Norman Reedus | The Unlimited Magazine | Issue #6
Back when Norman Reedus was leading a Prada campaign and partaking in random art shows in Los Angeles, he used to think all acting required was a pretty face and the ability to talk. Nowadays, shooting his fifth season of The Walking Dead as the emotional Daryl Dixon, Reedus already knows better. We sat down for an art, craft, and chat.
Norman Reedus: No Method to His Madness
I have no education whatsoever.
I’ve always dabbled in a lot of things. I’ve never been great at any of them, but I try really hard. My execution isn’t always the best, probably, but my ideas were fairly awesome at times.
I used to think that art came from dark emotions and my art, mainly sculptures, paintings, and photos, was made at the darkest times of my life. Though I did do some really cool shit back then, I got over that idea. Maybe it’s growing up or seeing the other side of the coin. Now, whenever I work on dark material on The Walking Dead, I go to that dark place of mine. I’m usually happy with the outcome, so I guess it goes hand in hand.
Before the acting thing happened for me, I thought I would live the artist life in Montauk with a bunch of cats, make art and be by myself. My photography book, The Sun is Coming Up… Like a Big Bald Head, recently came out, and it captures my life and travels over the passed [sic] 15 years. Emotionally, I don’t have a problem with it because in photography you are removed from your art, it is separate from you, while in acting it’s your face, voice, and body that create the art. You can’t hide, which makes it even more personal to me.
When I first started acting I didn’t really think of it as art. I used to think that acting is basically modeling while saying words. As I’ve grown as an actor I’ve found that it’s a collaborative art…
I have no idea what the Stanislavski method is, but I do bring parts of myself to my roles.
[mod note: there appears to be a page missing here. These are the exact pages from the version, nothing was missed by the original poster. It’s continued from another quote which was posted as an audio file, so I’ll post the beginning here, a transcription we’ve done, and attempt to fill in the details.]
Frank Darabont created that character for the show, he wasn’t part of the comic book series. But I remember my first day on that, was… you know, I come in, and this zombie eats a deer, and I’m like “Can we still eat it?” And like I say all these things that people were looking at me like “You fucking idiot,” you know what I mean? And then I gotta go “Merle get out here, we got squirrels, let’s eat ‘em,” and you know all this stuff… He was…
such an outsider. My lines weren’t written in a sensitive tone, it was all “fuck you! I’ll kill you!” but my own personal uncomfortable state at that moment revealed who that character was to me. I never spoke to Frank Darabont about the character, he let me run with it. It was an organic process to find it, but the producers and writers on the show do refuse my ideas sometimes, like, “I think I should have a dog!” “No, Norman, you’re not gonna have a dog.”
People make speculations about Daryl being killed off next season because it’s fun to speculate. Every character’s clock is ticking, kind of like in real life. I don’t think any of the characters on that show will die in a hospital bed with their loved ones by their sides.
Not a Material Boy
The only “thing” I always carry around with me is my cat, Eye in the Dark. He travels with me everywhere. I don’t have a special collection to any object. I don’t really collect things.
A Member of the Tech Revolution
Although I’m a photographer, I must be honest and say that I’m not dedicated to any specific camera. Whatever feels right in my hands and shoots nicely. I do like the instant gratification that comes with twitter and instagram. I don’t think I’d do an art show of Instagram photos, but I get it.