Norman Reedus is known most for his role of Murphy MacManus in “The Boondock Saints” series. He is currently appearing in AMC’s new TV series “The Walking Dead”, playing the role of Daryl Dixon. The character as described by Norman is “a guy who is ready to break down and kill everyone at any moment”. Movie Mikes had the chance again to talk with Norman about his role in the show and how it differs from his other projects.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Daryl Dixon in “The Walking Dead”?
Norman Reedus: Daryl is an ex-con that lives alone with his brother. When the apocalypse happens, he fends for himself. He is a hunter. He hunts with a crossbow. He is quite the hot head. He is also efficient in his killing. He is a no-bullshit kind of a kind. My character comes in on the third episode. My brother, who is played by Michael Rooker, is in trouble. I go looking for my brother with the rest of the crew behind me. They do not know whether to trust me and I do not know whether to trust them. I am not too particularly happy with the situation. I come in just like a tornado and just reek havoc. Slowly through all the situations that happen to us while looking for my brother, they find out that I am good guy to have around. I sort of start of a family with these more “normal” type people. In this show the zombie are not the only enemies. The enemy could be the guy standing right next to you. It is this weird see-saw of who you can trust. It makes for super interesting television. It is such an interesting character. I am really exciting to be apart of it. There is a rumor that Robert (Kirkman) might be putting me in the comic book. That would be really fun to see myself drawn in one of Robert’s comic books.
MG: How did you become involved with this project?
NR: I remember reading the pilot. I had never really done the whole pilot season thing in LA. I was reading them all and I said that this was the best pilot. I got to LA late and I originally really liked the Rick Grimes role. They told me that Frank knows my stuff and they wanted me to read for one of the brothers. I went in and actually read Merle Dixon lines in front of Frank. I do not think my character was even written yet. It was just an idea at the time. Next thing I know I am on-board.
MG: Tell us about working with Michael Rooker, who plays your brother in the show?
NR: I remember seeing “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” was back when and I remember thinking this guy is one of my favorite people ever. Michael was such a cool guy and such a blast to work with. He is such a good actor. He brings so much to the table. He is such a force just to be around. As far as Daryl Dixon goes, you have a brother like Merle as your older sibling and you are always trying to live up to your brother. You are definitely going have some issues. I went into it with a major chip on my character’s shoulder and I think it plays off really nicely.
MG: Your character is not in the comic series, did you find that difficult to prepare?
NR: Frank (Darabont) wrote my part specifically for the show. It is really well written, so I got a good sense of what the character is like from the beginning. As far as being in the comic book, I know some of the other cast members mentioned how easy for was them to see how there character was like from the comic book. Though none of them wanted to get too far into it though because they wanted to make it their own. I understand their point of view. For me going into it without having anything of my character written actually opened me up. I was able to make Daryl who I wanted to make him. Then again the writing was so good that I got a great sense of who he was very easily.
MG: You are no stranger to the genre but did this project differ in any way for you?
NR: I have done some horror things. I have worked with John Carpenter and Guillermo del Toro. I have also done a lot of serious drama. This definitely falls under serious drama. We are playing it for real. There are no zombies walking up shouting “BRAIIIINNNNSSSS”. It is not corny at all. There is one zombie in particular that Rick goes back to and puts out of its misery. It is one of the most sentimental parts of the whole pilot. I can say horror because it is zombies but it feels more like a large scale dramatic film. It really treats the zombification more like a disease than some surreal monster thing. It feels like there is an epidemic and real people are turning into zombie and not like people are coming back from the grave. You really get the human aspect of the zombies as well as how grotesque they look.
MG: Hopefully we will be seeing a Season 2, would you be returning if we do?
NR: Fuck yeah man, I am ready to fly to Atlanta right now and just wait on them. I am so into this. It is my favorite project I have ever done. I hope it goes on for ten years.