ATLANTA—Cast and crew of the smash AMC series, The Walking Dead, are rumored to be on the verge of walking off the set of the show about a group of survivors following a zombie apocalypse. Sources say Norman Reedus, who stars as Daryl Dixon, showed up on set the first day of filming already immersed in the character, who is cantankerous, dirty, racist and misogynistic.
“He’s actually shown a level of commitment that few, if any, actors have been able to achieve,” says Robert Kirkman, series creator and co-executive producer, “One day between takes, while the other cast was taking a break, Norman killed, skinned, cooked and ate a groundhog.”
Kirkman describes the character of Daryl Dixon as very backwoods, although a skilled hunter and tracker. He also carries emotional issues stemming from a lifetime of abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father. This is in stark contrast to the Julliard-trained Reedus, who speaks five languages and holds a master’s in fine arts from Columbia University. The actor spent his youth as an accomplished ballet dancer, studying and touring the world with the esteemed Royal Ballet.
“I would love to meet the real Norman one day,” says Andrew Lincoln, who stars as Rick Grimes, “But so far I’ve only met Daryl motherfucking Dixon. Whenever I’m not in character I’ll speak with my normal British accent. If Daryl hears that, well the gay epithets he uses, I’m just not comfortable repeating.”
According to Laurie Holden, who portrays Andrea, Reedus has also refused to bathe since the first season of the show, claiming it adds to the authenticity of his scenes.
“You can literally smell him coming,” Holden claims, “If you watch the show, you’ll often see Daryl drenched in sweat. That’s actually him, no effects. He’s a really sweaty guy.”
When approached for this piece, Reedus actually threatened physical harm by wielding a crossbow.
“Who are you people?” Reedus shouted, “What do you want? I don’t owe you nothing! Sophia wasn’t my responsibility!”
To this point, producers have managed to keep the peace between Reedus and the rest of the cast and crew, but many feel the breaking point is approaching.
“If I have to watch him skin one more squirrel, I’m gonna be calling my agent,” Holden says, “It’s gotten to the point that the zombies don’t bother me at all, but if I have a scene with Norman, I’m not even acting anymore. I’m fucking scared.”