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Norman Reedus chats about the upcoming season of “The Walking Dead,” apologizing to Naomi Watts, and his upcoming film slate

Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead

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Norman Reedus may have broken onto the scene with roles in films like “Mimic” and “8MM,” but it’s his role as Murphy MacManus in Troy Duffy’s 1999 cult classic “The Boondock Saints” that really made the actor a star. Fast forward a decade to 2010 and Reedus would soon become a household name by playing a foul-mouthed (but often lovable) redneck that kills zombies with pinpoint accuracy with the help of his trusty crossbow. Reedus’ star power exploded with his role in AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and it’s about to get even brighter with the premiere of the show’s third season on October 14th.

Reedus sat down with IFC.COM recently to chat about his upcoming film slate, how he found himself apologizing to Naomi Watts on a daily basis, and just how “crazy” the upcoming season of “The Walking Dead” is going to be.

IFC: Do you feel like Daryl’s more of a likeable guy now than he was when “The Walking Dead” first started?

Norman Reedus: It’s funny because we’re almost wrapped up with season three – we’ve got maybe four or five more episodes – and I’ve had to go back and forth between this ferocious guy and the “please help me, I’m a wounded animal” guy that I don’t know what to ask for. They ask me what kind of things I want to do as the character, and I can’t decide if I want to poke a bunch of people’s eyes out and cut their throats or just curl up in a ball and cry because they’re both kind of fun.

IFC: I think Daryl and Carol became closer to each other this past season than almost anyone else on the show. Tell me a little bit about your relationship with Melissa McBride.

REEDUS: I adore Melissa. She’s one of my favorite actors on the show. She’s such a good actress and she has so much inside that she can just open her eyes and stare at you and listen and so much stuff comes out of her. I’ve been very fortunate in the fact that I’ve had a lot of scenes with Melissa – private scenes. It’s just the luck of the draw, I think. Both of our characters are very similar – they’re damaged people gravitating towards damaged people – but I love Melissa. She’s one of my dearest friends and she’s just awesome to watch. She’s really magnificent.

IFC: Any hints you can give us about what we can expect for Daryl in season three?

REEDUS: Rick has sort of become the brother than Merle wasn’t. So now that Merle’s back, there’s a lot of confrontation. There’s a lot of bullets. There’s a lot of kills. There’s a ferociousness to this season that wasn’t in seasons one and two. The first season was kind of an introduction. The second season we sort of treated the zombies like we were terrified of them. The third season it’s like a plague. It’s like an infestation of giant man-eating rats. Everyone’s just pissed off. So everyone’s demeanor is different in the third season, and everyone’s just fed up. It’s a new animal this year.

IFC: This little movie you made with Sean Patrick Flanery and Troy Duffy has become a huge cult classic. Do you still get people coming up to you and telling you that “The Boondock Saints” is their favorite movie? Do they want to see your hands to see if the tattoos are there?

REEDUS: Every day. Every day, all day long. (Laughs) I did the USO tour with Sean. We got to meet the troops in Dubai and Bahrain and Djibouti and Ethiopia and to have that many people who are just complete badasses and love that film and know every single quote in that film, it was pretty humbling. I have firemen and policemen, all the time, tell me that’s their favorite movie.

I remember talking to Willem Dafoe a long time ago and he’s like “All I ever wanted to be was a really good cult actor,” and I was like “What the hell’s he talking about? What’s that mean?” And then I discovered the legions of fans that come with cult films. It’s pretty awesome. I thank my stars every day that Troy gave me that shot.

IFC: Obviously you still love the movie at this point. You’re not tired of talking about that one yet?

REEDUS: Nah, man. I love that film. It’s one thing to do a big film and have every billboard on the planet to promote it, and every commercial. But we did this little film and had none of that. No had no P&A [publicity and advertising] at all. It was just passed around through word of mouth and it became this big deal. And, you know, that never happens. That’s cooler than being the big film that’s overly promoted and doesn’t do anything. It’s a much bigger prestige for me. It’s sort of like the people’s movie and I’m super proud of it.

IFC: You have a few movies coming up that people are excited about. In “Sunlight Jr.” you get to work with Naomi Watts and Laurie Collyer. How has that experience been for you?

REEDUS: Yeah, and Matt Dillon too. You know, Laurie’s great. I met Laurie in Little Italy back in New York, right around the corner from my apartment and I just fell in love with her. I was like “I’ll do anything you want to do.” She’s such a strong woman with a vision. So I sat down with her and she had this punk rock t-shirt on and I was like “Who is this chick?” I totally fell in love with her.

This film? I’m all sorts of fucked up in this film. I think my first line ever on “Sunlight Jr.” was to Naomi and it was “I can smell your pussy through the glass.” (Laughs) Every day I was like “I apologize. I’m sorry. I’m sorry about tomorrow.” (Laughs) It’s gonna be interesting.

IFC: That’s your Hannibal Lecter line.

REEDUS: I know, right? (Laughs) I’m all sorts of white trash in that flick. Not like Daryl, though. I’m like “city white trash.” I’m more meth-head white trash. I’ve got the tank top and the big gold chain. I’ve got flip-flops with the white socks on. The whole thing.

IFC: So you move from “Sunlight Jr.” over to “Pawn Shop Chronicles,” which is more of an action-comedy. Does that mean we get to see you do a little bit of comedy too?

REEDUS: Well, it’s interesting in that movie because you gotta look for me. I decided that I wanted people to see me in that film and be like “Was that so-and-so?” They kept asking me “Can we see your face a little bit more?” and I’m just like “No. Not at all.” It’s one of those cameos that will be super fun to watch.

Even on that film with all these big stars in it, though… I sat around in Florida doing that film and all I wanted to do was go back to Georgia and be Daryl Dixon again. So, my heart’s really in Daryl Dixon.

You can see Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in “The Walking Dead” when Season 3 premieres on AMC on October 14.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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