If you think Norman Reedus looks like a cool guy in real life, you’re right.
While the laid back, sunglasses-clad star wouldn’t say what will happen on this week’s new episode of “The Walking Dead,” he did agree to dish on everything from childhood pranks on teachers to a more serious topic, the recent death of friend Lou Reed.
The star announced his touchdown in the Coastal Empire via Twitter and Instagram on Friday night, and the zombie-killing actor says he has been hitting the Savannah sights from the Olde Pink House to Colonial Cemetery, where he posed for a creepy photo shoot with Rolling Stone magazine.
Reedus, who plays the role of Daryl Dixon in the highly acclaimed AMC television series “The Walking Dead,” is in town for the Savannah Film Festival where he was asked to teach a master class to SCAD performing arts students and has been enjoying a love fest of sorts with actor Jeremy Irons, who is also in town for the festival to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Reedus admits he’s a big fan of Irons.
“Has he ever done anything bad?” Reedus says. “Everything he does is so great.”
While the title of Iron’s film “Dead Ringers” eludes Reedus, he is obviously a fan.
“And I like him as a person, too. He is so cool.”
So cool, in fact, Reedus admits trying to rent motorcycles his first day in Savannah, so he could ride with Irons. The plan failed.
“I want to go motorcycle riding with Jeremy Irons! That is like bucket list right there.”
And being a fan is something Reedus has learned a lot about since signing on to play Daryl Dixon. “The Walking Dead” is one of the highest rates shows on television, and the fans are hardcore. The cast of the show has become popular fixtures at fan fueled cosplay conventions like Comic-Con and Dragoncon and the new Walker Stalker Convention set for Nov. 1-3 in Atlanta. Reedus says the entire cast will be at Walker Stalker since the proceeds of the event benefit charity.
“It’s interesting because we shoot the shows in Senoia, Ga., so we don’t really see people,” Reedus explains. “We’re down there for seven months of the year and then we get out around people again. … It’s like that movie “Logan’s Run.
“It’s fun. You see little kids dressed like you. You see old women dressed as you.”
But Reedus says is used to that type of mimicry. What spooks him out the most is when fans go beyond Daryl Dixon.
“The weirdest part is I start to see people dressed like me,” he says. “People who have the same baseball hat as me, or hair like me now, or wear these sunglasses or wear my boots, have my backpack and they are cosplaying Norman. That almost seems like you’re crossing a line, you know what I mean?”
But he admits he does enjoy staying active on Twitter and keeping in touch with his fans via social media.
“Sony asked me to start a Twitter account with ‘Boondock Saints II,’ Reedus says. His popular break-out role was as Murphy MacManus in the indie thriller “The Boondock Saints” (1999) launched his career and the sequel came out 10 years later in 2009.
“That movie was like the people’s movie,” he says. “… It had no P&A (prints and advertising), no theaters. It got passed around and became this huge cult film and I felt like, yeah, this is our movie. It doesn’t belong to those guys in the office, this is ours.”
Reedus says he feels that same connection with his role of Daryl and decided to continue the Twitter interaction with his fans.
“I can’t write everyone back, … but I try to. I try to stay up on it and I’ll follow someone if they ask me. But it’s hard to keep up with.”
Reedus stops talking Twitter for a moment to reflect on his most recent Tweet about music legend Lou Reed’s death.
“You know Lou Reed died today, did you hear that? ... That’s a bummer. Someone … texted me, and then I got on Twitter and got all the information.”
Reedus’ recently published a book of photography titled “The Sun’s Coming Up … Like a Big Bald Head” which Reedus says comes from Laurie Anderson’s song “Sharkey’s Day.”
He says he had to ask Anderson (who is married to Lou Reed) for permission to use the title, so his friend and musician Debbie Harry took him backstage at a concert one night to meet Anderson and Reed and get her blessing and a sort of friendship came from the meeting.
Reedus is noticeably saddened by the news.
While he notes that his fans can keep him busy on Twitter, he admits he had his own moments as a fan of horror shows growing up.
He says he liked the old George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead” 1968) zombie movies.
“I was a fan but not obsessed. My favorite horror movie as a kid was ‘The Omen.’” He laughs. “Yeah, I used to sit in my classroom and eyeball my teacher and… give her dirty looks and she would get very flustered and look around the room and … avoid me…
“I remember thinking, wow, I can mess with her. I felt like I was Damien from ‘The Omen’ and it was just empowering.
“And I remember at the end of the school year, she comes up to me and she goes, why do you hate me? … I said, ‘I don’t hate you, I love you. What are you talking about?’
“There was no way I wanted her to think her to think I hated her, but I remember thinking this lady is older than me and I can mess with her and I remember getting a kick out that.”
Reedus At the Savannah Film Festival
Reedus says he gets a kick out of good movies and his review of Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” that was recently screened at the Savannah Film Festival is quite simple: “It was awesome.”
He also says his past trips to Savannah for other film festival events and for the filming of his role in “The Conspirator” (2010) finds him giving friends “to-do” lists for their Savannah trips.
“I tell them to go around and look at the architecture. Go down to the river, it’s nice but don’t have one of those alcohol Slurpy drinks,” he says.
While he says he’s not a fan of the brain freeze he got at Wet Willie’s, he does say his meal at the Pink House “was amazing.”
So, what’s next for Reedus as he heads back to finish filming season four of “The Walking Dead?”
He says he has a new film out titled “Sunlight, Jr.” starring Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon and directed by Laurie Collyer.
“J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. did the soundtrack which was cool, and I just interviewed him,” Reedus says. “And there was one song that I kept playing on a loop in my headphones before I would do these couple of scenes and … I thought I’ll ask him what this means, what were you thinking when you wrote that? And then I got to the interview and I started doing it, and I thought, … I don’t want to know. Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me what your process is.”
Reedus says he opted for a humorous would-you-rather type question.
“It’s like, Christoph Waltz. I saw this interview with him once, and they were like ‘What’s your secret for getting into this head space?’ And he was like, ‘Do you ask a magician what his tricks are? I don’t want to tell you.’ Like, you’re not supposed to know that.
Reedus claps his hands in applause. “I’m with that guy.”
After a bit of silence, he asks, “Did I just kill your last two questions?”