Norman Reedus on Whether He Can Survive The Walking Dead and Whether The Walking Dead Can Survive Without Him

Daryl Dixon is an icon, but the man who plays him isn’t – yet.

Norman Reedus has spent the last few years not so much stealing the most popular TV series in the world as hotwiring it and taking it for a joyride. Far from a pretty boy, but gifted with A-list charisma, Reedus is about to star in The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s first big screen outing, Air.  In the post-apocalyptic flick, Reedus plays Baur, one of two underground custodians tasked with protecting the cryogenically frozen remains of mankind. The actor talks about zombies and the apocalypse in this exclusive interview.

What was it like for you to step into the world of Air?

It was interesting.  The first time Robert [Kirkman] called me, I thought I was getting killed on The Walking Dead.  He was like, ‘Hey, I got to talk to you.  Call me back.’ It was right at the end of last season and I’m like, ‘Oh, God, here comes the phone call.’ I was on my way to the airport too. But it was fun for me to work on that movie, and I would do it again. I would do pretty much anything Robert asked. If he wanted me to do a movie he was involved in, I’d do a movie. If he wanted me to do a video game, I’d do that. It’s fun working with Robert because he’s super talented and he’s cool.

What do you feel separates The Walking Dead from other projects that have originated as comics?

The storyline is so much different than other comic books. It’s not one person with super powers or anything. It’s real people in extraordinary circumstances trying to survive every day and make that work. It’s actually the complete opposite of most comic books.

What are your thoughts on The Walking Dead spin-off Robert’s developing with AMC?

I’m curious myself to see it. I don’t know anything about it. All I know is that there is one and it takes place in Los Angeles. I’m curious how those worlds are going to crisscross, you know what I mean? I’m excited to see it.

Given the fan popularity that Daryl Dixon has amongst the global audience, do you think that The Walking Dead could survive without Daryl?

Oh, man that’s such a loaded question. Yeah, I think that it could. I don’t want it to, but it probably could, you know what I’m saying? I think Daryl has a long way to go still and hopefully Robert does too, and the other writers and everyone else.

While you face off against everything from zombies to cannibals in the show, at the end of the day it seems like humans seem to be the scariest opponent. What do you feel that this show and this comic says about the human race?

There’s good people and there’s bad people, definitely. And a lot of times, it’s the people that you can’t trust. You know what a zombie is going to do and he doesn’t smile and pretend he’s not going to bite you. That’s one of the elements of the show, and of the comic book, that makes it the most interesting; figuring out people, and people figuring out people…and what they’re willing to fight for, and what they’re going to run from. It’s very much like real life, especially in that circumstance. If there were a zombie apocalypse, people would be trying to break into your house. 

I was just in Vegas and there’s a whole zombie apocalypse store that you can buy gear and get training on what to do.

Are you serious?

Yeah. It’s right off of the strip over by the Palms Casino. 

Maybe they know something that I don’t know, you know what I mean? I’ve been to Vegas. There are definitely zombies walking around Vegas.

Photos by Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images