“The Walking Dead” fans are going to see a new side of Andrew Lincoln‘s character Rick Grimes in the upcoming Season 4 premiere. The leader of the survivors followed a dark path in Season 3, but after seeing the way it affected his son, tries to go a more peaceful route in the coming season.

What that entails for Rick is a lot of time with a small herd of pigs. Photos from the upcoming Season 4 show that Rick has tried his hands at farming, and that career change gave Lincoln a chance to work alongside some unexpected “The Walking Dead” costars.

“I’ve put down the gun and picked up the pigs,” he jokes to Zap2it on “The Walking Dead” Season 4 premiere red carpet. “Strangely I got on very well with those piglets — for not very long. They didn’t last very long. But for the time that we were together, it was very touching. … There was one particularly emotional pig called Truffle. He was the runt of the litter. Beautiful little pig. Bless him.”

When viewers get to see Rick get dirty taking care of the pigs in the upcoming premiere episode, “30 Days Without An Accident,” they can know that little acting was involved. Lincoln says he was required to sometimes “clean out and herd the pigs” to a variety of adverse consequences.

“There was one day when I was doing a scene with Norman Reedus — I can’t tell you what happens — but I had to pig handle a lot. They do have a tendency to poop when you pick them up, so I was covered in blood and pig poop and there was flies. I was surrounded by a cloud of flies for the rest of the day. Nobody sat next to me. I thought it was a tight unit, this crew. Nu-uh,” he says. “The stink of pig s*** lasted for days. I kept texting Greg Nicotero going, ‘Still piggy. Still smelling. Lets get rid of those pigs.'”

All that caring for pigs means that Lincoln gets the opportunity to take his shirt off in the coming episodes. He says he’s heard an awful lot about his shirtless Season 4 scenes, but wishes the producers of the show would take off something else instead.

“There have been a couple of scenes where I got my top off this season. I keep trying to drop my pants, but no one wants it. Maybe because I’ve turned 40,” he says, cracking himself up.

Lincoln also speaks candidly about the new threat against the survivors in Season 4 which has been kept such a mystery leading up to the premiere.

“I think that the writers did a very smart thing by putting pressure on the group and dividing the group and bringing paranoia and divisiveness to the group because of something that wasn’t human and wasn’t a walker,” he says. “But it’s just — if not more — terrifying a threat, and it felt very, very real. It felt like something that would absolutely happen in those circumstances.”

Watch the above video to see what Lincoln thinks of a possible Rick/Michonne romance and to see whether he feels he is more of a dream boat than Norman Reedus.

“The Walking Dead” Season 4 premieres on AMC on Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET.

Posted by:Terri Schwartz