From the posters in towering hotels, to the cosplays of lumbering fans, to the wildly popular panel at Hall H, "The Walking Dead" was all over Comic-Con International in San Diego. But fan-favorite Norman Reedus pulled double duty at SDCC, promoting not just the AMC hit, but also his upcoming sci-fi thriller "Air," also produced by "Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman.
Set in a not so distant future, "Air" plays out in a bunker below an Earth cataclysmically scorched by chemical warfare. The government has collected the best and brightest of humanity and cryogenically frozen them to be of use rebuilding the world once the atmosphere levels return to breathable. In the meantime, the last hope for mankind is cared for by a pair of custodians (Reedus and Djimon Hounsou). But when a glitch threatens their own oxygen levels, desperate times call for desperate measures that could put mankind's future at risk.
SPINOFF Online sat down with Reedus to discuss "Air"s chilling vision of the future, as well as the upcoming sixth season of "The Walking Dead" and the latest on "Boondocks Saints 3."
Spinoff Online: "Air" centers on a pretty intense relationship between your and Djimon Hounsou's characters. Can you talk about this relationship?
Norman Reedus: We both kind of have the same job but we look at it differently. He sort of sees himself as a scientist with hope for the future. I sort of see [my character Bauer] as a janitor who's stuck in this chamber, and we're all gonna die, and someone's fucking with us. That’s basically what I think. And our personalities -- we're pretty well cast. Djimon kind of has this inner zen thing about him, and I'm kind of sarcastic. So it works.
In high-pressure situations, do you feel you're similar to Bauer in how you react?
No. I'm pretty level-headed to be honest. Bauer ends up doing something good. He ends up being a good guy. I think a lot of characters I play -- especially lately -- are good people doing bad things.
Well, his situation is pretty bleak. How are you able to relate to how he behaves post-apocalypse?
I think something about being in those closed quarters that long, it's got to mess with your head. There's like no way that it can't. And so, I get it. I understand it. And even if he had like an imaginary puppy next to him, I would just let him pet the puppy. I think you kind of need these things to help get you through moments (like these).
And to that, what do you think gets him through?
The hope that there's going to be something in the end, that there's going to be life after this. That it's going to get better.
So he's really dedicated to the job?
I think he's dedicated to the idea of mankind and the future. The job is part of it, but he's doing the job for a reason.
Your look in the film hair-wise is very similar to the way it is on "The Walking Dead." Was that a creative choice or one of scheduling necessity?
Well, I'm on a TV show so I can't really cut off all my hair off in between seasons. I have three other films coming out, and it's an issue. I was supposed to do "Tomorrowland" with George Clooney, and they wanted to cut my hair into sort of this tiny hair croissant on top of my head. [He mimes as if adjusting a tiny hat just off-center of the left of his head.) I was like there was no way. When you're on a TV show you can't just [cut it].
What role was that for?
I was supposed to play his father in the flashbacks in the beginning. But it happens all the time. When you're in a TV show you can't really change your look. But the thing too is like, as you watch characters for six years, I like watching them change instead of looking the same for six years. I think that looks fake. We should all be growing our hair and losing weight on the show. That's how that should work.
It's funny because more cartoon shows ("Venture Brothers," "Adventure Time," "Steven Universe") are doing that, changing the characters' looks over time.
That's smart. It makes you feel like you're watching something, for real.
"The Walking Dead" fans say that if Daryl dies they will riot. What is that kind of fan response like for you?
I mean I know it’s a t-shirt. Thank you? I like a good riot. I remember the LA riots, and I was like, "Why don’t we get the DMV? Let’s take down the DMV. Why are we taking down this store? Who needs a TV? Let’s burn the DMV!"
So if Daryl dies you would prefer your fans specifically riot at the DMV?
[Smiling] Just go straight to the DMV, yeah. Take out all your anger at the DMV.
Going back to "Air," class warfare has such a rich tradition in science fiction. Can you talk about how you think this film addresses that them?
I think for sure that Bauer knows that if he didn't have the skillset to keep this place running, he wouldn't have made it into this company. And he looks at these people in the sleep chambers as--when push comes to shove, he's ready to sacrifice one. He does not care about them. He thinks they get the golden ticket and that's not fair. It definitely bothers him. While Djimon's character thinks, "No, well they deserve it. They are the chosen ones to rebuild this planet." So it definitely plays -- actually I love the class warfare in movies.
Has there been any progress with "Boondock Saints 3?"
There's talk of it right now. I know there's a Variety article that came out. It's in talks, so everyone's got their fingers crossed. It's a lot of work to get a movie off the ground, and have everybody on the same page. There's talks of it. We're all hoping.
Is there any hope that you will executive produce a "Boondocks Saints" TV show? It's said you've been in talks.
We're in talks to do that, yeah. I don't know what's going on with that now. It's lawyers and a whole thing.
But it's something you're still passionate about?
Yeah, that was a fun movie to make and I'd like to bring it back to the original film. I thought the original film in particular was really awesome.
"Air" opens August 14. "The Walking Dead" returns October 11 on AMC.