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Q&A – Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon)

The actor talks about making a racist redneck likable, compares Daryl to a pet snake and describes the strangest meal he ever ate (it wasn’t squirrel).

Q: What was your favorite part about playing Daryl?

A: He’s such a mixed guy. Growing up with a brother like Michael Rooker’s character, you’d imagine he’d have tons of chicks on his shoulder. I think trying to find a way to be the little brother, but still be a badass in his own way and still show that he cares about his brother. Trying to show that he has feelings and trying to find a likable guy in a racist, you know?

Q: How do you make a racist likable?

A: I was looking for that fine line to get to where I actually join the group and become somebody that they can trust. I’m sort of like this pet snake: somebody that is around all the time and works with all these people, but he might snap at any second. It’s like, you have to pick and choose your friends carefully, and sometimes you get stuck with whoever is not bitten. And the best part is that Daryl could go so many different ways since he’s such a wild card. He could hook up with someone, he could become a total crazy person or maybe just become a really nice guy.

Q: Between starring in The Boondock Saints and this, you’ve handled your fair share of weapons on-screen. How did the crossbow compare?

A: Dude, I got to say I love the crossbow. I mean it’s just fun. Guns are fun, I can’t deny that shooting guns in movies isn’t fun. But I had never used a crossbow before, and it’s pretty rad.

Q: It’s nice and silent.

A: Yeah totally! The only thing is that you have to reload real quickly. What I need is one of those automatic crossbows… if they even make those.

Q: Daryl seems well-suited to the apocalypse. Do you think you’d fare as well?

A: Oh no way dude, I would run and hide. I don’t know what I would do. I’d probably just end up stealing a purple Lamborghini and go joy-riding until a walker caught me. I mean, I am pretty tough, but I’m not Daryl tough.

Q: Having starred in Blade II, where do you land on the Vampires vs. Zombies debate?

A: Dude I am so about this show right now, so I say zombies all the way. I have got to say this is one of the most fun jobs I have ever had. Vampires are fun too, and that was a blast, but I am all about the zombies right now.

Q: Having become known for your Irish accent, was it difficult to pull off a Southern one?

A: Actually Irish is harder to pull off. I know southern people and I really like the midwest, so I can tap into that a little bit. It’s easier to sound angry with southern than it is Irish. Yelling Irish you can sound like an angry Leprechaun. I think me screaming like I am going to kill you in Irish doesn’t work. Plus, it just goes so well with Daryl. It’s just something about having a crossbow and having squirrels around your neck and being sweaty down in Atlanta.

Q: Have you ever cooked squirrel stew?

A: Nah man, I live in New York. We just got rats here, no squirrels.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?

A: I did this film in China where we shot on top of the Geat Wall. I remember for dinner during the weekend they made this huge feast: We had one plate of frogs that were standing upright, three of them, making a tripod and they were like bloated white blue frogs. The next dish was slugs, just moving with all these sauces. Then the next dish was a giant snake that was coiled and the head was chopped off, and they took a cantaloupe and carved out a little dragon head and stuck it on there. And then another dish came by and it was a soup in a turtle, but the turtle was just freshly killed and sort floating there. I did just eat a taco — I guess that was pretty weird, too. [Laughs]

Click here to read an interview with the actor who plays Daryl Dixon’s brother, Merle (Michael Rooker)

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