Leo Francis' Exclusive Interview With Eulyn Womble - Costume Designer (The Walking Dead)
I first met Caleb Womble back in 2000 through a mutual friend, when he was working on Dawson's Creek. I had the pleasure of meeting his lovely wife, Eulyn, at the same mutual friends wedding in 2011. Now, it's no secret that I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead, and I was thrilled to learn that they were working on the show. Caleb is not only a Producer on the show, but also serves as the Production Supervisor. Eulyn is the Costume Designer. Even though their work happens behind the scenes, the two are as integral to the success of the show as anyone involved. They also worked together on one of my favorite indie-horror films of the last five years, The Collection. Despite their busy schedules, they were kind enough to answer a few of my questions, in an exclusive interview with www.thechildrenofsamhain.com. A very special thanks to both of them for taking time to do this, and don't forget to watch the Walking Dead every Sunday night starting again on February 9th on AMC. Here is Part One of my interview, with the extremely talented Eulyn Womble.
Leo Francis: Eulyn, we first met at a mutual friend's wedding in 2011, whom you know through your husband Caleb. I first met Caleb in 2000 when he was working with Mark on Dawson's Creek. I see that you and Caleb have worked on a ton of stuff together, but I haven't heard the story, how did you two meet?
Eulyn Womble: We met in my hometown of Cape Town, South Africa. We were working on two different films, but we shared offices and studio space. I caught him staring at me a few times before he plucked up the courage to ask me out. He says that he felt like he was going to throw up when he first saw me! From all the butterflies in his tummy. I think that's a good thing. Ha!
LF: I am sure that your work on the Walking Dead has gotten you a lot of attention, and well-desreved. But I was even more excited to learn that you (and Caleb) had worked on The Collection, which is one of one of my favorite horror films to come out in the last five years. How did you become involved with that film? Were you given any room to work creatively in regards to the Collector's costume/mask?
EW: The mask used in THE COLLECTION was the same one used on THE COLLECTOR. Special effects make up department was responsible for the mask. It was important to me that the boots were scary! I was very excited to come up with an outfit for THE COLLECTOR when he was revealed in his home. We wanted him to look ordinary, just a regular guy. That would make him scarier!
LF: Your resume boasts both The Collection and The Walking Dead. Are there unique challenges in working with costumes and characters who are constantly getting covered in blood?
EW: There are unique challenges to working with blood and dirt! We have to have many multiple clothing items. We sometimes shoot the bloody scene first and then go back to the clean version in the same day. There are different colours of blood .... Fresh, old human blood, etc so sometimes researching takes me to strange places.
LF: Although you didn't take over as the costume designer until season 2, you've been working on the Walking Dead since the beginning. Considering the subject matter of zombies is a sort of 'niche' genre (in fact horror on television in general is pretty risky), were you ever worried in the early days of the show that it wouldn't last very long?
EW: We really weren't sure what would happen with this 'little zombie show', but with Frank Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd and Robert Kirkman, we had a very good shot at success! There is a mutual respect on our set. The actors, led by Andrew Lincoln, work damn hard, and so does out incredible crew.
LF: Were you a fan of the comic books before you started working on the show? If not, have you read them since the show started?
EW: Yes! I couldn't wait to see it come to life. I remember seeing Michonne (Danai Gurira) on set for the first time, I got quite emotional. She's perfect! My superhero.
LF: You get to work with horror-god, Greg Nicotero, who has worked on so many of the most amazing horror movies of all time. Do you get to work closely with him? Is it cool to get to see what goes into the makeup and effects that he and the crew are able to produce?
EW: I work very closely with Greg. He is always available to help and answer questions. I have learned so much from him over the years. It's very important to me that My costume design compliments and enhances the zombie make up. Together we achieve his vision. Greg has directed quite a few episodes and given his input into the principal costumes too.
LF: Your work is clearly crucial to the success of the show and you were featured on an episode of Talking Dead a while back. Was having your work showcased like that cool for you? And by the way you seem very comfortable in front of the camera.
EW: I'm always very nervous to be in front of the camera, but I really enjoy talking about my work. I get very excited to share my experiences on this show. I'm a fan too! Ha! And yes! It is 'cool' to be acknowledged and appreciated for my work. As an artist, I realize how fortunate I am. I am allowed a lot of creativity on this show and with each script, there are new and exciting challenges. I can't wait for Season 5.
LF: Your kids are fairly young, are they allowed to watch the show? If so, have they met the actors?
EW: Well, our son is 16. But our 11 year old daughter is the one who loves the show. She is, of course, a big fan of Daryl. She visited set and got Norman and Andy to pose with her like Charlie's Angels. The smile on her face is a clear indication that she was having the best day ever!
LF: First I see you featured on Talking Dead, than your husband is mentioned in an interview with the star of the show. I really get the vibe that the cast and the crew of the show are like one big family. Is that fairly accurate?
EW: The Walking Dead Family is real! We all love each other. There is no separation between cast and crew. Just one lot of hard working folks, getting it done! I've seen producers handing out water to crew on a hot day. We are all passionate about the success of this show and making a good show for our amazing and loyal fans.
LF: How hard is it on you when a character dies on the show, knowing you will not get to see that actor anymore?
EW: Our fittings are intense. Sometimes we cry. It's sad. But we all stay in touch. They all hold a very special place in our hearts. Scott Wilson just calls to say, 'Hi!'. They're gone but not forgotten. We'll always be bonded by our time together on TWD.
A very special thanks to Eulyn for taking the time to talk with me. I can't wait for the new episodes to start. Make sure to watch The Walking Dead every Sunday night, and follow Eulyn on twitter @EulynCHW. Cheers!! And stay tuned for Part 2 of my interview with Caleb Womble, Producer of The Walking Dead.
- Leo Francis