The Walking Dead: 5 Actors Who Could’ve Played Rick Grimes

6 of 6

1. Thomas Jane

Thomas Jane, perhaps best known for his role in The Punisher, takes the #1 spot on this list as he actually came the closest to portraying the iconic zombie slayer we’ve all grown to love. Frank Darabont, the filmmaker responsible for bringing The Walking Dead to television, has openly said that Thomas Jane was his first choice to play Rick Grimes. That’s not surprising, considering Darabont’s penchant for using the same actors for different projects— Jane starred in Darabont’s The Mist, which also featured Melissa McBride (Carol), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) and Laurie Holden (Andrea).

Of all the actors on this list, Jane is the only one I can buy as a viable alternative to Andrew Lincoln. He’s an incredible actor, a great leading man that would also have the right look. At the time, Jane was busy working on the HBO series Hung. Jane had agreed to do both TV shows, and Darabont tried to get HBO to pick up The Walking Dead to make this easier— but HBO ultimately passed.

When The Walking Dead found its home on AMC, HBO wouldn’t allow Jane to take part, which opened the door for Andrew Lincoln. And, in retrospect— even with as much as I like Tom Jane— I wouldn’t change a thing.

Next: The Walking Dead: Top 10 Villains Ranked