To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.
As Carl Grimes, we’ve watched him grow up from a young boy thrown into a zombie apocalypse to a young man who knows his way around a machine gun, but in real life, The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs is a regular teenager — whose high school yearbook collage features his press clippings. Diehard fans know the basic deets, that the popular actor was born and raised in Georgia and started in the business early. But here are 10 things you may not know about Riggs.
1. His middle name is Carlton.
When parents William and Gina Ann Riggs named baby Chandler in 1999, they gave him his mom’s maiden name, Carlton, as a middle name. Who knew 10 years later he’d be known as Carl on TWD?
2. His first movie credit was a movie about… zombies.
One of Chandler’s first acting credits was in the 2006 horror flick Jesus H. Zombie. He was just seven years old when he played Egon, part of the zombie ensemble.
3. He wasn’t allowed to hold a gun on TWD for the first few years due to Georgia gun laws.
If you look back at Chandler’s early scenes on TWD, any gun you see him with is actually a cap gun. That’s because Georgia’s gun laws state a child can’t handle real firearms on the set until age 14. Riggs started on the show when he was 10, and he said his co-star Andrew Lincoln presented him with a machine gun at 12:01 a.m. on his 14th birthday and demanded, “Get this man some bullets!” because, at 14, he could finally fire real guns on set.
4. He still gets pudding as gifts.
One of Chandler’s most famous TWD scenes came in Season 4, in the episode “After,” when his character downed an enormous can of chocolate pudding. In an interview with Forbes, the actor said he didn’t expect the scene, which had him gobbling down 112 ounces of pudding, to be “such a defining thing” for his character. “People are still bringing me pudding at conventions,” Riggs revealed. “Those little Snack Pack things. And big metal cans.”
5. He fanboyed over The Flash star.
Speaking of conventions, when Chandler’s not a fixture at them, he’s a fan. He revealed that he ran into The Flash star, Grant Gustin, at Comic-Con and he was freaking out. “I was so excited to meet him. That’s something I fanboyed pretty hard,” he said.
6. He would miss video games the most if there was a real zombie apocalypse.
Like most teen boys, video games are Chandler’s thing. He’s so into gaming that when he was younger, he had a YouTube channel with his friends called The Orange Trampoline where they would share videos of themselves playing games. In an AMC Q&A, Chandler was asked what he would miss the most if the zombie apocalypse were a real thing and he said, “Definitely, video games.” Chandler has been known to do some Minecraft building, and his love for more violent video games helped prep him for his TWD role. The actor told Rolling Stone he played a lot of Call of Duty and Halo when he was younger.
7. He’s still a huge Phineas & Ferb fan.
Chandler has admitted that he loves to watch the Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb, even if it is “a little childish.” So he really lucked out when Vincent Martella, the voice of Phineas, appeared as Patrick on Season 4 of TWD. Chandler even got to shoot scenes with his idol. “I am such a huge Phineas & Ferb fan,” he told the Daily Dead. “So being in scenes with Vincent was really cool.”
8. He went to public high school.
Chandler was homeschooled early on so he could schedule his studies around his career as a child actor, but later attended public high school at Etowah High School in Woodstock, Georgia. He graduated in May and plans to work his TWD filming schedule around classes at the University of Georgia.
9. His parents took out a full page ad in his high school yearbook.
Chandler Riggs’s parents have every reason to be proud of him, so it’s no wonder they took out a full-page ad in his high school yearbook to tout their famous son’s accomplishments. Chandler was probably the only kid in his class whose senior ad included pics from celebrity magazines, though.
Chandler Riggs’s parents bought him an ad in his school’s yearbook and i’m laughing pic.twitter.com/XqrUp6qDc6
— kat (@smalljeon) May 27, 2017
10. His TV dad crashed his grad party.
Chandler is very close with his Walking Dead dad, Andrew Lincoln, so it’s no wonder the proud papa turned up to surprise his TV son at his high school graduation party. Chandler’s mom posted a snap of the father-son duo with the caption, “Look who surprised us at the party!”
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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