IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang
"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"
A few years ago, TWELV Magazine got the chance to chat with one of today’s biggest TV stars – Norman Reedus. We all know him now as the crossbow slinging Daryl Dixon on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” but in this interview with TWELV we get to see a glimpse of the real Norman Reedus. Please enjoy this article from the TWELV archives and check back for more from past issues.
Star of “The Walking Dead” chats about his own transformation from visual artist to performer and his characters latest changes. Norman Reedus spends many of his days on set as Daryl Dixon, star of hit post-apocalypse zombie series “The Walking Dead.”
The early September humidity formed a thick haze between us and the high-voltage power station under our feet in Brooklyn’s Dumbo. Just beyond where we stood lay the end of Jay Street, a major Brooklyn thoroughfare, arrested only by the less-than-sparkling-clean East River. Some 15 miles to our backs, a tornado churned in Breezy Point, NY. The feeling was of creativity and flux—two transient forces that have remained constant in Norman Reedus’s life and career.
-----------------Norman Reedus's INTERVIEW-----------------
Anne Szustek: How did you manage to switch to performing artist after starting as an interdisciplinary visual artist?
Norman Reedus: I got a job at a motorcycle place in Venice, California called “Dr. Carl’s Hog Hospital”. The night I quit that job, a friend took me out to a party up in the Hollywood Hills. I got drunk and started yelling at a bunch of people, and somebody asked me to be in a play.
AS: How have you changed as an actor since your first film, “Mimic”?
NR: I think the biggest change came in my third film, which was about a kid whose father was in a drunk driving accident that put him in a wheelchair. My father in real life was in a wheelchair. The first take we did of the son and father, I cried so much that snot came out of my entire face. The second time we did it, we broke for lunch, and instead of going to lunch, I sat in my trailer and took a little nap… Someone came up to me afterwards and said, “I want to tell you that in the lunchroom, nobody touched their food. Nobody spoke. It was just quiet.” And I was like, “oh, I get it, I get it!” It’s not just models saying scripted lines, blah, blah, blah.
AS: Fast-forward to your role as Daryl Dixon in the hit show “The Walking Dead”. How has your character evolved during the show’s run?
NR: The show starts while Daryl is under the thumb of his racist, drug addicted, asshole big brother Merle. I wanted to be embarrassed at having a big brother like that, instead of being like Merle. I wanted to be more of an Al-Anon member and less of an Alcoholics Anonymous member. Daryl’s starting to become the man he’s never had a chance to become. This group of survivors needs him, and he’s never really had anyone rely on him before.
AS: What do you think of the whole zombie meme of late, both fictional and those associated with unfortunate events this past summer?
NR: Getting old and dying alone is my worst fear, so I understand it. The thing about the way the zombies are written in the show is that you almost feel sad for them. There’s a dying, lost person behind the monster. I think that theme is a pretty universal one. We all grow old, we all get sick, we all decay, and it’s a scary thought. I think to be able to look at that fear and stab it in the brain is in some ways therapeutic.
AS: You’ve always been a true Renaissance man. Beyond acting, what else do you have in the pipeline?
NR: I have a bunch of shit. I have to be doing a lot of stuff, otherwise I’d lose my mind. There’s a Daryl video game coming out. I just got done doing a show in Times Square. I had 20 large-scale photographs—five feet by four feet—that I sold for Oxfam. They’re all photos of road kill.
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY: ANNE SZUSTEK
INTRODUCTION: SUSAN SCHELL
PHOTOGRAPHY: ADRIAN NINA
STYLIST: HISSA IGARASHI
NORMAN: ALL CLOTHES BY DIOR HOMME
GROOMER FOR NORMAN: KRISTAN SERAFINO
HAIR FOR WOMAN: JUNYA NAKASHIMA
MODEL: LAUREN BONNER
WOMAN'S BRA: KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE
SHOES: LAURENCE DACADE