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'The Walking Dead' EP On Directing Season 7 Premiere: 'It's Emotionally Grueling'

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
(Photo : Gene Page/AMC) "The Walking Dead" executive producer Greg Nicotero talked about what it's like to direct the upcoming season 7 premiere of the hit AMC zombie drama.

"The Walking Dead" executive producer Greg Nicotero has admitted that directing the upcoming season 7 premiere of the hit AMC series was one tough job.

"Shooting that first episode, the season 7 premiere, was without a doubt the most emotionally grueling and draining nine days," Nicotero told Yahoo TV. "There was nothing fun about it. It was rough, really rough."

"As far as the way that I looked at it, it was reducing these people at the end of [season 6] to the absolute lowest point that you can ever imagine them," he said of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang who were brought to their knees by new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in last season's finale. "They're all defeated, they've lost."

"We've never seen Rick Grimes scared in six years," Nicotero continued. "There has never been fear on his face, but we end season 6... Rick is so scared that he is helpless. These are two things that you never see in your hero. Imagine a hero that's scared and helpless. Where do you go from there?"

Nicotero added that the season premiere "really redefines grief ... pain, and emotion," which isn't really surprising, as the episode will reveal the identity of Negan's latest victim.

RELATED: 'The Walking Dead' Season 7: Khary Payton Reveals Ezekiel's First Impression Of Carol, Morgan

Despite the dark tone of the season premiere, series star Christian Serratos said that she had an amazing time doing it as an actor.

"While it was a dark place to go back to ... I was so excited by it," the 25-year-old actress, who plays Rosita on the series, told TVLine at last week's San Diego Comic-Con. "I was so traumatized by the idea of leaving the show or somebody leaving the show but I was really excited to like explore those emotions; I guess just as a creative person. And I think the reason is because we have a real bond on the show, and so no matter what trauma we all go through together, and no matter who leaves and at what time, we're also going to maintain some sort of relationship. So I think that is why we get to do these dark dark moments and still as actors have such an amazing time doing them."

The 16-episode season 7 of "The Walking Dead" will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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