bummed if they don’t book every role; but that’s sort of impossible. All you can do as an actor is really try to build a fan base of CDs and directors you’ve worked with and other actors and producers and writers. It’s much more important to do a good job than to stress about whether you actually get it.”
While “Dead City” hasn’t officially been renewed for Season 2, young actor Mahina Napoleon might have accidentally dropped a hint in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. When asked about her plans for the immediate future, the actor said she’d be “going back to ‘Walking Dead’ Season 2.” We wouldn’t be surprised if a second installment of “Dead City” got the greenlight any day now, as Entertainment Weekly reported that Season 2 is in preproduction.
“We’re definitely set up to go beyond [the first season],” Cohan told the New York Post. “The TV landscape is a little different and a little more trepidatious than it used to be. But we’re really hoping the show does well and can lead to a second and third and fourth or fifth season. We feel like we’ve just cracked open the egg—now, we should make an omelet.”
Currently, no casting notices have been posted; but we do have a notice for another “The Walking Dead” spinoff, “Summit.” The series is filming in New Jersey and looking for extras to play townsfolk in the upcoming series.
“The Walking Dead” franchise has also cast with Backstage for a number of different roles in other series, including parts on “Fear the Walking Dead.” And for those looking to land a zombie gig, we recommend checking out our rundown of horror projects that are casting now, and we’ll update this piece if the franchise puts out any more notices with us.
Don’t let anyone stand in your way: In an interview with us, Cohan emphasized that it’s important for actors not to be discouraged from turning their dream into reality.
“If you really want to do it, nobody can stop you. And you’re not even thinking about whether or not you can do it when you’re younger, luckily, because you’re just plowing on, and you don’t know enough [about] failure to be afraid,” she said. “But having said that, the best thing is just the amount of stories that you hear of people who were told no, and then they [went] on to be great successes. Or they don’t! But it’s up to you if you want to keep going and do what makes you happy.”
Honor the profession: In an interview with us, Morgan said that acting isn’t easy. “More than anything, it takes fortitude,” he said. “You have to really stick with it. People don't like you all the time. You have to learn to sleep with yourself after people say no to you for years at a time.”
The actor admitted that, on more than one occasion, he was ready to call it quits. But with no alternate career to fall back on, he “didn’t know what else to do.” Thankfully, his persistence paid off. “Being humble and gracious goes a long fucking way,” he said. “I was ego-driven and a bit of an ass. I think it hurt me. I think it hurts young actors today. It is a privilege to be in this business. If you are a part of this business, you are a lucky fucker. Respect it.”
Don’t overthink the process: Kromer has interacted with countless actors in her years as a CD, so she’s got a wealth of advice. “Be on time; be prepared; if you have a question, feel free to ask it,” she told us. “The biggest thing that I’ve seen actors do is really overthink the whole process, the whole journey, in terms of the auditions. I think you have to trust the script and trust why you’ve been called in, and don’t overthink it or try to build too much onto it or create a backstory that might not appear. Just being a professional in terms of being on time, having your sides, and having intelligent questions is really half the battle.”
She also advises actors to be open to constructive criticism. “I have had people get really defensive about their choices, and I’m there to try to help them get a job,” she said. “Any direction or type of feedback you’re getting in the room is because we like you—it’s not because you’ve done something wrong.”