Daryl Dixon started out as a supporting character toward the start of The Walking Dead‘s first season and quickly grew into one of the most popular characters on the show. Over the course of the second season, we saw Daryl take a more active role in the group and you’ll see plenty more of that in The Walking Dead Season 3.
Continuing my set visit features, I have an interview session I participated in with Norman Reedus. Not only does he talk about where we find Daryl at the start of Season 3, but he also confirmed that he will be involved in multiple aspects of the upcoming Walking Dead FPS video game.
Toward the end of Season 2, Daryl seems to have really stepped up his role in the group. Where is he at the start of Season 3?
Norman Reedus: He’s tighter with the group and he doesn’t feel like such an outsider. People are relying on him and he’s finding comfort in that. He’s much tighter with Rick, and Rick has sort of become the brother that Merle wasn’t. He’s become an integrated part of the group and would do anything to keep people alive.
Daryl and Carol’s relationship grew over the course of Season 2. Is that relationship stronger by the start of Season 3? What has your experience been like working so much with Melissa McBride?
Norman Reedus: I think all of the relationships between characters are stronger at this point. Daryl and Carol have a lot of similarities, not just because they are more country than the other characters, but because of the abuse. They have more history than other characters and I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of scenes with Melissa. She’s such a good actress and one of the strongest actresses I’ve ever worked with. She says a lot with her face and I really like those subtleties. They say volumes and she’s really good at playing those little beats. I got lucky because she makes you look so good when you work with her.
With Michael Rooker returning for Season 3, will Daryl be tempted to get back to his past ways?
Norman Reedus: There was a scene last year where it was written that Daryl went into the woods, took Merle’s drugs, and zoned out. I kind of had a problem doing that because I didn’t want to be that guy. I don’t like people that take drugs because I grew up with people taking drugs and it sucked. I don’t want to say racist things because it’s embarrassing and I still have people in my family who are ignorant like that. All of those things are what make Merle such an unlikable guy.
There’s been some time now where Daryl has been finding out who he is. It’s ok for him to have friends and he doesn’t want to let go of that. People rely on him, this is his family now, and he’ll do anything to protect them.
Having a successful acting career prior to this show, are you still keeping an eye out for new projects to take on or is this where all of your focus is?
Norman Reedus: I’m really happy with this job and it’s 24/7. Even if you have a day off, you’re just recuperating from the day before [laughs]. I really don’t want to jump into any projects. Sometimes I’ll do something between seasons, but I want to put 100% into this. There just isn’t time or energy to go do anything else.
It’s weird, because when you’re on a show that’s kind of a hit, people tell you that it’s your chance and to do everything that comes your way, but I said “no”. I just want to stay in the woods and focus on this character and this job. It wouldn’t be fair to the writers, producers, and other actors if I spread myself all over the place. This is where my heart is and what I love working on.
Have you been keeping up with the comic book series?
Norman Reedus: Robert has given us an amazing world to work with. I’m not really caught up with the comics right now, but I started reading them when I first got the job. It might be different if my character was in the comics, but Andy Lincoln is Rick Grimes to me and I don’t want to see another version. I don’t really want to know what happens because the show is kind of its own animal now.
Would you like to see your character appear in the comic book series?
Norman Reedus: I’ve done everything short of sleeping with Robert to get me in the comic book. If he’s not going to do it now, he’s never going to do it. It might be a rights issue with AMC and who owns the rights to the character. I sort of gave up. I offered to sleep with him, he turned me down, and we’ll see what happens… [laughs]
Our readers were excited after hearing that Daryl and Merle will the focus of an upcoming first person shooter set in the days before The Walking Dead Season 1 started. Will you be lending your voice to the game? Will any of the story tie into what we see in The Walking Dead Season 3?
Norman Reedus: I’m excited to do the voice for sure, because I’ve never been in a big video game before. I have a 12 year old son, so this video game better be great or he’ll kill me. I won’t be the cool dad anymore… [laughs]
I don’t know the story for the video game yet. It’s still in the works while they are working on the graphics first. Once it’s a little further along, I will be creatively involved in working on the storyline. It takes place before we get to the camp [in Season 1], but a little of that backstory may show up in Season 3. I’m excited to play the game and get myself killed in it as much as possible.
We’ve been running exclusive coverage of The Walking Dead Season 3 for the past two weeks and we’re not done yet. To catch up on our recent coverage, visit the following links: