Our 5 Favorite Co-Rider Moments From Ride With Norman Reedus
In the latest episode of Ride With Norman Reedus, a producer asks Norman: "What does it take to be a good co-rider?" Norman's stuck at home — just like the rest of us — and reflects back on the adventures he's taken, and the companions he's travelled with over the course of the show. Without missing a beat, he says, "Somebody that wants to have fun."
Over the past five seasons, Norman has shared the road with an incredible number of talented actors, artists, and musicians, building new memories with old friends, and birthing new lifelong friendships with others. After crossing the U.S. and globetrotting around the world with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sean Patrick Flannery, Steven Yeun, Milo Ventimiglia, and many, many more, Norman has one succinct piece of wisdom to share: "The most important thing is to have a really open personality and want to be there, and have an adventurous type of spirit."
In a recent interview with Ride Executive Producer Anneka Jones on amc.com, fans learn that the co-riding experience is not for the faint of heart. "[B]ooking our celebrities is really, really hard to do," explains Jones. "There are celebrities who ride motorcycles, but to say, 'Hey, will you travel around the world and actually ride a motorcycle for three really long days, and have conversation after conversation?' …[T]here's also the added layer of, 'And you have to be yourself.'"
Norman says that it's all worth it: "Anyone that goes anywhere on an episode of Ride, usually has the time of their life -- if we don't beat the crap out of them." As he uses his quarantine time to reflect on his most memorable experiences from the road, let's take a look back at some of the top co-riding moments on Ride With Norman Reedus:
Rolling Cigars With Peter Fonda
"To start the series with Peter Fonda, I was super excited," reminisces Norman in the latest episode. Back in Season 1, he teamed up with motorcycle legend Peter Fonda to tour the Florida Keys. "He's an icon," gushes Norman. "Easy Rider is one of those movies that every motorcycle rider ever has watched, you know? ...Everything about him—it's something I grew up with."
In the Season 1 Finale, the duo explore familiar haunts and new experiences at the very Southeastern tip of the United States. And what's a trip to the Keys without a little taste of Cuba mixed in? They end one of their days on the road with hand-wrapping Cuban cigars. Watch Norman Reedus and Peter Fonda try their hand at pressing first-rate Cuban cigars here.
Michael Rooker's The Walking Dead Reunion Party
"I asked Michael Rooker if he'd be on the show, and he said yes, like, right away," recalls Norman about his trip with his onscreen brother, Michael Rooker, in the Season 4 Premiere. "We go way back, we're really good friends," Norman adds. The Dixon Brothers get into their fair share of trouble along their journey through the Deep South. Starting in Rooker's hometown of Jasper, Alabama, and riding back "home" to The Walking Dead set in Senoia, Georgia, Norman says about Rooker: "He's just a tornado of a personality."
The pair's journey through Rooker's hometown shows a different side of his onscreen brother and longtime friend. "I started The Walking Dead with Rooker. He's the first cast mate that I became good friends with, and we became really close," says Norman. The two of them drive by Rooker's old high school, and even stop in for an impromptu visit with Rooker's cousin. "It was wild to go on that episode with him back to his hometown," Norman remembers.
Things get even more personal when Norman and Rooker finally make it back to The Walking Dead set, where the crew is there to greet them and welcome them back "home" for a new season. It's a real family reunion when Greg Nicotero offers Rooker a special gift: the prosthetic of Merle Dixon's lost hand. When Rooker starts to get emotional from the outpouring of love and affection for him and his work, everyone is touched by his vulnerability. "He's like my brother for real," says Norman. Watch the emotional scene of Michael Rooker's moving TWD reunion here.
Andrew Lincoln Joins Norman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan on a Ride
During Norman's ride in England with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the Season 3 Premiere, Norman planned to meet up with Ian Anderson, the frontman of the British rock back, Jethro Tull -- who just so happens to be Andrew Lincoln's (The Walking Dead star Rick Grimes) father-in-law. But for awhile, Norman pretended he didn't even want his friend on the show. In an interview with amc.com, he revealed: "Andy came to work… and he goes, 'Hey, so I heard you emailed Ian about being on Ride,' and I said, 'Yeah! It's gonna be great!' He said, 'Well do you want me on the episode?' and I said... 'Nah dude, I just want your father-in-law, he's Jethro Tull! I don't need you.' [Laughs] So I kinda let that ride for about a week, watched him mope around for awhile before I said, 'Dude, of course I want you on!'"
The episode also marks the moment Norman finally convinced his cast mate and friend to ride a motorcycle. "We have a really playful relationship… Andy's one of my favorite people ever," Norman says in the latest episode.
