When Norman Reedus auditioned for Walking Dead, he blew away the writers so hard that they created a new role, non-existent in the comic book original, especially for him in the show. Thus Daryl Dixon, the fearless, rough and tough, introvert southern tracker was born. Thanks to his awesomeness, Norman elevated the character of Daryl from recurring cast to season regular for the second dose of this zombie apocalypse classic, eventually becoming “Best Hero” in 2012’s IGN Awards.
An obvious choice for a starting point in our journey to discover Norman’s other faces, since this flick is done by the creators of Walking Dead, and our main protagonist does not stray very far away from Daryl’s character either. Norman plays one of two custodians of an underground bunker in a world running towards a cataclysmic conflict, in this claustrophobic thriller aimed obviously at Walking Dead fans, due only in March.
From a gripping apocalyptic blockbuster to a festival favorite love-triangle with and indy feel, or, from bunkers to Seven Elevens, Norman plays an old (but not that old to be not hot!) love interest of Melissa (Naomi Watts), who struggles through life being a shop clerk, together with a paraplegic alcoholic (Matt Dillon). The movie deals with very real, cutting problems of our everyday lives instead of a fictional flood of undead, and it is every bit as thought-provoking or moving as the tough calls Walking Dead heroes need to go through, with stellar acting from all three of the main heroes.
Herman Howards is the perpetrator of a school massacre, avenging the constant bullying he is subjected to. While slaughtering more than 30 of his fellow students, he records the act, and contacts his personal hero and top journalist, Daryl, ahem, Lax Morales, to tell his own story in the show of his idol. Do not expect shining revelations about how these horrible acts come to be as the movie runs to the bluntest conclusions, but note that the critics usually highlight Reedus’ performance as the best element of this generally lowly rated movie.
Yes, in case you missed it, Anton Hesse, the cynical captured terrorist is playing a major role in the background story of Steve McGarrett, the series’ main protagonist. Antons few but all-important minutes are presented by Norman himself. As a key figure in the defining moment for the protagonist, he reappears twice in the later seasons of the show as well, in flashbacks..
Moscow Chill could easily be a cult classic. Way before Walking Dead, looking back, it almost establishes Norman’s future character paths. He plays an American hacker who gets busted from prison and is flown to Moscow. You can imagine the rest - codes get cracked, cigarettes smoked, girls kissed, bullets fly and BTRs fire.
In a twisting plot of conning upon conning that wouldn’t even fit in this space, Norman is playing Archie, the con artist-gambler-grifter. While finding out who double-crosses who, you are taken to a fast-paced journey featuring a traveling carnival, which is always cool, New Orleans, casinos, a blue convertible and a quarter mil in a suitcase in this precursor for the mischief character of Moscow Chill. Final twist is guaranteed.
Of course you need undead-slicing experience in your resume if you want to star in Walking Dead. Scud, played by Norman, is the new techie apprentice of Blade himself, fighting off the three-jawed Reapers with a UV-fitted transport and preparing killer gadgets. Admit it, you got hungry for a rewatch!
A cult teen drama featuring the baby-faced (though already 31 in real life) Norman Reedus, where the main characters are researching the nature of virality the crooked way, by trying to spread a certain gossip and track what happens. This all done long before the age of social media, and if that is not enough to stimulate your geeky receptors, the fact that the young Cersei Lannister is one of the three culprits behind this nefarious experiment surely will be.
Yeah, THAT Beat! William S. Burroughs (Kiefer Sutherland!), Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Lucien Carr played by Norman Reedus, on a road trip, engulfed in a love triangle with Lucien in the center. “A classic story of love, betrayal and revenge” with the most epic characters of the Beat Generation.
More chain-smoking, gunslinging, tattooed, avenging angel vigilante awesomeness in two distinct chapters where Norman is playing Murphy MacManus, one half of twin brothers on a crusade against bad guys, while Willem Dafoe, as an FBI special agent, rummages through the mess they make with growing sympathy. The sequel is basically just… a sequel.
This sums up our backwards time travel through the roles of Normad Reedus, one of the main characters of Walking Dead. We hope you enjoyed the ride. Keep the gunpowder dry and enjoy your apocalypse!