Interview: Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead

Norman Reedus is an interesting guy. Leaving home at the age of twelve, he has lived in many countries including England, Spain and Japan. He was first discovered at a party in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, he worked at a Harley Davidson shop in Venice and at the same time contributed artwork to various shows as a painter, photographer, sculptor, and video artist. He currently shows his art work in galleries in New York, Berlin and Frankfurt.

Today, of course, Reedus is best known for his role in The Boondock Saints, and horror fans will know him from John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Reedus on the night of March 26, 2011 after a Mushroomhead concert. My girlfriend and he took some drunk photos together, and after telling me he liked my Jaws shirt, asked if we could exchange shirts. I readily agreed. I tried to get an interview, and while this is far from the most in-depth conversation you will ever read, this is what transpired…

GS: You’ve worked twice with Guillermo del Toro, what is he like?

NR: He’s the coolest guy ever. He’s like a big kid behind the camera. He’s at the monitor and he punches the air and makes sounds. His attitude and his joy for just making films is infectious. The cast and crew just love to be around him, listen to him. He has great ideas, he’s a genius and he’s one of the coolest guys I’ve ever worked with. He actually gave me my first film, “The Mimic”.

GS: You did John Carpenter’s “Cigarette Burns”, which I think is his best film of the last 10 or 15 years.

NR: Oh, cool.

GS: Did you have any time with Udo Kier when not filming?

NR: With Udo? Sure. Udo and I have actually become really good friends. I did another film a friend of mine (Paul Sampson) directed called “Night of the Templar”, and I brought Udo on with me to that. Him and I e-mail each other quite a bit, we talk on the phone. Yeah, Udo’s become a really good friend of mine. (Gavin notes: “Templar” was shot a few years ago, as evidenced by David Carradine being in the cast, but will finally be released in 2011.)

GS: He’s a legend.

NR: Hell yeah. He’s such a cool guy.

GS: And John Carpenter?

NR: John is also one of the coolest guys I’ve ever worked with. I talk to him on the phone every once in a while and he’s just a really cool guy. He’s awesome at what he does, he has a crazy-awesome work ethic and he knows what he’s doing and tells you what he wants.

GS: On “The Walking Dead”, it says you’re guest starring…

NR: Yeah.

GS: What is the difference between guest starring and starring, because you’re in most of the first season.

NR: My character is not in the comic book, and I think my role might have started as an idea at first, just to see how it would take off, see how it went over. And I think that changes in season two.

GS: Michael Rooker plays your brother, though we haven’t seen you two together on screen. Have you met him?

NR: Oh, totally. I love Michael. He’s super-cool. I met him on the set. I remember seeing him in “Portrait of a Serial Killer” and just loving that film. He and I talk on the phone, too, and I’m sure when his character comes back, he’ll come back in a big, mean way. Daryl and Merle are going to have a little conflict. It’s going to be crazy.

I have to thank Norman for giving me a few minutes of his time and one of the most memorable alcohol-induced experiences of my life. I look forward to Season Two of “Walking Dead” and encourage everyone to check out his films and if you get the chance — meet him!

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