"At one point, I don't know if it even made it on camera," shares Norman about his ride with Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, "but I pulled up in front of Andy in a foot of mud, and I was like, 'Is my back tire kind of flat right now? It feels like it's flat.' And he sort of leaned down and looked at the back tire, and I went, 'Weeeh,' [rolling the throttle] and just squirted him with mud." But there's no hard feelings between the longtime friends. Even in the episode, Andy talks about how much he liked being on the back of a dirtbike. Watch Norman Reedus team up with Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan on dirtbikes here.
Melissa McBride Discovers the Final Resting Place of Her Ancestors
Norman's ride with Melissa McBride in Scotland was different from the start. "We'd planned to ride motorcycles, but the weather was not having it," explains Norman in the latest episode. "But it didn't feel like it mattered on that trip. It was kind of like we were on a mission. We were gonna get there no matter what."
"[Melissa] had such a personal mission for coming on the show, and she really invested in what we were doing there. She learned to ride, she did a bunch of genealogical research to find out as much as she could about her family before we went there," shares Showrunner Lizzie Ashe about the Scotland episode, which also ranks among one of her most favorite Ride memories.
Norman recalls how he was moved by his experience of helping Melissa along her journey in Scotland. "That trip was really special because she had a connection to Scotland that was really special to her," he says. "To be able to give her that opportunity to find out about that side of her family, and to be able to take that trip with her, it meant a lot."
As much as fans talk about the special relationship between Daryl and Carol on The Walking Dead, Ashe remembers how electric it was to see Norman and Melissa interacting together as themselves. "Norman had always talked about their relationship and what good friends they are," she says, "but seeing it in person, you realize on another level how close they are and how much they mean to each other."
"We got to see a different side of Norman," says Jones as well. "He's usually there to have fun and go explore, and in this episode, he was just so there for Melissa. It was her mission and he wanted to support that and make it happen."
The episode culminates with Norman and Melissa finding the final resting place of her distant ancestors. "We ended up finding the grave," remembers Norman, "and we ended up taking wax paper and chalk, and sort of going over the grave, which was, like, ridiculous because it was super windy. We'd have to hold it down and it'd rip and all these things." But despite the rough weather, there wasn't a dry eye around when Melissa started to become emotional at the end of their journey.
"Just like on The Walking Dead, when Melissa cries, I cry," says Norman. "But it meant a lot to her, so it meant a lot to me." Watch the impactful scene here.
Dave Chappelle Reveals His Family Legacy in South Carolina
In the latest episode, Norman shares that he didn't even have to ask Dave Chappelle to come on the show in Season 2 — Chappelle asked him. "Dave is a pretty big fan of The Walking Dead, so I first met him at one of our after parties for one of our premieres," recalls Norman. "One day I'm walking through Soho and I hear this, 'Norman!' and I turn around and Dave's there across the street, and he goes, 'It's Dave Chappelle.'" During that first encounter, Chappelle expressed interest in coming on the show and being part of the Ride experience. "And then we got him on the episode. He's such a dynamic guy, like super smart, super loving, super friendly," adds Norman.
But they didn't realize that they would have lightning in a bottle with Chappelle in South Carolina. As Jones relates, "We knew Dave Chappelle had some familial history in South Carolina, but it just so happened that he was available for those episodes—having him visit that part of the country was just a coincidence with his schedule. I wish we could say we planned it, but we were just like, 'Hey how about these episodes?' And he said, 'Yeah, I have family history here.'"
But it wasn't until Chappelle and Norman's visit to the Penn Center in South Carolina that Chappelle revealed the full legacy of his family history in the area. "My great-grandfather was in the state legislature during Reconstruction," he casually slips into the conversation. Chappelle later reflects, "It's this weird thing where I felt connected to something very large."
Norman recalls, "I expect people just want him to be funny all the time, like be the funny guy. But when you get the chance to have a real conversation with the guy, you just love him even more." Watch the full scene of Dave Chappelle's family history reveal here.
Watch the latest episodes of Ride With Norman Reedus on amc.com, the AMC apps and AMC+.
Read a Q&A with Norman Reedus here, in which he chats with amc.com about his New Zealand motorcycle trip, his new friendship with Josh Brolin, and how the pandemic made this season "unique" and unexpected.
Read a Q&A With Executive Producer Anneka Jones here, in which she describes how Ride dealt with global quarantine, her favorite memories from the show, and more.
New episodes of Ride With Norman Reedus air Sundays at Midnight/11c.
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