Zombies on the set of The Walking Dead come alive in the most flattering way when the cameras aren’t filming them. Norman Reedus, who stars as the popular crossbow-toting Daryl Dixon, has on a few occasions caught them mimicking his behaviors.
“After the scenes, I’ll walk over to them and be like, ‘What were you doing over there?’ And they’ll say, ‘Actually, I cosplay as Daryl Dixon quite a bit so I was just trying to get your movements down,’” Reedus told Mashable. “It’s crazy. I love it.”
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So it should be no surprise when a few Daryl Dixons walk up to him at Comic-Con San Diego, which started Wednesday. Maybe one will even win the “King and Queen of Cosplay” contest he’s part of with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and Courtyard Hotels at Petco Park.
Reedus will meet the winners at “Courtyard @ Super Hero HQ,” where attendees will line up to undergo makeup tutorials and transformations from The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero on Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Martin will crown the winners.
Mashable chatted with Reedus before his trip to Comic-Con about cosplay, Walking Dead’s season 5, Daryl’s relationship with Carol and the show’s continued Emmy snubs.
Mashable: When we left off at the end of season 4 you and the gang were trapped in a tight situation. What can we anticipate for season 5?
Well, hopefully we get out of that train car. That’s a very uncomfortable situation that we’re in. Not just being in the train car but being in where we’re at [Terminus]. I will say [season 5's] first episode is one of the most extravagant, insane, fast-paced, horrifying episodes we’ve ever shot [season 5's] first episode is one of the most extravagant, insane, fast-paced, horrifying episodes we’ve ever shot. It’s such a large episode. Greg Nicotero directed that episode and he knows the show probably better than anyone at this point.
One of the joys of being on the show is meeting with all of the different departments because there’s so much they put into these episodes, so much behind-the-scenes work, so much mastery in what they do. And there’s a whole bunch of that in the first episode. It’s such a fast-paced, epic episode. I was sitting there with Andy [Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes] while we were shooting part of it and whispering to him like, ‘How is this going to make it to TV?’ He looked over and said, ‘Dude, you say that every single year.’ It’s true. It’s going to be such a big episode.
Many fans are hoping Carol Peletier (played by Melissa McBride) comes to the rescue or that at least at some point in the season you guys will reunite. Does Daryl miss Carol, or where is his thought process amid all the separation and chaos?
Carol’s probably the most like Daryl in a lot of different ways. They both come from abuse and they’re both fighting for their own identity. And one of the good things about this show is that you see these characters realizing they have the opportunity to be who they want to be.
They’re shedding their past and taking off all those layers of the onion and realizing they’re stronger than people have made them out to be and time is fleeting and everyone is infected. This is your chance to fight for what you’re going to fight for. Both characters are very similar, and Daryl has a big love for Carol and vice-versa. Those two always have each other’s back. Whether she comes to the rescue or someone else comes to the rescue al of those characters are each coming to their own rescue and the rescue of other people all of the time, so it’s a very thin line that people are walking whether they’re going to hero up or coward out.
Let’s talk about the Emmys. No nominations for the cast this year, though the show was nominated for sound editing (for “Too Far Gone”) and visual effects (for “30 Days Without an Accident”). Do the Emmys matter to you guys?
It’s about the fans, I will say. But it would be nice to be nominated. We put so much work into this show and the writing is so good and the acting is so good. Do we have anything to complain about? Absolutely not. We love this job and we have a huge fan base, and we’re pumping out some of the best material we’ve ever done right now so the snubs don’t bother us too much to be honest. I would like to see Andy [Rick] get nominated. I would like to see Melissa [Carol] get nominated for her episode. I thought that was a remarkable episode — it was so well-written and directed and I thought she was great in it, as was Chad [Tyreese]. I can’t say we don’t come to work with smiles on our face every day and excited about what we’re going to do today because we do. It’s the best job on the planet. We’re not complaining, and I like all those shows that get nominated. I watch them all.
Why did you want to be part of this Courtyard’s cosplay contest at Comic-Con?
These are our people. We love them. I love going out to San Diego for Comic-Con and seeing all of the people dressed up. They’re so passionate about putting together their costumes. We shoot our show way out in the woods in Georgia and we don’t really get to come out to the outside world very often so to have this mid-season break for us in San Diego is such a treat for us. People are excited to dress up and see what’s to come. We’ve shot several episodes, and we’re almost halfway through the season We’ve shot several episodes, and we’re almost halfway through the season, so we know what to expect and we’re coming with all this enthusiasm.
What kind of cosplay do you enjoy seeing?
Oh, man. I like seeing the minor characters as much as the major characters. I mean, there are the big ones you always see like the Harlequins, the Batmans and the Supermans, but I like when they get into the little obscure characters that you might not know or you might not expect to see. I also like seeing them when they’re dressed up as The Walking Dead characters.
You’re working with George R.R. Martin during this cosplay contest. Do you watch Game of Thrones? What’s your favorite scene from the past season?
I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones. Peter Dinklage [Tyrion Lannister] is a friend of mine. Lena Heady [Cersei Lannister] is a friend of mine. I’ve worked with Lena before on films and Peter I know through New York. I’ve been a fan of Game of Thrones since day one. I think that show’s awesome. I’m excited to meet George and talk to him about killing off characters. When Joffrey was killed off I was like, ’Noooooooo!’