Norman Reedus Interview
Daemon’s TV recently caught up with The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Sophia walking out of the barn in the last episode, that was a shocker. Did you know about that all along?
Norman Reedus: We didn’t know that was going to happen. We kind of had an idea, but they give us our scripts just before we shoot. So, we didn’t really know for sure, but we had a good idea that it was going to happen.
You had a suspicion that she was nearby?
Norman Reedus: Yeah, and there was also talk that maybe Merle had her. There was talk that maybe she joined in with another group. There’s always talk about what’s going to happen on our set, but I think we kind of knew that was going to happen.
Do you know something about your character that maybe the rest of the cast doesn’t know?
Norman Reedus: Sometimes. In different situations, yeah. There’s a back story of why Daryl is looking for Sophia so hard. He was an abused kid and he was left alone and he’s sort of overcoming his own demons by looking for this little girl. He thinks that if he can find her he can put some of those demons to bed. I’m covered in scars underneath my shirt. That was the whole thing with Carol bringing me the soup in bed after I come back from falling down the ravine and so forth. She says, ‘You’re every bit as good as them.’ So, I know that backstory ahead of time.
While we’re doing scenes, like when I’m cutting open the walker with Rick looking to see if it’s eaten any people recently, we find the squirrel in the stomach; I know the storyline of the scars while we’re shooting that scene. I’m trying to plant little moments because I know she’s going to say, ‘You’re every bit as good as them.’ So, I’m trying to plant little moments where I do the grunt work for the group. Like he’s going to cut him open and I’m, like, ‘I’ll do it.’ I’m trying to make myself the pool boy or the gardener and doing the grunt work. I’m trying to find little moments where it’ll make that line, ‘You’re every bit as good as them,’ make sense. I’m trying to plant little seeds where I don’t believe that. Sometimes I do and sometimes I can help further those along.
I’m assuming that latest incident is going to impact the Daryl and Carol rapport that was developing. Is that right?
Norman Reedus: Yeah. We do have a sort of special bond, and it’s not so much romantic as I think it’s damaged people hanging out with damaged people. They sort of gravitate towards each other. I even find that more interesting. We were talking about how we should do a spin off called ‘Daryl & Carol’ where we live in Central Park and there would be a still in the woods in Central Park and she’d be knitting blankets on a bench and people would walk up and go, ‘Do you know where the Statue of Liberty is?’ ‘Fuck you! What are you looking at?’ We had a theme song that goes, [singing] ‘Carol is feral and Daryl feral, a match made in hell.’ You never know. As far as a romantic thing, I have no idea if that’s in the works. I think it’s almost more interesting that it doesn’t happen, to be honest.
What can you tease about the upcoming episodes?
Norman Reedus: I can say that in the second half, after this hiatus, people are done talking. It’s all kind of firecrackers from here on out. It gets more action packed. The first part of the season, it gets slow when people have to talk. That’s just how it works. I think the writers have done such a great job with setting up storylines and explaining them when they need to be explained, not over talking it and not over thinking it. There are certain things that need to be said to keep the story moving and I think they’ve done a good job with it. I know when people watch the show they go, ‘More zombies. More death.’ But you have to do a bit of talking. Otherwise it’s ‘Transformers.’
Daryl is a fan favorite among the cast with all his depth and layers. How did you approach him differently in season two than you might’ve in season one?
Norman Reedus: Well, last season I didn’t really have any conversations about Daryl with anybody. Last season I showed up in the third episode and was like, ‘Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck You! You did what? I’m going to kill you.’ So, I tried to act little moments to make him human. I tried to tear up at times while yelling fuck you at people and throwing squirrels at them. I tried to make it seem like I lost my big brother. He still has a big brother and he lost him. That wasn’t really on the page, that sort of sadness. It was just anger.
So, I tried to drop bits of sadness in between the anger, and there wasn’t even, like, ‘Does Daryl trust this group? Is he going with the group? Does he totally trust them, not trust them?’ That wasn’t even there. So, you had to pick moments where that happens. Going into season 2, I got a chance to meet in the writer’s room before we started season two. They asked questions, like, ‘What did you think about Lori? How did you feel about T-Dog?’ Like in a movie you know you’re going from here to here. In TV if you can just plant seeds as you’re going along and hope that somebody sees them and waters them and they grow into little clues it’s kind of a bonus. I’ve gotten the opportunity to do that and the writers have been very gracious on letting me have some input on things.
Maybe there were a few things where I was like, ‘No way. I don’t want Daryl headed in this direction,’ and we talked it out and found other options. For the most part, going into season two, for Daryl it’s been about how does he get along with people. I like the fact that we didn’t start off like we’d all known each other for a long time and had a back story and Carol knew Daryl in high school and the woods. I’m glad that we didn’t have that so that it makes these people seem like they’re strangers which I like.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t like playing Daryl standing still. When people sit and have a conversation about something, important or not so important, I have a running joke with the camera department because I never stand still. They give the actors their marks and they’re like, ‘You’re area is between here and here,’ because I hate standing still. I can’t stand it. Especially playing this character, he’s not one of those guys that stands still and observes. He wanders in the background sort of like an animal, like he’s on a leash. That’s how I’m playing him the whole time. So, going into season two that leash walk back and forth is slowly starting to get less aggravated, if that makes sense.
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