Walking Dead superfan Nick Santonastasso has a massive following on Vine for his hilarious “zombie pranks,” which involve the teenager painting himself in zombie makeup and scaring the bejeezus out of unsuspecting strangers in public.
Now, Santonastasso has been given a bigger spotlight for his stunts. As part of Fox’s international Walking Dead promo campaign, the prankster was flown out to a Tokyo hotel to terrify a high-profile target: actor Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on the hit show.
“I don’t know who I’m scaring,” Santonastasso says from his hotel room on the night before the big prank. “But whoever you are, you’re in for a treat.” He isn’t kidding: the next day, the teenager (who was born with a rare birth defect called Hanhart Syndrome, and has only one arm and no legs) meets up with Walking Dead special effects chief Greg Nicotero, who transforms Santonastasso into a legitimate walker. Then he conspires with Dead star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), who sets up the logistics of the prank and assures his new friend that “Norman is gonna kick (their) asses.”
Finally, Reedus enters the room, under the assumption that he’ll be doing some video promos for the Japanese campaign. Then Santonastasso emerges from underneath a room service cart, sprinting toward a screaming Reedus. The actor takes the prank in stride, even acknowledging Santonastasso’s Vine series, though he does still call him a “fucker.”
The Walking Dead will return with its mid-season premiere on February 9th at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.