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'The Walking Dead': Norman Reedus 'couldn't speak' after watching season finale

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Gene Page/AMC

Andrew Lincoln was so distraught, it was the only time he’s ever shown up late for work. Lauren Cohan says she didn’t even want to go to work. Josh McDermitt threw his script across the room.

The cast of The Walking Dead has been very vocal with EW about how upsetting the season 6 finale (airing this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC) was to both read and film, and now another voice has been added to that chorus. This time it’s from someone who not only appears in the finale, but has actually seen it as well. Or at least an early version of it.

“I saw a little rough cut of it,” Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, tells EW. “And it’s the most hardcore episode we’ve ever shot. I couldn’t speak after I watched it. And, of course, I knew what was happening, and what was going to happen, and who was involved, but I got to tell you, I couldn’t speak for like an hour. And then I just was bombarded with phone calls on my drive home. But that was a rough, rough, rough cut. I will say that it might be the best episode we’ve ever shot of the show.”

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“Hardcore” is also a good way to describe Negan, the super-villain from the comic book who will be making his long-awaited arrival. While Negan (and his barbed wire covered baseball bat Lucille) spells bad news for the characters on the show, those who do manage to survive are exited to work with the man playing him, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

“I’ve known Jeffrey for a long, long time,” says Reedus. “He’s a friend of mine, and I really respect him as an actor. And as a dude, he’s just the best. It’s weird to have such a nice guy playing such an a–hole, you know what I mean? But that’s just the testament to how good he is. So I’m excited to see where he goes and what happens to that guy.”

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The episode will also mark the second straight season finale to be helmed by Greg Nicotero, who has become the show’s go-to director for big episodes. “Talk about the inner circle, Greg’s one of those people who’s with you from the get-go,” says Reedus, “from the very start of everything you do to the very end of everything you do. He’s one of my best friends and I’ve watched that guy just blow the hell up. He’s an unstoppable force right now on the show.”

Now we’ll just have to see if anyone can stop Negan.

For more Walking Dead intel follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And to watch Reedus talk about his favorite zombie kills, check out the video above.