Every year at Christmas time, I go through the startling realization that Andrew Lincoln is Rick Grimes, and also the guy in Love Actually who’s madly in love with Keira Knightley with the “to me you are perfect” cards. This happens ever year. Every year I am shocked and surprised by it, because that’s not the Andrew Lincoln I know and love know today. In another world, that might not be the Andrew Lincoln I know and love at all. That’s because Lincoln was almost not Rick in The Walking Dead.
While Robert Kirkman created The Walking Dead comics, it was Frank Darabont who actually brought it to life on the small screen. He wrote and directed the pilot episode, along with serving as showrunner for the first two seasons before he left. He also had a different actor in mind for the role of Rick, even though it’s hard to imagine Rick any other way.
Talking at the Hero Complex Film Festival for a screening of his movie The Mist, Darabont admitted that he originally wanted Thomas Jane (star of The Mist) for the role of Rick Grimes. “I thought Tom would be awesome for [Rick],” he told the audience, according to the Los Angeles Times, but unfortunately, Jane was unavailable at the time. Jane was filming the HBO series, Hung, and obviously couldn’t take on another TV show commitment.
Following Darabont’s comment, Jane (also present for The Mist screening) joked that if he had been cast as Rick, he’d “still have a job.” Because Hung ended in 2011. If only The Walking Dead had been created a year later, Jane would be the one out there battling all those walkers.
But then we wouldn’t have Andrew Lincoln as our Rick, and honestly to me, he’s perfect.
Image via AMC