Norman Reedus on The Walking Dead

US actor talks about series three of the comic-to-TV zombie series

Interview, Time In

Now in its third season, US zombie show The Walking Dead has built up a cult following after being adapted from a popular series of graphic novels, and today it holds its own among big guns such as Dexter and Game of Thrones. Here, US breakout star Norman Reedus fills us in on what it’s like to work for one of the biggest series on TV.

What’s the one question every fan asks you about Daryl, your Walking Dead character?
Are you going to hook up with Carol?

And?
I mean, never say never. But I’m trying to keep it as two damaged people gravitating towards each other. If we do hook up, I don’t want to have any game whatsoever. I want Daryl to be really awkward about it.

You famously auditioned for the role of Merle before the writers created Daryl, who wasn’t in the comics, just for you. Do you remember the audition?
I was told Merle was taken when I was reading Merle’s lines. Then I read different lines of Merle’s that weren’t in the pilot. When I left the audition, they said executive producer Frank [Darabont] wrote a new part.

And the character really took off.
It was a shock – the amount of merchandise that’s personally made and put out there about Daryl is incredible. My little action figure sells for like US$150 and everyone else’s sell for like US$15.95. Maybe my
mum just bought them all! [Laughs] I’m super grateful.

He’s arguably the most complex of the characters.
He doesn’t really need to be there, he doesn’t need them for protection, he can hunt his own food and take care of himself better than anybody there. But he’s starting to become a man that he would never have been if this didn’t go down. I always try to play him like he grew up in this racist world and he was kind of embarrassed. I think he’s finding this new sense of self-worth knowing that people rely on him.

You tend to play a lot of bad guys: Daryl, your roles in Blade II and Boondock Saints. Ever just wanted to do a rom-com?
My mum is always like, ‘Why can’t you just do a nice rom-com with Jennifer Love Hewitt?’ And you know, I actually got offered a role in this movie with Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt…

Was it 2001 romantic comedy Heartbreakers?
I won’t hold the fact that you know that against you. But my agent called and said, ‘You’ve been offered this thing with Jennifer Love Hewitt.’ I said, ‘What? Do I kill her? What do I do?’ And they said, ‘No, you’re the sweet boyfriend,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Now I think I totally should have done it. Jennifer’s hot.
Season three of The Walking Dead is now available at itunes.apple.com.

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