The Walking Dead: Justin Kucsulain on his role of Ethan

Ethan and Gregory - The Walking Dead, AMC
Ethan and Gregory - The Walking Dead, AMC /

Ethan turned a lot of heads on The Walking Dead when he stabbed Gregory, but the actor playing him, Justin Kucsulain, hopes to use it as his big break.

Justin Kucsulain is just like many other actors who are trying to get a big break in acting. His first role in a major project was Iron Man 3, where he played the role of a guard. However, his much of his part in the film ended up being cut and he only appeared in the theatrical version of the movie for a split second.

"“I was still new to the industry so I was thinking ‘I’m gonna be a movie star,'” he said to the Tampa Bay Times about his Iron Man 3 role in disappointment."

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Now, Kucsulain got another opportunity. This time, it was to play Ethan on AMC’s The Walking Dead. While that wasn’t a big character, the scene he was in made a big impact. Fans of the comic book series assumed this moment was coming, but for those who only watched the AMC show, Ethan stabbing Gregory was one of the most intense moments from the episode “Knots Untie” from season 6.

Kucsulain knew how big of an opportunity being on one of the biggest shows on television was. The Walking Dead has one of the most intense followings of any program and is seen by several millions of viewers worldwide. Because of that, he was terrified to get things wrong.

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"“I was so intimidated shooting this scene,” Kucsulain told Undead Walking in a private message. “But I got a lot of support and guidance from the cast and crew.”"

Of course, after the stabbing Ethan rolled around on the ground and fought with Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln. This fight was intense, with each side seemingly getting the better of the other at times. Sadly for Justin Kucsulain, the scene ended with Ethan being stabbed in the neck and killed, eventually being buried in The Hilltop.

Kucsulain must be a tough guy, because he was actually on the receiving end of one of Andrew Lincoln’s punches while filming that scene.

"“One of those punches actually connected.” he said."

Using this opportunity to the fullest, the actor took every possible chance to talk with the stars of the program. In fact, Justin Kucsulain pretended to be a smoker to sit in on some of the conversations before and after takes with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus.

"“I bought some [cigarettes] so I could continue to hang out with them,” he said."

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Hopefully, this will lead to bigger and better roles for Justin Kucsulain, who made a great impression on fans of The Walking Dead during the short time his character of Ethan was alive. Thankfully, Ethan wasn’t cut out of “Knots Untie” the way he was in Iron Man 3, as that could have really been heartbreaking to the young actor.

**Updated on 3/1/16 to correct an error from the source material and include a direct quote.