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Photo: Norman Reedus/Shutterstock
After 12 years spent on the set of the iconic AMC horror TV series ‘The Walking Dead’, star Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) is moving on to personal pursuits and spin-offs. From authoring an original novel, to being set to star in an unnamed ‘The Walking Dead’ spin-off, there is plenty to keep Reedus busy.
Norman Reedus – The Making
First discovered in a bar in downtown Hollywood, Norman Reedus’ acting career had humble beginnings. His first role was in a play called ‘Maps for Drowners’ set at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset Boulevard in California around the 1990s. It wasn’t until 2010 that he began his journey with AMC by starring in the studio’s first hit show – ‘The Walking Dead’.
As stated by executive producer Denise Huth in ‘The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe’, prior to the show’s first time on-air (in October of 2010), no one cared about what was being filmed on the streets of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Though as the years went on, it became nearly impossible for the production crew to keep fans and their cell phone cameras away from the sets.
The same can be said for the show’s star, Norman Reedus. Prior to ‘Maps for Drowners’ he was just a guy working at a Harley-Davidson shop in Venice, California. Now he attends conventions exclusive to the piece of media he has worked on for the past decade, holds gallery showings of his artwork, and publishes books of his photographs. The growth of this actor has been incredible, and so has the growth of his iconic character – Daryl Dixon. Going from a survivalist with plans to rob a camp that was kind enough to let him in, to a surrogate brother and father that readily puts his life on the line to protect his family. Daryl Dixon’s character development is easily the most prominent and iconic in the show’s history, by and large, due to Reedus’ incredible performance.
Starring in dozens of films and TV productions, both as characters and as himself, Norman Reedus has built up quite the biography as in show business, so in everyday life. Undoubtedly, Reedus has plenty of stories to tell. Ranging from his journeys around the United States and abroad, to his tales of stardom.
Due to release on April 5th of 2022, ‘The Ravaged’ is set to become Norman Reedus’ debut novel. The story follows three individuals with drastically different backgrounds. Jack spent his life amassing wealth, but upon losing his family he decides to leave his life behind and go off on a quest of discovery in South America, where people who have nothing teach him everything. Hunter learns about the death of his father in a mysterious fire and sets off to California with biker buddies Nugget and Itch from North Carolina, guided by his father’s stories.
Anne flees her home after being attacked by her brother and hops a freight to Alabama with her friend, they live hand to mouth and find family. Each of these narratives differs drastically from the next, however, a common thread that is yet to be revealed weaves through each storyline, creating an eerily similar outcome for each of our characters. So far there is little information circulating regarding Reedus’ motivations for writing and publishing a novel, though the release is highly anticipated by fans. ‘The Ravaged’ is currently available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and other book retailers in hardcover, large print, eBook, and audio formats.
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Big Bald Gallery
There are currently four published photo books under Norman Reedus’ name. ‘Portraits From the Woods’, ‘Norman Reedus Postcard Series: Volume 1’, ‘Thanks For All the Niceness: Fan Art From Around the World’, and ‘Sun’s Coming Up Like a Big Bald Head’. These books feature photography by Norman Reedus, ranging from photos from the set of ‘The Walking Dead’, to creative photoshoots, and even candid portraiture. The photography exhibited by Reedus is memorable in the sense that it combines real life with gore and performance while also making it into art.
Some of these photographs, such as the portraits of ‘The Walking Dead’ cast, may not seem special, but the key to understanding them as artwork lies in the realization that the photographs are not meant to stand on their own. Instead, the shots tell stories of what it’s like to be treated like family and express the beauty that can be found in the most gruesome of circumstances. A notable photograph featured in the Big Bald Gallery is titled ‘Berlin Car Crash’, which is a self-portrait of Reedus taken following a horrific crash. Norman Reedus’ ability to make art from such circumstances is one of his most notable traits.
Signed copies of ‘Portraits From the Woods” are currently available on the Big Bald Gallery website along with a wide range of autographed photo prints.
From Thriller to Fantasy
A partnership between Norman Reedus and the Jim Henson Company (responsible for fantasy icons such as ‘The Dark Crystal’ and ‘Labyrinth’) has been announced, which will entail a brand new prime-time adventure series intended for family audiences. Reedus is set to collaborate with Brian and Wendy Froud (best known for ‘The Dark Crystal’ and ‘Labyrinth’ in partnership, and the character of Yoda in the sci-fi cult franchise ‘Star Wars’ as a solo project for Wendy) on creature creation for this series. It is currently unclear what roles Reedus will play in the development of this series, however, it has been implied that he will play a role in the character design by utilizing his multifaceted artistic skills, including photography, painting, and sculpture.
The Daryl and Carol Untitled
As of March 7th, 2022, a new spin-off – ‘Isle of the Dead’ – was announced. This particular series will star Lauren Cohan (as Maggie Rhee) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as Negan Smith). The plot of the show has yet to be announced, the only widely known detail is that this show will take place in New York City.
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A thus-far untitled spin-off starring Norman Reedus (as Daryl Dixon) and Melissa McBride (as Carol Peletier) was announced in 2020, however, details are still unclear. This announcement was a pleasant relief for the fans of ‘The Walking Dead’ since it meant that these iconic characters would survive the conclusion of the decade-old show. However, the storylines of our favorite characters don’t end with a couple of spin-offs. In 2020, a series of three films was announced by Scott M. Gimple. A release date has not been set for these films, and it has been said that they were stuck in the pre-production phase due to the pandemic.
Norman Reedus may be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ghost Rider. Nothing regarding this potential role has been announced, however. When asked about his involvement with Marvel’s ‘Ghost Rider’ by Insider, Reedus simply commented “fingers crossed”.
It doesn’t seem as if Reedus will be slowing down any time soon. With a multitude of projects currently under his belt, and many more in development, this star has his work cut out. Many of Reedus’ current projects such as his chain of restaurants and production studio have not been covered in this article. There is much to discuss when it comes to this horror icon. So the question stands, what’s next?
By Micha Jones
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Micha Jones is a writer and aspiring television producer who is dedicated to education and equity. Writing review and feature articles for The Hollywood Insider, they focus on the ways in which media can tell marginalized stories. Through reflecting on the portrayal of social and environmental issues in TV and film, Micha aims to make positive changes in the entertainment industry. Micha’s work often carries The Hollywood Insider’s signature “mic-drop” perspectives and makes an effort to tell educational and socially progressive stories. They strongly believe in accurate representation in film and emphasize the power of the community.