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Norman Reedus 'Walking Dead' Q&A: 'Season three blows last year away'

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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC

Our countdown to the return of The Walking Dead continues today - in the run-up to the show's third season premiere, Digital Spy will be bringing you a ton of cast and crew interviews, which kicked off yesterday with an exclusive chat with series newcomer Danai Gurira, who plays comic book icon Michonne.

Today's interview is with fan favourite Norman Reedus, who plays crossbow-wielding bad-ass Daryl Dixon. In our chat below, Norman talks the arrival of the Governor (David Morrissey), the return of Merle (Norman Rooker) and why he doesn't want to see Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) making out against a tree!

How is filming coming along on season three?
"It's amazing. It's kind of intense - I have a bigger role this year so there's a lot more for me to do, I'm working quite a bit, but it's good work and I think this season is going to blow away last season."

How is your role different this year?
"Well, I've kind of stepped up in certain areas, so there is more for me to do. Shane (Jon Bernthal) left last year and he was a big part of the storyline - we have a lot of new characters, it's sort of spreading out. I don't want to give anything away, but I've sort of become Rick's right hand man in a way, so I'm doing a lot of physical stuff."

How much fun is for you to play Daryl? He has to be the most bad-ass character on TV.
"It's a blast - I run around shooting zombies in the brain all day, it's pretty exciting! I like playing him, as emotionally immature as he is. He's sort of like a little kid in a lot of ways.

"He is figuring out how to deal with people and situations for the first time. Even if there wasn't a zombie apocalypse, I don't know he'd be hanging out with many people - he's a man of few words!"

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC



In season three, the survivors are moving to the prison. How is that going to affect the show?
"Well, we find the prison and when Rick sees it, he kind of imagines this whole grand idea. It's kind of like Club Med to us, a place where you can sleep easy at night. But the prison... you can sleep there and nobody can get in and it keeps you safe from walkers, but first you have to clear it out.

"There's a whole bunch of episodes a lot about that - we're finding people in the prison and all these things happen. It's nice for us, but the problem is that other people think the same thing!"

Was the prison a real physical set then for the most part?
"Graham 'Grace' Walker built it; he's kind of a genius at set design. He added portions of it to the back of our studios and then built the rest of the prison from there. If you come round one side, you enter the interiors of the prison, and then from the other side it looks like [the exterior of] a prison. Every single inch of that thing is amazing - I mean, it should be in the Louvre!"

Have you had the chance to work with the new stars of the show, like David Morrissey?
"Yeah, I have had the chance to work with David - that's now coming together in certain ways. He's a great guy, I love him. I sort of have a crush on the Governor - maybe next season me and the Governor can run off together!"

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC



What would you say David brings to the role of the Governor? Fans are very excited to see that character...
"He's got a very commanding energy to him. He's quite the charmer, David Morrissey, but he has this evil behind his eyes - the way that he's playing this character and how they're writing him... it's interesting. He's not a one-dimensional guy.

"You look at the comic and people were going, 'You need this person to play this part and this person to play that part', but I think David is just the exact right person for this job because he has this martyr syndrome at the same time that he's twisting his moustache, so to speak.

"But he's a very interesting guy, he's super-charming. I've met his wife and his kids and I love the whole family... I want to move in!"

There's new cast members this year, but you lost some series regulars last season. What was it like saying goodbye to those actors?
"It's tough, because we're such a tight family over here and we really care for each other. We're kind of in this bubble in the woods away from Hollywood, away from the business, so to speak. Everyone becomes very tight, so when somebody dies there's lots of tears."

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC



We know that Merle Dixon is back in season three. How is Daryl going to deal with that?
"There's a lot of talk about this right now. He's going to come back and he's going to come back pissed. He's going to want revenge.

"But where do Daryl's loyalties lie? There's going to be a lot of conflict and Michael Rooker is such a fun actor - he's so over-the-top, in the best possible way. He's such a bad guy! When I first found out he was my brother, I was so excited."

Daryl's relationship with Carol is another interesting part of the show. How would you like to see that develop?
"I don't want to see those two making out against a tree - I'd rather leave that to other characters that get introduced. But I like how damaged people gravitate towards damaged people and have this sort of kindred spirit. They see the damage in other people that they have in themselves.

"I always find it more interesting that you have someone's back for reasons that are very similar to yours, rather than just, 'I want to make out with her', y'know?"

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in 'The Walking Dead'

© AMC



Daryl isn't in the original Walking Dead comics. Do you enjoy knowing that the character can go anywhere and has no limitations?
"Exactly. I always tease [comic creator] Robert Kirkman about putting me into the comic book; it may happen, you never know. But I like not having a guideline. When I started this show, I never really had any conversations with Frank [Darabont] about Daryl. Frank created this character and he just sort of let me run with it.

"I had all these little subtle things that I tried to do from the beginning that showed that he had all this damage inside of him. I'm very grateful to the people who picked up on it; the fans pick up on all these little things. These little things are turning into storylines - it's nice that you can plant these little seeds as you go along and sometimes they turn into trees."

You mentioned the fans - what have you made of the fan reaction to the show? You even have your own fan club 'Dixon's Vixens'...
"Oh man, there's like 12 of those groups - it's kind of nuts how many of those groups there are. The nice thing about those... the 'Dixon's Vixens' and the 'Reedus Sl*ts'... is when you see on the social media sites that they're all befriending each other. I think some of them got kind of nasty with other ones, but I think now they're all getting along and becoming friends.

"I get so much fan mail and little presents of Daryl. I have a wall full of dolls and these little toys. I love getting little kids' drawings - there's so much artwork. And when I post one group's stuff on Twitter, the other groups respond to it. It's nice to see them getting together!"

The Walking Dead season three begins on FX in the UK on Friday, October 19 at 10pm. In the US, the series returns on October 14 on AMC.

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