W. F. Bell is another of the Saviors we are programmed to love to hate. Yet in real life he is such a Sweetheart. When I asked what name he went by on the show, he said Josh Mikel called him The Anchor. You’ll see why in the beginning of this video as the hostage Saviors run for freedom with Morgan giving chase.
Source: YouTube/MatiaSS Correa
Continue reading to learn more about The Anchor, W. F. Bell, in his answers to my Baker’s Dozen of questions.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Lake City, Florida
How did you get into acting?
One of my favorite musicians, Rob Zombie, crowd-sourced his last movie called “31” back in 2015. With a lot of help from family and friends, I was able to participate. Being in a horror movie was a bucket list item of mine since I was a kid, let alone being in a horror movie directed by a metal musician I’ve been a fan of for a long time! When I got out to California to shoot my scene, Rob cast me for an additional part on the spot, and I was credited as “Goon #2” in the film. It was an awesome experience, complete with stunt work and getting to rough up one of his main characters! Something I’ll never forget. He’s a great director, and I’d love to work with him again one day!
What was your very first acting role?
Goon #2 in Rob Zombie’s 31
How did you get the role of a Savior?
After many months of networking at different horror cons, I found out how the casting process worked, and I just kept applying over and over until I was finally selected. It took some time, but it was well worth the wait. Had I been cast any sooner, I would have been “killed off” pretty early on from the way things went during the first encounters with the Saviors. *Fun fact* In 2014, I met Robert Kirkman at a book signing in Senoia. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him when it was time for Negan and the Saviors to be introduced, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring to be cast as one of the Saviors. I didn’t know at the time how the whole casting process worked, so I was just throwing it out there. He told me I had the perfect look to fit that group, and I offered him one of my business cards, which he took (that was awesome)! Even though he had nothing to do with casting us, it just goes to show that if you blast it out to the universe, you just may get what you ask for! Almost 11 months to the day that I met him, I was filming my first scene with The Walking Dead, which was one of the roadblock scenes in the Season 6 finale. I was the leader of the biggest roadblock Rick and the gang ran into while trying to get to The Hilltop.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the role to justify why he was part of the Saviors?
I didn’t really do anything to prepare aside from reading the graphic novel ahead of time, so I had an idea they were coming up. The way they were depicted in the novel sounded like an interesting group to be a part of. I didn’t know during the casting call that that’s who they were casting for. It just said, “looking for big, tough, bearded guys with firearms experience”. I assumed that they were casting for Saviors but wasn’t 100% sure. I haven’t really come up with a “back story” for my character per se, but if something like that were to happen in the real world, the “real me” would probably be looking for some type of group with a certain level of organization to deal with the madness. While not everyone agrees with Savior Doctrine, it’s at least something to keep us alive another day, and it makes for great story telling 🙂
Were you a The Walking Dead fan before landing the role?
I was. We started watching the show shortly after it initially aired. I was hooked from the beginning. The writing and the character development is amazing. When we went out to shoot Negan’s introduction scene, that was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever experienced. Almost every main character was present for that scene, so it was like I stepped into my TV, and there I was in the mix. I was chosen to handle a main character in that scene, which was Abraham. My job was to disarm him, so I took his hunting knife and his 9mm pistol from him. I thought that was cool, he was one of my favorite characters! So essentially, I was the last person to interact with Abraham before he met Lucille. I’ve been very fortunate to be chosen for some cool things throughout my time there. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.
What has been your favorite acting role?
I’m going to borrow this answer from a veteran actor that I’m a huge fan of. My favorite role is the next one. It’s a very competitive industry, so when I get cast for new things, or even get looked at for new and challenging roles, that’s pretty exciting to me.
Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and acting career?
My immediate family and close friends. They are very encouraging, and that motivates me to do the best I can in this new endeavor. I’ve only been working in the industry for three years, so I have a lot of catching up to do, and a million and one things to learn. I also want to give a quick shout out to my oldest boy, he was part of “The Kingdom” in season 7. He was one of the archery kids when Rick and company went to meet King Ezekiel for the first time.
Were there any funny or memorable behind the scene moments on The Walking Dead you experienced?
Indeed there was! As I said in an earlier question, I was chosen to disarm Abraham in the season 6 finale. Well, the sheath for his knife and holster for his pistol both had bent/corroded snaps on them, so getting those out were a bit of a challenge. After about the fourth time of fumbling around like a rookie trying to get his weapons out, we finally got them situated to where he could leave the snaps unsnapped so it looked like I was a seasoned pro when taking his stuff from him. I don’t think he was amused with my previous attempts lol. In addition to the snaps sticking, the temperatures were in the mid-20’s that night, and I didn’t have gloves on, so that created a pretty significant dexterity issue. So yeah, there was a little anxiety when stuff didn’t exactly go as planned, but we got through it! When we came back to shoot the Season 7 premier in May, we shot part of that follow-up scene during the day, and it was considerably warmer, which means the bugs were starting to show up. While I was in the holding area, I was bit by a tick despite the fact that I was slathered in bug spray. Most of the time tick bites aren’t a big deal down here, but I guess I was just lucky that day lol. This one was a small tick, so I didn’t discover it for a couple of days. Once it was identified as a tick, my wife plucked it off and within an hour, the bite site turned into a large bulls-eye rash. I went to the doc, and as soon as she saw it, she prescribed antibiotics straight away. A bulls-eye rash is symptomatic for Lyme Disease, which I learned the hard way lol. So, I brought back that little souvenir with me from shooting that episode. How crazy would that be, a zombie apocalypse starting from a tick bite while filming a show about the zombie apocalypse. Dammit, I guess that makes me “Patient Zero”! That would suck a little bit, my apologies humanity!
If you’ll look in the background, you’ll see The Anchor standing near Abraham after disarming him.
Do you have any hobbies or special projects?
I’m learning how to play the electric guitar, and I need practice lol! It’s a lot more difficult than it looks! I’m also writing a couple of stories that I want to direct as indie films, but those are still a work in progress. In addition to that, I’m also learning the technical side of the camera, so I can gain a better understanding of cinematography for when it’s time to shoot the aforementioned indie films.
Without giving away any info or spoilers, how do you feel about the war?
As a fan, I kinda wish it wasn’t going on. I hate losing characters I’m a fan of (still bummed about the Abraham thing)! But…from a Savior‘s standpoint, those other communities should just get their act together and do what we say, and all will be good! If they did, we wouldn’t be in this mess lol!!!!
Do you have any new acting roles in your future?
I’ve been cast as a main character for an indie series that is currently in pre-production. That’s about all the details I can give right now, but I’m pretty excited about it. One of my Savior buddies wrote the story, and I’ll be working with him and several other folks on the project. Can’t wait! I have also been auditioning for other projects, so we’ll see if I land any of those!
Is there anything you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know?
I like to watch Bob Ross painting videos before I fall asleep…
Who doesn’t enjoy Bob Ross painting happy little trees and clouds? For those of you who have never heard Bob Ross’ soft, soothing voice as he paints, here is a video clip.
Be on the lookout for W. F. Bell in any new series and/or movies. I adore this new picture of him…shades of James Bond, maybe? And how can those beautiful baby blues look menacing?
Source: W. F. Bell
Don’t forget to tune in to AMC for The Walking Dead on Sunday night at 9/8C. Tell me your thoughts by leaving me a message here or on Twitter @sassypoo