The next spin-off in The Walking Dead franchise will not merely be continuing the adventures of Daryl Dixon. Well, I mean… it sorta is. After all, it will be following the exploits of one Daryl Dixon. And, to be fair, the name of the show is The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. But if you are expecting the series — which premieres Sept. 10 on AMC — to provide more of the same for everyone's soft-spoken soldier, then you will be sorely mistaken.
"We're making art," says the man who has played Dixon for 13 years and counting, Norman Reedus. The actor spoke to EW before the current SAG–AFTRA strike, and highlighted what he sees as a completely new lease on life (among the dead). And any predictable patterns that had formed over those original 12 Walking Dead seasons have been blown up like the Commonwealth estate section.
Emmanuel Guimier/AMC Norman Reedus in 'The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon'
"I think with doing a show as long as The Walking Dead for that many years, whether you know it or not, you fall into a rhythm of repeating things that work," Reedus says. "I found myself saying some of the same lines over and over, and did all the other sorts of storylines that we had done before, maybe with another character or whatever. Now, we're not following anything."
Reedus finds a freedom in no longer starring on TV's biggest show. With less pressure, he and the other Daryl Dixon executive producers are able to tell a much more intimate story about a man who washes ashore in another country and must fight the dueling impulses of wanting to get home with also wanting to help those in immediate need. "I feel like we're not cranking it out for numbers on a Sunday night. We're making art, and there's moving dialogue," Reedus says. "It's a different animal and it's beautiful, it's touching, and it's sort of amazing to look at and listen to and watch and feel."
AMC Louis Puech Scigliuzzi and Norman Reedus on 'The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon'
While Reedus has nothing but positive memories when it comes his time on The Walking Dead, it's also clear the actor was ready to spread his wings and try something new with the character that could not be accomplished with a massive ensemble cast. "I was part of a giant machine that was awesome," he says. "With this, there's something really personal to me about what we're doing, and it just feels so right. We have all the elements of The Walking Dead that people love. There are tears and screams and it's full of all the things that the original show had — especially those early years of The Walking Dead — but it's also unique and going to speak for itself."
That's a good thing, because Reedus doesn't actually like talking about the show. He prefers to let the work do the talking. "I hate to talk about it because I just can't do it justice," the star says. "It's like a fine cappuccino, but I'm afraid that when I talk about it, it sounds like a 7-Eleven coffee."
Yet he can't wait for viewers to drink it up.
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