"I remember Frank Darabont, after the first season, we were at a party in L.A," recounts Reedus. "He said, 'I've got an idea for Daryl. He's gay. Would you be interested in that?' I was like, 'Let me hear you out.' He said, 'Well, he's prison gay. Like, you'll catch him looking at a member of the same sex, but if you mention it to him, he'll just stab you and be like, What the fuck? He will never admit it.' I was like, 'That'll blow minds-let's do that.' And he said, 'I knew I hired you for a reason.'"
Darabont was fired from the show before the production of season two, but Reedus made sure to clarify to GQ that the "prison gay" idea "had nothing to do with" his departure.
While the show has not outed Dixon in any way since Darabont's departure, series creator Robert Kirkman addressed the topic in the letters column of "The Walking Dead" #130. "All I can say is that it's been discussed," Kirkman wrote back in August. "We have very specific ideas about Daryl's sexuality (or the seeming lack thereof), and if there's ever a quiet period in the show where he's not consistently distracted by crossbowing... we'll tackle it in the show."
Reedus did discuss his approach to the character's sexuality during the GQ interview. "He's definitely not a ladies' man or thinks of himself as having enough confidence to be that type of person. I want to play him searching for confidence, not full of confidence, you know what I mean? I like all the little things that are awkward. I like when a boy meets a girl, doesn't know what to say, and says the wrong thing, and she notices that, and he notices that she notices that. I think that's all very interesting, and I would rather play him like not somebody that's got cool-guy moves or anything like that."
"The Walking Dead" returns for its fifth season Oct. 12 on AMC.