Our second installment (check out the first one right here)of what, exactly, the cast of The Walking Dead was up to before they were famous! This week we feature Danai Gurira, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Michael Rooker and Jose Pablo Cantillo!
Danai Gurira (Michonne)
Danai Gurira first began acting professionally in 2004, making an appearance on the TV show Law and Order: Criminal Intent. But she really made her first splash with her performance in the award-winning play she co-wrote, In the Continuum.
In the play, Gurira portrayed a woman going through troubled times with her husband, who she discovers has infected her with HIV. Her character, a Nigerian newsreader who is currently pregnant with her second child, must make several difficult choices that will forever affect her family. And we thought Michonne had it rough…
That same year, she also starred in award-winning film The Visitor (2007), in which she played an illegal immigrant who illegally sublets a man’s apartment. It looks like Gurira is always up for playing impressive roles that depict complex women.
Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale)
Jeffrey DeMunn has been acting for over forty years and has played an array of characters over his lifetime. He began on the stage, performing in Shakespear’s King Lear to appearing in The Twilight Zone. One of his most notable performances during the 1990s was The Shawshank Redemption.
Considerably more hair! Anyway, he was cast as the District Attorney who sent Andy Dufresne to jail, despite his claims of innocence. After working with Frank Darabont, he began to work with him regularly on films, such as The Green Mile, The Majestic and The Mist.
Pictured above, DeMunn with another familiar Walking Dead cast member Laurie Holden (Andrea). Another fun twist, in The Mist DeMunn played a man being hunted by strange creatures. Trapped in a grocery store by monsters, the scene is vaguely reminiscent of TWD!
Steven Yeun (Glenn)
Before he was a pizza boy-turned-survivor on The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun had actually been in Los Angeles for about a year acting. The same year Yeun joined the Walking Dead, he also had a bit role in the popular show The Big Bang Theory. He played Sheldon’s former roommate, Sebastian, who shows up to warn the group about Sheldon’s more eccentric tendencies.
Since rising to stardom, he has appeared on TV programs, such as Law and Order: LA, The Legend of Korra and Warehouse 13.
Pictured above, Steven rocking his Law & Order ‘do [correction: this is from My Name is Jerry, one of Steven’s earliest roles. Thank you to commenter Melanie H for pointing this out]!
Michael Rooker (Merle)
Michael Rooker has been in show business for nearly thirty years, performing in an array of successful shows and movies. His first major film debut was in Henry: Portrait of a Killer:
After that role, he continued on to have several roles in dramas like Eight Men Out, Mississippi Burning and JFK. You may also recognize him from the cult classic, Mallrats.
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Martinez)
Jose Pablo Cantillo has been working in arts and entertainment for over a decade, appearing on a number of TV shows. His first major movie appearance was in the 2006 film Crank starring Jason Statham.
In the movie, Cantillo plays a gangster who is being hunted by a man that he had poisoned. As you can see, that didn’t work out too well for him in the end.
Cantillo also appeared in the film Disturbia, where he played a no-nonsense cop with a grudge against Shia LaBeouf. In this horror movie, I bet you couldn’t guess his fate (hint: it also didn’t work out too well for him…).
Did any of these surprise you? Are we missing anything major? And who do you want to see next??