Fans filled up the biggest hall at Fan Expo Canada early Sunday morning to welcome three cast members of “The Walking Dead” to Toronto, as Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chandler Riggs (Carl) and Lennie James (Morgan) were on hand to discuss the show, their characters and where the next season will take them.
As seems to be mentioned every time Reedus arrives at Fan Expo, he was immediately asked about becoming a sex symbol in pop culture, and whether he ever expected to see this kind of response to his character.
“Look at me — are you kidding me?” Reedus answered with a laugh. “It’s ridiculous. I have a cat and I watch South Park all day!”
When an adoring fan with a “If Daryl dies, we riot” shirt stepped forward to ask another question, Reedus intervened. “Me, too,” he quipped, pointing out the shirt. “I’ll be passing out the matches if that happens.”
“I’ve got a favorite zombie, his name is Coleman and he’s really good,” James replied to a question about whether the cast hangs out with the zombie extra off-camera. “I always sit next to him when we get a break. We don’t speak, we just sit next to each other, I say, ‘Hey,’ and he just goes, [zombie groan]. That does it for me.”
“A lot of the zombies are really chill,” Riggs added. “They just, like, smoke cigarettes and stuff. They’re not weird or anything. It’s like Halloween all the time.”
As far as the comics are concerned, two elder actors admitted that Riggs is the person they go to for any questions about what’s happening in Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s series.
“I ask Chandler what’s going on. We all do. We ask him how to use our iPhones,” Reedus teased. “I don’t mind not being in the comics — but I wouldn’t mind being in the comics. In the beginning, I thought I was going to get a lot of heat for not being from the comics, and then everyone kind of embraced me. Now, we’re all cool. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little cartoon Daryl running around…eating a rabbit or something.”
As for whether they consider the comic or the television show the “Walking Dead” canon, Reedus seemed a bit confused — and showed off some new words he recently added to his vocabulary.
“What’s canon?… I’m learning all these new terms. Fap? I learned fap last night. And what’s troll? What’s it mean when someone calls you a troll?” Reedus asked, causing the capacity crowd to erupt with laughter.
With a few episodes of the prequel series, “Fear the Walking Dead” now having aired, the trio was asked for their opinion on the show.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” Riggs, the only one of the three who has seen the show, replied. “I think some people didn’t like it as much. I enjoyed how everyone played their characters. It’s interesting, because the cinematography is a lot different from the start of ‘The Walking Dead.’ We had this epic look of everything overwhelming you, but with ‘Fear the Walking Dead,’ it’s more personal and intimate with the characters. It’s very interesting.”
“I walk into supermarkets and immediately think about how I’m going to take out everybody with my stick,” James said with a laugh when asked how being on the hit show has changed their daily lives. “It mostly happens when people are walking towards me. I think to myself, ‘I’m going to take your knees out,’ or, ‘I’ll hit you in the chin.'”
“…I just stand behind Norman, because they’re not going to kill him,” James joked.
“Don’t say that!” Reedus shouted, as he knocked on wood repeatedly. “It’s kind of like losing a family member [when a cast member is killed off]. But we celebrate when we lose people. It’s tequila shots, selfies and tears.”
“In the last couple years, giving back has really filled me with a lot of happiness,” Reedus told the audience in response to his involvement with charities and other good causes. “I love being able to do that in larger ways. I’ve got a friend of mine who called me up and said my nephew drowned in a pool and they resuscitated him, and they started a Kickstarter to pay those bills. So I tweeted out as I was leaving set, please help this kid out. And by the time I got home, they raised the money. I just stopped the car and thought, that’s so awesome that I could help do that. Since that moment, I’ve been doing a lot of that stuff. It’s probably one of the best parts of doing all of this.”
Over the past couple of years, the “Bad Lip Reading” series has gained popularity all over the Internet, in particular their “Walking Dead” specials. And yes, the show’s cast is well aware of their appearances on the YouTube show.
“I thought it was hilarious,” Riggs admitted. “I was honored that they made a song out of me. As soon as I saw it, I had to show the rest of the cast. I think it’s really cool when people do that… It’s amazing to see how into this show, and how into these characters, people are.”
“Trying to figure out how I can answer [if we’ll learn more about Morgan’s past] without telling you anything,” James chuckled. “I think I’m allowed to say… yes.”
“If I say anything it will spread around and turn into a rumor,” Reedus said in response to a question about Daryl’s love life. “I think it would come out of left field. The thing I like about him is that he’s not really looking for it. I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that would throw you up against a tree in the moonlight. I don’t think he has any game. Maybe someone will take pity on him and make out with him.”
“This season is so much like the first season,” Riggs claimed of the upcoming episodes’ back-to-their-roots approach. “It’s just so big and epic. I was talking to Andy (Andrew Lincoln) about it a few weeks ago, and even the heat is so intense it just feels like Season One. Everything we’re doing feels like we’re going back to Season One. It’s amazing.”
“Maybe like Season One on Viagra,” Reedus added. “This season has some pretty bananas stuff.”
“My favorite line is one Chandler says in the new season,” James said, teasing the crowd. “It’s completely and utterly fantastic. It’s probably the best line ever. That line will be on t-shirts.”
“The Walking Dead” returns to AMC October 11.
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