'The Walking Dead' season 7 premiere spoilers: Khary Payton talks Ezekiel, audition process


Actor Khary Payton, who was recently announced as part of the new cast coming in for the much awaited seventh season of “The Walking Dead,” talked about his experience in landing a role in the show, and the connection he had felt with his character, Ezekiel.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Payton revealed that the process of him getting cast as the iconic character in “The Walking Dead” comics, Ezekiel, “was relatively simple.” He shared that he did not do the usual process of auditioning in front of the director and the producers. Instead, he was sent a multi-page monologue and he prepared for it by spending the next 72 hours in total isolation. “It was all on tape, so it was just myself and the casting director,” he shared.

Even before he got the chance to land a role in the hit TV series, Payton had prior knowledge of the original comic books, which was why taking on the character of Ezekiel had been a lot easier for him to do. Payton already felt connected to his character and had an understanding of how Ezekiel thinks and acts.

“I feel like I had a connection with this character in a weird way,” the actor explained. “In a zombie apocalypse one can find themselves getting down about their situation, but Ezekiel’s not one of those people. He fights with all he’s got to make sure he stays positive and stays joyful. That’s what I love about him.”

Before landing the role for “The Walking Dead,” Payton had been known mostly for his work in voice acting, having shared his talents in various video games and in animated features, with his most notable work being his performance as Cyborg on “Teen Titans.”

The much awaited seventh season of “The Walking Dead” is set to premiere on AMC this Oct. 23. The premiere episode is expected to reveal the victim of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) fatal blow, the infamous cliffhanger from the final episode of the sixth season.