The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus says Daryl needs a spa day
The actor has the perfect prescription for the post-apocalypse blues.
For someone who often wants to be alone, Daryl Dixon sure does care a lot about other people. In fact, if you look at the character's motivation throughout 10 seasons of The Walking Dead, you'll notice it always centers around other folks, and never himself.
"Daryl's always looking out for somebody, or many people at the same time," says the man that plays him, Norman Reedus. "He's never doing anything for himself, ever."
And after 10 seasons of sacrifice, Reedus thinks he has the perfect prescription for the post-apocalypse blues: "Daryl needs a spa day," says the star. "He needs a massage. You know what I mean? He is a selfless guy. He needs some 'me time' really bad."
Well, he's not likely to get it in season 11 (which premieres Aug. 22 on AMC). In between trying to help a mission-obsessed Maggie (Lauren Cohan), crossing paths with cabin lover Leah (Lynn Collins), and, at some point, mending fences with his BFF Carol (Melissa McBride), Daryl will once again focus on serving and protecting others. We caught up with Reedus a few days before the final season launches to get the scoop on what's in store for Alexandria's most loyal loner.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What's it like for you guys now in terms of this being the final season, because it's a long final season, and you're filming it over a long period of time? Has that sunken in? Does it feel like the end yet?
NORMAN REEDUS: We do have a lot more to do, so we're kind of focused on that, but it comes up every day anyway between me and the crew and the cast. I live in Georgia pretty much. I live in New York, but I only go there when I'm on vacation from here really. And it's been like that for a long time. So yeah, do I sell my house here? Do I move? I've got a garage full of motorcycles. What do I do with them? There's all those types of life questions that pop up all the time.
But some of our crew have been here since day one, so we talk about the show ending. Somebody asked me the other day, "Why do you want to do a spin-off?" And it's because I need this — to put so much work in this character, I need to find that sense of home and bring it full circle. I can't just end on an episode. I put too much work into that state! It has to come full circle. I have to solve the riddle. I have to find my Rubik's Cube. I have to put it back together. It's a whole thing. I have to or I'm going to go nuts. So yeah, it comes up all the time. And I know we've got a long way to go, but I know it's going to come. It's going to come really fast. Those last two months are going to go by in like a week.
How would you describe Daryl's journey in these first eight episodes of season 11?
What happens is Maggie comes back and she's being chased. And we ended up going on a mission that we need to do to protect the people back home, but, at the same time, we're being chased and also being lured into a trap. So that trap spins Daryl off into a different direction, which becomes a whole other story for Daryl and Daryl alone. And that story comes full circle with the group he was in and turns into something completely different.
And then, on the way back home, it's kind of like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and we'll be like, "Wake up!" and everything's suddenly in Technicolor. It's completely different. It's kind of Willy Wonka–like all of a sudden, and it's completely out of our norm. And then, in that world, we're confused and trying to figure it out.
Where are Daryl and Carol when we pick things up, because things didn't end so well for them in that season 10 bonus episode you all shot at the cabin? What can we expect from their relationship moving ahead?
Hopefully, some closure. We haven't quite gotten to that right now, so I am not totally sure. I know she's in one area of the world, and I'm in another. We haven't quite addressed that. Every year there's some bulls--- that one of us does to the other person that needs a good conversation to sort of clear the air. So we've been doing it for a while now. That question about them keeps coming up, so hopefully everybody gets closure on those things they want.
Speaking of closure, we saw that thread with the character of Leah out there. I remember you telling me after that episode aired that the relationship was not what it seems to be, and showrunner Angela Kang told me that the story was not over. What can you say about that potentially picking up again at some point?
Yeah, that definitely gets picked back up again. That is a very complicated relationship where there are feelings there, but there's also a whole bunch of other things that are into play there. There's a bit of a double agent thing going on.
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