Fear the Walking Dead brings Hollywood zombies to El Sereno … or is that Vancouver?

woodrow wilson google map

Wilson High doubles as Paul R. Williams High in Fear The Walking Dead

EL SERENO — This Eastside neighborhood is home to one of the largest universities in the  state, Cal State L.A., and one of the city’s largest green spaces, Ascot Hills Park. But later this month, El Sereno may become best known for zombie apocalypse.  Fear the Walking Dead, a prequel to the highly popular The Walking Dead, debuts Aug. 23, with its main characters calling El Sereno home.

In fact, the hillstop campus of Woodrow Wilson High, renamed Paul R. Williams High, is featured prominently in some episodes as the place where the two main characters work. The school’s alumni assocation noted that Principal Luis Lopez’ office served as a set for the AMC program, and there was also filming on streets near the El Sereno school.

A New York Times story sheds some light on the Eastside location of the new show:

The Los Angeles setting also permitted “Fear the Walking Dead” to show a grittier side to the city than typically seen on screen. The creators promise we’ll never see the Hollywood sign or zombies shuffling past the Griffith Observatory.

The main characters live in El Sereno, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles and one of its most diverse. The cast mirrors the city’s diversity. Ms. Rodriguez’s character, Travis’s ex-wife, was reimagined as Latina after the actress read for the part, she said. Travis was originally written as Latino, but that was changed to Maori to reflect Mr. Curtis’s heritage.

And “Fear the Walking Dead” pointedly delves into the immigrant experience through Ruben Blades’s character, a barber named Daniel Salazar, who fled El Salvador in the early 1980s. “People who come here have many different reasons,” said Gale Anne Hurd, an executive producer on both “Walking Dead” series. “Quite a few of them are escaping violence in their own countries, want to start over and Los Angeles is a city of rebirth, it’s a city of reinvention.”

But while the show’s main characters may live in El Sereno, expect only limited amount of filming in the neighborhood. Most of the program has been shot in Vancouver, where producing a zombie apocalypse is cheaper than in Los Angeles.

Eastside Guide Small Logo

The Eastside Guide Business Directory is designed to help readers find the services and products they need.

The businesses and services in the directory have not been reviewed nor are they endorsed by The Eastsider. Users are responsible for taking care to investigate any offers, products or services provided by businesses listed in the directory.

Want your business included in the Eastside Guide? Click here for details


  1. Interesting premise. Sounds awesome!

  2. It’s really cool the series is giving Paul Williams his due respect. Williams designed the campus, a fact I’ve encouraged the principal(s) to promote over the years. It seems few in the district, or the community, know what a gem this campus is or the important role Williams played in the civil rights movement. I’ve always found it ironic the school is named after Wilson, who was such an unapologetic racist, but designed by Williams. Poetic justice, I suppose. Go mighty

  3. What? Our mayor didn’t bend over backward to get them to film here? Think of the possibilities for promoting the LA River! People wouldn’t believe they actually filmed in LA.

  4. There is already plenty of walking dead in El Sereno. Just look around the El Sereno liquor store area.

    • Anyone walking in El Sereno has a high likelihood of being dead. It isn’t just the drunks. Huntington Drive, Eastern, Alhambra Road, Valley Boulevard – all of them suck if you’re walking on them. Perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic horror show.

      • So false. I’m a professional white male who recently moved into the area from Mt. Washington. I regularly walk my dog at night on the streets you’ve mentioned without any problems. Look up crime rates. So ignorant.

        • Talk about jumping to conclusions. i think ubrayj02 is referring to those streets simply being dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. Afterall, he is an advocate for those groups. All the streets he mentioned tend to have really fast auto traffic,, broken sidewalks, inadequate bike lanes and quick crosswalk lights. Try crossing Huntington drive at Monterey with a several kids and groceries. Both Eastern Ave by ES Park and Huntington drive have seen several fatal accidents in the past 5 years or so. Valley is often used for street racing. Kids have to cross rr tracks to get to the area surrounding romana gardens. Not exactly ped/bike/kid friendly.

          • If ubrayj02 was referring to the lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, I apologize. I only got defensive because of a recent series of unsupported, anti -ES comments ive seen on these blogs. They claim the neighborhood is full of crime and unsafe due to gang activity and the like… I’m so tired of those completely unfounded claims.

  5. I bet you’re the white guy I see walking down Collis. Try walking it on Locke or Guardia street/s and you may sing a different tune.

    • I walk em all (not so much Collis or hillside village though, but not for any particular reason). I haven’t experienced what you claim. Good to know you feel that white people aren’t welcome on the streets you mentioned haha. Don’t make the mistake of justifying your prejudice with some disingenuous concern for safety. Also don’t mask your very personal prejudice by framing a mutual/public opinion of the residents on those streets. I think you’re from a small set of fear mongering individuals that are fearful of a changing neighborhood. I think things can change for the better while maintaining the culture and character of the existing residents– it’s already happening.

      • By “change” I mean restoration.

      • Well said Mason!!!,, I too walk them all with my dog, with the children with adults with disabilities and have not experienced any crime no unsafe situations. The neighborhood is changing for the better and every prudent current resident is ecstatic!!!

  6. Our family has lived in Hillside Village since the 50s. We will never associate ourselves with El Sereno….

Leave a Reply to Mason Cancel reply

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *