Tyler James Williams On Noah’s ‘The Walking Dead’ Shocker

Tyler James Williams as Noah in ‘The Walking Dead’ (AMC)

One cowardly act meant disaster for a member of the group on Sunday’s “The Walking Dead.”

(Spoiler Alert: This story contains details from the March 15 episode of “TWD.” If you haven’t watched, bookmark this link to come back to later.)

Terrified Alexandrian Nicholas decided to skip out on Glenn’s plan when he saw his chance at an exit in the “Spend” episode. While shoving his way out of the revolving glass door, he pushed the other side open just enough that it lead directly to the horrific death of Noah, played by actor Tyler James Williams.

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Although he only joined the show in Season 5, Tyler’s character felt like a longtime member of Rick Grimes’ gang, so the loss of Noah on the show hurt. The way Noah was killed by walkers was also one of the show’s grisliest death scenes.

But while his “TWD” exit was sad, good things are on the way for the actor. Tyler is starring alongside Gary Sinise in the upcoming “Criminal Minds” spinoff for CBS, expected to air as a backdoor pilot later this television season.

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On Monday, the actor told Access Hollywood about leaving the hit AMC show, how his friends reacted to Noah’s gruesome end, and what he can’t wait to see now that he can watch “The Walking Dead” as a fan.

AccessHollywood.com: That was the most gruesome death I think I have ever seen on ‘The Walking Dead.’ Is that a little bit of an honor that you got to go out in such a crazy fashion?
Tyler James Williams:
It was crazy when I read it, but it wasn’t until I sat down with Greg Nicotero and he broke down exactly what was supposed to happen that I was like, ‘Thank you. Thank you so, so much,’ because I’ve been a fan of the show for so long. … The idea of going out in a way that could possibly be iconic was crazy, and having been a fan, I was really kind of looking forward to it. But even seeing what happened yesterday with the kind of condensed version of it – when Greg kind of imagines stuff, it’s a lot more gruesome than it ends up being. So, just seeing what it ended up being was cool, outside of what he told me.

Access: Do you remember how it was described on the actual page in the script?
So, it had said that Noah’s face slams against the glass, as he’s torn apart. It did mention the fact that I would be fish hooked, so we knew that specifically was gonna happen. The only other thing that I know at some point was drafted, but we weren’t sure if we were actually going to pull it off, was that a finger was supposed to go into my eye socket, pop my eye out and peel my forehead back.

Access: I don’t know what to say to that. That is crazy.
Yeah. That’s the only thing I think we we’re like, ‘Yeah, that may be a bit much’ (laughs).

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Access: Did you have friends that had to look away [when it aired]? Was that tough on people who you are pals with?
I had one ex-girlfriend who called me and had to kind of express that they couldn’t really watch it. …. My mother, actually – my mom. I had told her ahead of time. I was like, ‘Maybe you just DVR this one and watch it back when you can fast forward it,’ and I didn’t really explain to her why. And she [just] actually decided to watch and was like, ‘I didn’t need to see that.’

Access: Was Scott [Gimple, ‘TWD’ showrunner] the one that actually broke the news to you that they were killing your character off?
Yeah, it was Scott. Scott, typically, will do it, I guess, for all the deaths. So we went to dinner, we sat down and he kind of broke the news, but I had expected it, kind of, in a way. So it was cool. I was ready to kind of – not ready to go, but knew that it was coming, and was just ready to kind of contribute in any way that I could to what storyline would be coming next.

Access: Who was the first person on the cast that found out? Or who came up to you first?
I think it was Steven [Yeun], actually. Yeah, because he’s so involved in it – in the death — so he was the first phone call after me and Scott sat down, and yeah, he called me and was like — everybody, of course, feels bad, but he was like, ‘Dude, we’re gonna do this right.’ And that was cool. And then, I think immediately after him was Andy [Lincoln] and then Norman [Reedus] and everybody gets a hold of it and [you] start getting a bunch of, ‘I’m so sorry this is happening,’ phone calls. But it was a good way to go.

Access: Who was at your death dinner, was it everybody? I think you guys have these in public and disguise them as birthday parties – or, do you have to have them indoors now and at somebody’s house to keep them secret?
It’s interesting because with the dinners, sometimes we can disguise them. Mine we actually had out because my character [hadn’t] been announced on TV [then]. … We shot my stuff in November — the death stuff — and I think it was the week after we finished it, Episode 504 aired, so no one really knew I was in the cast yet. So yeah, we had a little private room at this restaurant, and everybody came out and some awesome things were said and tears were shed here and there, but I think that’s one of the great things about this show that’s kind of unique is that – and I wasn’t expecting one, by the way, because I had only been there for nine episodes, I [hadn’t] really been that much a part of the family yet and they were like, ‘No, absolutely not. We will throw one.’

Access: Why were you guys at the ‘Price is Right’ wheel last night? (See Steven Yeun’s Instagram for what happened there.)
‘Talking Dead’ shoots in the same location and every time we’ve been, Chris [Hardwick] always says he’ll take us down to the wheel, but never actually does it and this time he did, which was cool. We spun it and what was crazy is that Josh actually hit like $1.00 each time he spun it. I don’t know why he’s so good at that.

Access: I’ve got to ask you, going forward, father Gabriel just betrayed the group. What are you hoping happens to him, to Seth Gilliam’s character?
It’s interesting. … It’s weird for us, ’cause I love Seth. Seth’s absolutely great and I think he really fits in with the group well and all that, however where this character is going is not promising. … I hope he’s proven wrong and doesn’t have to be killed, honestly, if he’s just kind of proven wrong and changes his heart and all that. Unfortunately, that’s not typically the way the show goes. He’ll most likely get a machete to the face, but, you know, hopefully it can end that [other] way.

Access: Lastly, which storyline that was set up in Sunday’s episode are you looking forward to seeing roll out on TV?
I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what happens now that Glenn has returned with Deanna’s son gone and what the Alexandrian family is gonna do about that. The fact that Alexandria’s now been proven unsafe, being that the group has lost a member, all of our group is going to be really on edge now. But, how the Alexandrians handle that is going to be something else. So I’m curious to see where that goes – how everyone deals with death now.

Jolie Lash

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