SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Ride With Norman Reedus debut & Season 1.
For season after season, the blockbuster fan base of The Walking Dead have watched Norman Reedus jump on a motorcycle to ward off the hoards of the zombie apocalypse or escape some even more dangerous humans. Tonight, the man who plays Daryl Dixon on the hit AMC series hits the road with the debut of Ride With Norman Reedus.
Offering a look at what Reedus does during his TWD downtime, the 6-episode Ride starts off in a different city each week and takes off up the Pacific Coast Highway as well as Death Valley, the Appalchias, Florida and more over its run. Delving into bike culture as much as the open road itself, the refreshing friendly unscripted series hits up tattoo parlors, moonshiners and locals that Reedus and pals meet up along the way. Some of those pals include Easy Rider co-star Peter Fonda, director Robert Rodriguez and actor Balthazar Getty.
With tonight’s 10 PM ET premiere of Ride, Reedus chatted with me about the show, how he would have done it even if there had been no cameras and how there could be more to come. He also offered a glimpse inside the upcoming seventh season of TWD, which is currently filming in Georgia, and how ex-bad boy chef Anthony Bourdain is an inspiration.
DEADLINE: So why was Ride how you choose to spend your Walking Dead vacation?
REEDUS: Aw man, you kidding, it was a blast. Joel Stillerman came to me with the idea of the show. I said, “yes, yes, yes” because I didn’t want him to change his mind and do it with someone else. I was super exited because, you know, I probably would have spent some of my vacation doing some of this stuff already.
DEADLINE: As a long time rider and bike culture fan, what was the most unexpected part of making the show?
REEDUS: The thing I didn’t quite expect was how it was like when you take a vacation with someone and how well you know them at the end of the vacation. I would take people that I knew or that I kinda knew or that I knew really well and at the end of our ride, at the end of the episode, I got to know them really really well. It was super positive and one of those happy accidents for every episode.
DEADLINE: In the first episode where you talk about finding yourself after you moved to L.A. in the 1990s, there is a very honest vibe to the show and, at the same time, a very friendly vibe that people who only know you are Daryl Dixon might not have seen before…
REEDUS: I meet people all the time and I talk with them and stuff but thank you for saying that. I was just trying to be open to whatever was going to be thrown my way. You know, I’m taking it as it goes. I’m trying to be honest and open and I wanted them to be honest and open. So I guess I just was myself – to be honest.
DEADLINE: With The Well on the soundtrack, and a lot of other points of reference all over the place, it feels like you guys weren’t just talking about bikes but the alternative culture of America, the underground…
REEDUS: That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. We didn’t really talk about doing that or that we set out to do that but I’m just talking about things I like with people I like and who enjoy the same things I like to do. It’s been a learning experience for me since Day One. I’m definitely not an expert in any of this, I’m just an enthusiast and I’m learning too.
DEADLINE: Are you going to do more shows like this or another season of Ride?
REEDUS: It’s not enough with six episodes, but I’m doing this other thing too (laughs). Honestly, I could do six episodes of this in just America and not see all of America. I would love to take this show overseas to Asia and Europe. I’d like to take it all over the world.
DEADLINE: To talk about that other thing, no spoilers and I know you are in the middle of filming but what can we expect from Season 7 of The Walking Dead?
REEDUS: It’s a brand new world right now, man. We have big bad guy and that opens up our world quite a bit and changes everything. I mean, you see a shift of power completely on our show. And you see a lot of people who’ve gone through a whole lot, having to bite their tongue for a minute and deal with this new world and this new villain. If you know the comic books, it opens up even larger than that.
DEADLINE: What do you think TWD fans will get out watching Ride?
REEDUS: I hope so, it’s a lot of fun. Look, I’m a big fan of shows that are similar to this. I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain and his shows. I liked the stuff Ewen McGregor did and David Beckham did, where they traveled around on motorcycles.
I can’t cook like but I love watching Anthony Bourdain going around eating food and talking about it. I like meeting people and learning about different cultures. It’s not just foodies who like his shows. So it’s nice to sit back and be entertained and at the same time, learn new things and that’s what we tried to do with Ride.