#MFF16: Five Things Montclair Learned About Norman Reedus

Norman Reedus
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Cecchini, MFF

The lines waiting to get in to The Wellmont Theater to see Norman Reedus in Conversation with AMC President of ​Original Programming and Montclair resident Joel Stillerman, snaked down Bloomfield Avenue then down several blocks on North Willow. Two women were waiting at the front of the line at 8:30 am to grab the best seats at the general admission event:

This was no ordinary Montclair Film Festival event, it was The Walking Dead fandom at its finest.

I don’t think there is a greater fan than a TWD fan and Reedus character Daryl Dixon is a show favorite. He is my favorite character from the show, no doubt. Daryl comes from a troubled family. When we meet him, he is angry, untrusting, has low self worth. But with Reedus’s beautiful acting — which is raw, real, and full of subtle emotion — Dixon grows into a someone you root for, He’s an unlikely hero. Shortly into the conversation with Stillerman, Reedus made a comment saying people always think he is Daryl and that as an actor, it’s not true. However, I think that the part that people are drawn to IS Norman Reedus.

When it was time for audience questions, nearly 100 people lined up in lines down both aisles. There were questions about his proir films, his attendance at Walker Stalker Con (In NJ on July 9 & 10), and his acting methods, but most were comments and praise from fans of all ages. One woman said the event was a Mother’s Day present for her, another confessed that she had her husband role play as Daryl with a cross bow, and a young girl who cried when she learned time was up, but then was allowed to have a turn, said to Reedus, “I just want to know why you’re so cool.” to which he replied, “I have a great mom.”

The highlight though, was when a young fan got choked up at the mic and was so nervous he couldn’t finish. Reedus, very touched by the emotion, asked if he could give a one of a kind Daryl Dixon statue to the fan, went over and gave him a hug. Stillerman joked that he better not see the one of a kind item on eBay.

I spoke with Reedus before the event and sat with the other fans during the conversation. Here are 5 things I learned about Norman Reedus:

1. He loves being a part of The Walking Dead. When I asked him his favorite thing about his role on the show, he replied, “The company I keep getting to hang out with.” He went to to say how grateful he is to work with amazing actors, how Andrew Lincoln is his BFF, and how the cast is like family.

2. He is stoked about his new show Ride with Norman Reedus, which will premiere on AMC on June 12. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Stillerman said, “We love being the home of people’s passion projects, and there is nobody more passionate about motorcycles than Norman Reedus.” The show follows Reedus as he hits the open road to explore local biker culture and celebrate the best and brightest collectors, mechanics and craftsmen around the country. Each episode will feature Reedus and a special guest and riding companion as they journey on the road looking for adventure.

3. He wouldn’t give me a clue about Dixon’s fate on TWD and if he was Negan’s victim in the season 6 finale. When I asked if him filming his new show gave a us a clue about whether it was his character killed, he looked at me with a poker face and said, “It gives you no clue at all.”

4. In addition to his acting, Reedus is a photographer (His work is showcased in his book The Sun’s Coming up Like a Big Bald Head), an artist, a filmmaker, and an all around creative person. He is drawn to beauty in unexpected places, sort of like his character Daryl Dixon.

5. He is a genuinely good guy. You know all the qualities you love about Daryl Dixon? They’re a part of Reedus. He’s real, unassuming, down to earth, and just so freaking cool. He ended the conversation sharing his best life lesson — “It’s okay to be you.”



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