Every star takes an interesting path to fame. The way Norman Reedus rose to the point where he stars on The Walking Dead with his own show is unexpected.
It’s hard to imagine what The Walking Dead would look like each week if the popular AMC zombie drama series had never brought in Norman Reedus to play the crossbow-wielding badass Daryl Dixon.
His character has become an iconic part of The Walking Dead franchise and has brought joy to many of those who enjoyed his work in the Boondock Saints films as well as motorcycle enthusiasts who watch Ride with Norman Reedus.
Recently, Norman Reedus participated in a WIRED Autocomplete Interview where he talked about his rise to fame. His path to stardom is an interesting one, and it all started thanks to him just saying “yes” to some opportunities.
Here is what Reedus had to say about getting his acting career started:
"“I was working at a motorcycle shop in Venice, California and I had followed a girl that I had met in Tokyo who lived in New York and she asked me to move to Los Angeles. And, at that time, I was actually in Spain and I was living in this tiny little thing and doing these paintings and she said ‘what are you doing?’ I said ‘doing this.’ ‘Want to come to L.A.?’"
Once in California, doors started opening for Reedus. Bouncing around the world had to be great for the young man to meet people, have life experiences, and learn the ways of the world, but that was when an unlikely opportunity put him into the acting field.
"“I got a job at the motorcycle place in Venice, California, got in a fight with the guy who owned it. Ended up that night going to a party up in the Hollywood Hills drinking way too much, started yelling at a crowd of people. Then, someone asked me to be in a play and they told me ‘you’d be the understudy. You wouldn’t even have to do anything and we’ll pay you these many dollars a day and you just have to show up but you don’t actually have to go on stage and do it.’ So, I was like, game on!”"
Since that sounded like a great deal, it isn’t surprising that Reedus accepted the offer. Getting paid to not be on stage and act as the emergency fill-in for a play would be a great opportunity for someone who had just had a bit of an altercation with their boss earlier that day. Little did he know he would be taking the stage in the production sooner than anticipated.
"“The first day he didn’t show up and I had to do it. I was very lucky there was a lady named Laura Kennedy who was in the audience, liked me, started, I think it’s called ‘side-pocketing’ or ‘hip-pocketing’ or something like that and that’s when they don’t sign you but they have faith that you might do something someday. And I did some things.”"
The success of Norman Reedus all came from opening himself up to new experiences, not being afraid to try new things, and going with the flow of life. It’s funny to think that if the actor had never gotten in a fight with the owner of the motorcycle shop he worked at in Venice that he wouldn’t be the massive star he has become today.
As for the play he was in, Reedus shed a little light on that as well.
"“The name of the play was called Maps for Drowners. It was at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset which is no longer there.”"
Reedus added that his character was somebody named “Towel” or “Tad” or something like that. However, the play itself was billed as the first mainstream comedy about AIDS and hope. Considering that play launched in 1991 and tackled such a serious topic in a unique way, it’s not surprising there was a talent scout in the audience to see what type of performances would be on display during the play.
Hearing the story of how Norman Reedus was discovered during the WIRED Autocomplete Interview was not only interesting but it was astounding to hear about all the times he moved around the world and showed no fear about what the future might hold. Plus, nearly 30 years later, the star of The Walking Dead is still doing what he loves: riding motorcycles and seeing the world on Ride with Norman Reedus.