If you’re an Aussie fan of The Walking Dead, then you will be on the verge of nirvana because two big things are about to happen in your world.
Not only are we only a few weeks away from Season 7 hitting the TV screens, answering the big question who exactly did Negan kill in that finale, but you have also Season Six becoming available on DVD/Blu-Ray/On-Demand on 21st September through eOne Entertainment.
Well we thought we would bring you this interview with Norman Reedus (the rough and tough Daryl Dixon) and Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee).
With a hectic schedule away from the set of The Walking Dead, it seems only fitting that the best place to grab an interview with two of the show’s biggest stars is at a convention. Luckily that also meant Reedus and Yeun were in great moods after being presented to their fans and only too happy to talk.
So first of all, what are convention fans like when they run into stars from their favourite show? “They just freak out,” laughs Yuen. “They ask what’s going to happen next. I mean, they’re just [really] into the show. Like, I’m into the show. Sometimes I’ll go to the set, and I’ll watch things that I’m not in being filmed, ’cause I’m just so excited to watch them do it.”
Both men are also in unison when asked what makes the show so damn popular. “It comes down to the writing. It starts with what’s on the page, I think.” says Yuen. “Yeah I think it’s the writing,” nods Reedus. “I think it’s the writing and commitment to the stories that we’re telling. Nobody on the show gives less than 110 percent, ever. Ever.” Yeun adds, “And that goes to crew. That goes to cast. That goes to post.”
Staying on the top of the writing of the show, Reedus admits he doesn’t know how the creative team behind The Walking Dead do it so well. “You know, I’ve directed music videos, short films, I’ve edited them… it’s nothing like this show, though. This is such a juggernaut of — there are so many people that I can’t figure out how they do the dialogue so well, you know what I mean? But as far as my character and storyline, Scott’s always been collaborative. It’s always been a team.”
“There’s some times when I’m like, ‘No, I don’t get that. What does that mean?’, and he’s like, ‘No, no, this doesn’t mean anything, it’s just –‘ And I go, ‘Oh, oh, that’s so good!’ The talks we have at the beginning of the year especially, sort of the midpoint, really do help shape what we’re doing. I mean, Daryl, especially, is not a character in the books. And he was this little bit of this enigma. Jumping into it, I think he’s always been one of the most challenging characters because he’s such a guarded character. So how much do we show of him, and show off who he really is? And who he really is has been changing the whole time, too. It’s been exciting that as he’s been showing more of himself, that we’ve been able to show those changes involved.”
Touching on how deep Daryl is as a character brings the topic around to the fact that while the writers of the show have introduced a number of love interests for him along the way, he has never seemed to act on it. Does Reedus feel that fans or the show’s writers put pressure on for something to happen?
“The writers wouldn’t be pressuring. They would just pull the trigger,” laughs Yuen. “Fan-wise you watch these two groups battle each other, like the Bethels and the Carols,” explains Reedus. “But the amount of fan art that I get off me and Rick making out is… it’s like, ‘what is this?’, you know? Like, we should do a show, a proper art show of the two of us in the bathtub together – I mean, it’s insane. But, the thing is, are they looking for me to have a committed relationship with these people, just to bone them? Like, what am I doing? And the truth is, I don’t know that Daryl is ready to do any of that.”
“And, you know, it’s almost the same as, ‘Are you ever gonna cut your hair on the show?’ Why the hell would I cut my hair? ‘Are you ever gonna take a bath?’ Well, I’m just gonna get dirty again. You know what I’m saying? They go to war, and sometimes I feel bad for whoever. Because what’ll happen is those girls that – that other __ in the Daryl whatever’s – will get, sometimes, bashed. And I’m like, “That’s bullshit. She doesn’t deserve that. I remember when Carol got real badass – I saw this one, and it was like, ‘She doesn’t even need Daryl anymore. She can take care of herself. Daryl’s just a big man-child.’ These people go nuts. It could go on and on and on. But do I feel pressured? Nope.”
Yuen laughs and adds, “And I’d say, the characters on all — I mean, this is a guy who’s pretty damn guarded, and the fact that he now has family – he really does have a family with these people. He’s on a journey.”
Reedus nods and says, “It might not be the most obvious timeline to other people in their life, but Daryl has had a pretty wild life, pretty weird life.”
When touching on the deepness of the characters in The Walking Dead, the talk turns to whether or not ‘specialists’ are brought in to talk to the writers and the actors on how characters might react to the very dramatic circumstances they often find themselves on the show. “Season Three was a really rough season for most of us,” explains Yuen.
“Especially for Carl,” adds Reedus. “I remember Steven was talking about how emotionally distraught he was after the whole scene with the governor, with him, with Glenn and Maggie. It is hard for all of us. And after Carl killed his mom, just these scenes that you don’t remember much, they impact us, as people, so much. We’ve all been through really, really tough places, because of this show.”
Yeun nods and adds, “I’ve said this a few times – you know, there’s a lot of horror, there’s a lot of survival war, there’s a lot of really intense emotional things that happen on this show. And this show has gone on for six years.”
Of course, the guys couldn’t give away any spoilers but when asked about where the characters will head in the new season Yuen quickly answers, “Actually, all of these characters, you generally know where they started, ’cause we’re starting fairly close to where we ended. They’re gonna be very, very far away from that by the end of the season. So, you guys could easily do the math on that. I’m just saying, if you know where they start, they’re not going to be emotionally in the same place by the end of the season. None of these folks.”
So what can they tell us about this Team Rick/Team Morgan divide that seems to be happening? Is that a real thing or just in the fan’s minds? “Well, I will neither confirm nor deny,” laughs Reedus, “but I will say that there are conflicts within this group. I don’t know if Lennie was talking about it at this table or another table, but Lennie is – I mean, what did he say to Daryl? ‘All life is precious.’”
“He shows up at Alexandria, right after Rick has shot Amanda in the face. There seems to be a different approach coming head-to-head. And there’s other characters we know that have pretty strong opinions about all this. So, even if it’s not absolutely exactly Team Morgan and Team Rick, there are conflicts that we’re going to see.”
If you want to see whether Team Rick or Team Morgan come to the fore, make sure you grab your copy of The Walking Dead Season 6 from eOne Entertainment.