Norman Reedus on ‘The Walking Dead’

One of the stars of AMC's hit zombie series tells us about the creation of Daryl Dixon and whether Merle Dixon will return to the show.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

"The Walking Dead" made its first appearance before the Television Critics Association in January, and among the actors representing the show was Norman Reedus. I got to sit in on a roundtable interview with Reedus and ask some questions about the second half of the season, and the legacy he’s already established as Daryl.


Crave Online: Was the first half of the season more relaxing to shoot because it was more about buildup?

Norman Reedus: There’s more talk in the first half than the second half of the season, more action in the second. And it’s hardly ever casual conversation. Even the conversation is exhausting. And it’s 120 degrees outside, there’s bugs all over you and your scratches and your bruises and it’s sort of a character on the show. We couldn’t shoot the show in Los Angeles or Toronto or wherever.

Crave Online: How was the experience of doing 13 episodes this season, as opposed to doing six episodes last season?
Norman Reedus: It was great. We got to tell more stories. We got to get into characters more. Six was about setting up the world, especially the first episode. We got to learn more about our characters and each other. It was more of a commitment. I came in on the third episode of the first season, so I basically walked in, said hi and threw squirrels, right in the first hour. But, it was nice. We all got closer, and it was awesome.
Crave Online: Was Daryl always designed to become a regular role?
Norman Reedus: No, it was not. It was actually Frank [Darabont] who wrote the part for the show. He created that part because he’s not in the comic book. I don’t know. I think I was a little bit of an experiment, at first. I’m not sure. I’m glad it’s going well and I’m still on there.

Crave Online: So are we.

Norman Reedus: Oh yeah, thanks. It’s a lot of fun. It’s, by far, my most favorite job that I’ve ever been on.
Crave Online: Since there’s so much danger, do you ever worry that the next script you get could be your last?
Norman Reedus: Every time. Every week.
Crave Online: Do you have a sense of how much the fans want your character to stick around?
Norman Reedus: I literally have got three boxes of presents. My son’s room is nothing but Daryl Dixon paintings, dolls, lighters, tattoos and panties. It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s fun.
Crave Online: Do they overshadow "The Boondock Saints" fans?
Norman Reedus: The Boondocks are pretty ferocious, as well. But, I get more "Walking Dead" stuff now. It’s a bonus for me. The same group of people like both things. It’s overwhelming, to be honest.
Crave Online: Are we going to see Merle again?
Norman Reedus: Yeah, you’ll see him. He’ll come back, eventually, and he’ll probably be super-pissed. That’s going to be interesting. Is blood thicker than these new bonds he’s made? There’s going to be a lot of confrontation going on, for sure.