Corey Thouviner, the Waterloo man who appeared in a recent episode of the hit AMC TV series “The Walking Dead,” initially had no plans to turn his passion for film into a career.
“My wife (Melissa) is really the one who learned the business,” the 39-year-old said of how he got his start.
It wasn’t until two years ago, when an opportunity to be a drug dealer’s bodyguard in a short film in St. Louis came along, that his trajectory changed.
“Fugue” centers around a police detective with amnesia attempting to recall details of his life.
“She saw an ad to apply for it and said, ‘You should apply.’ I told her I didn’t really want to but she insisted. So I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it,’” Thouviner recalled.
At the time, he had been making short home videos — a hobby that began in high school — and had no schooling in acting or theater. But Thouviner was able to secure the role in the short film.
Thouviner has been in a number of movies and TV shows since then. His April 15 appearance in “The Walking Dead,” which follows survivors living in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland, is the most recent example.
“It was a really cool experience for me,” he said of being on the show.
The local actor plays a Savior in the eighth season’s finale episode titled “Wrath.” Saviors are survivors on the show who attempt to restore civilization through murder and brutality.
Thouviner is featured as an extra twice in the episode. In a scene showing the sanctuary, where Saviors live, Thouviner can be seen roaming in the background.
He reappears toward the end of the episode when a standoff ensues between the Saviors and the rest of the survivors.
“You can’t tell that it’s me though because I’m laying on the ground and my face is all bloodied,” Thouviner noted.
While on set, Thouviner also had the rare opportunity to chat with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), one of the main cast members on the show.
“He couldn’t believe I came all the way from St. Louis just to be in the episode,” Thouviner recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, are you kidding me? To be on the ‘Walking Dead?’ My wife and I watch the show religiously. (Morgan) was a really nice guy.”
That wasn’t Thouviner’s only brush with fame, as he also met actor Jason Bateman (Martin) on the set of the Netflix series “Ozark.”
“It’s been quite a humbling experience,” Thouviner said of meeting the celebrities. “You’re not supposed to talk to them if you’re an extra but if they’re standing there and start talking to you, what are you supposed to do? Ignore them?”
“Ozark” is about a Chicago financial advisor whose family enters witness protection in the Missouri Ozarks when he finds out a drug cartel is after him.
Thouviner plays a construction worker in the episode, though he couldn’t disclose details of the plot due to a confidentiality agreement. There is no official release date for Season 2 of “Ozark” at this time.
He also secured a credited role as a thug in the movie “Inherit the Viper,” slated for release later this year.
The plot centers around three siblings in Appalachia who, while dealing opioids, try to sidestep the violence associated with their profession. Actor Josh Hartnett has a lead role in the film.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen to it yet,” Thouviner said of whether the film will be picked up by a major producer.
Thouviner rattled off a number of other roles he has taken on, noting that he has done so without the help of a casting agent. He has been typecast as the “big, bad guy,” as he is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound man.
“It’s not as much as I would like and it’s not scoring me any big roles,” he shared as the downside of not having an agent.
Still, Thouviner hopes to see his career leave an impression on the people who matter most to him.
“My main reason for doing this is to have something for my family to look back on and be proud of,” he explained. “I want my son to see me and say, ‘That’s my dad. He’s on TV.’”
To watch “The Walking Dead” episode featuring Thouviner, go to amc.com.