Andrew Lincoln & Norman Reedus
They’re two of my favourite actors.
One’s from London, a serious method actor who I strongly suspect keeps Stanislavski’s entire collection in the toilet for jamban reading. He also holds the distinct honour of being the last person to make holding up signs for a girl romantic.
Yes – Andrew Lincoln used to worship his best friend’s wife (played by uh, Keira Where-Is-She-Now Knightley) from afar in Love Actually, but these days, he kills zombies and leads a ragtag bunch of the living in AMC’s The Walking Dead (in this one, his best friend worships his wife…and he kills his best friend).
The other has played Judas before – if you’ve seen most Biblical films such as Mel Gibson’s Passion of The Christ, you will know that playing Judas requires some very insane gravitas. Even if you’re playing Judas in a Lady Gaga video.
But of course, nobody defines an acting career from a Lady Gaga music video. Even Lady Gaga doesn’t. Norman Reedus is much better known for his very kickass portrayal of Daryl Dixon, my vote for Most Compelling Television Character in the four years since AMC’s The Walking Dead began. Yes, take a seat you Game of Thrones yawndrogos.
So over the weekend, I had the very distinct privilege of meeting them at Fox Movies Premium’s The Walking Dead Live at LASALLE College of the Arts.
The event kicked off with the duo showing their prowess with some high-calibre weapons – nerf guns – at a LASALLE courtyard reverse-furbished to look like it was invaded by the walking dead.
This was followed by one of the most enlightening dialogue sessions I’ve ever had – and that is NOT the fanboy in me speaking. Hosted by Adrian Pang, the two were joined by more than 200 fans and members of the media as they discussed behind-the-scenes shenanigans on the set of The Walking Dead and the noble craft of acting.
The contrast in personalities is jarring. Andrew is the immaculate professional – a by-the-book (again, the book is probably one of Stanislavski’s), hard-working actor with an intense dedication towards his craft, while Norman Reedus is a huge zombie hunter-sized ball of playful energy (he says, “I have A-D-D-D-D-D-H-D”) who spoke in abstracts. It showed in the way they sat as well: Andrew reclined in his spot, while Norman couldn’t even stay seated through the session, occasionally sitting on the floor or standing up to gesticulate.
At the end of the panel, I asked them a separate question each. To Andrew, I asked what he would say to my cousin Dhania, who’s studying medicine. He said, “Dhania, keep at it. It’s a noble profession, and we’re going to need as many doctors as we can get if there’s an outbreak.”
To Norman, I asked what he would say to my cousin Athia, who’s studying aeronautical engineering. He said, “Keep on aeronauticizing, man!”
Here are the highlights of the dialogue session:
Norman Reedus on homages to The Walking Dead:
“I saw the porno version of the show recently. (to Andrew) I’ll show you when we get to Manhattan. I was packin’.”
Norman Reedus on Daryl’s perpetual stubble:
“I had Thanksgiving dinner with The Duck Dynasty family and they were like, ‘What’s up with that beard?’ and I’m like, ‘That’s all I can grow.'”
Andrew Lincoln on getting the role of Rick Grimes:
“I didn’t read the comics (prior to getting the role). So I went to my local comic book store in London and I asked for The Walking Dead. They took me to this wall of comics and I asked, ‘Which one is it?’ and they said, ‘All of it!'”
Andrew Lincoln on watching himself on The Walking Dead:
“I don’t watch The Walking Dead. I am in it, I live it. Here’s something about me: I stopped watching myself. I’m very self-critical, it just isn’t helpful. I don’t like a lot of the things I do. I’ll feel like I didn’t like how I did something.”
Andrew Lincoln’s advice on acting:
“As an actor, we give it everything we’ve got and we hope it works. Drama students, you’ll know what I mean. If you give anything less, it’ll appear camp. For me, acting is not being afraid of looking like a dick.”
Andrew Lincoln on his mother:
“She’ll see me do an interview and she’ll say, ‘I’m proud of you, but can you stop swearing?'”
Andrew Lincoln on what to expect in the second half of season 4:
“The end of season 4 is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. I can’t tell you more but there are 3 episodes that explore the Daryl-Carol arc and it’s just mind-blowing. Melissa (McBride, who plays Carol Peletier) is an alien, she’s so good.”
Andrew on Norman:
“We don’t have the same approach to acting, but Norman is one of the best instinctive actors I know.”
Norman on his acting career:
“I sort of fell into acting. I got my first acting break by going insane at a party literally the day after I lost my job at a bike shop…Everyone’s path is individual. I’m always learning.”
Norman on his photography:
Norman: “I have a book of photography. It’s just a collection of pictures I took while travelling and doing movies and shows. It’s in bookstores now in Manhattan. Andrew actually wrote the foreword.”
Andrew: “Yeah, at crossbow point. He held a crossbow to my head and said, ‘Write.'”
The guys on what human parts they’d eat if they were zombies:
Norman: “I’ll eat everything: the neck, the hands, buttock cheeks, the chest.'”
Andrew: “I’m a breast man.”
The guys on performing those intense, emotional scenes in The Walking Dead:
Norman: “At every intense scene, I’ll lean in to Andrew and I’ll whisper, ‘I love you’ and he’ll whisper back, ‘Fuck you.'”
Andrew: “We do that a lot actually. It happened at the end of season 3 when I was carrying Andrea’s body.”
The guys on finding peace at the back of The Walking Dead’s popularity:
Andrew: “It’s crazy and all but at the end of it all, I get to go home to my family.”
Norman: “I go home to his family.”
The Walking Dead Season 4 returns on 10th February at 11.30am on Fox Movies Premium (StarHub TV Channel 622)