by DAVID DIEHL Photography by Jason Goodrich
Styling by Joseph Episcopo Grooming by Kristan Serafino for Kiss Silicone Protexion Flat Iron
Norman Reedus is keeping his burgeoning acting career very much alive with his newest role on Walking Dead while moonlighting as Lady Gaga’s Judas.
Many actors devote their career to obtaining awards and stars on the walk of fame. Norman Reedus doesn’t care to walk down that road. His journey hasn’t snagged him any statues yet, but he does have action figures. Comic book characters were created due to personas he has played. Thousands of people have tattooed his portrait on their body. Reedus doesn’t live the life of an A-list Hollywood hunk, but he’s provided committed cult and comic fan bases with gritty crusaders that are true to the cause. He became an icon in his role as Murphy McManus in The Boondock Saints franchise, taking down the bad guys with his fraternal twin brother and the grace of the Lord. And after appearing as the leading male in Lady Gaga’s “Judas” video earlier this year, he’s now preparing to save us from zombies in the much-anticipated second season of The Walking Dead.
YRB: How did you get interested in becoming an actor?
Norman: I followed a girl to Los Angeles, and she ended up hooking up with her ex-boyfriend and then moving to Australia. So I ended up with a job fixing motorcycles for art shows. One day, I left that job and was at a party and got really drunk and was asked to be in a play. Afterwards, I kept in contact and actually did the play. A few people saw me the first couple nights and started to approach me about possibly targeting movies.
YRB: What would you consider your biggest breakthrough in the industry?
Norman: My biggest breakthrough was Boondock Saints. I mean, a lot of people wanted to be in that film. And Troy [Duffy] wanted relatively unknown people. It was 1999, and Troy was screen testing out of his own pocket. Through those screen tests he sold the film to Harvey Weinstein. He even had Harvey buy the bar that he was the bouncer at to solidify the deal. You know, Troy was really great, and this movie really became the biggest break for me. Sean [Patrick Flanery] and I had our screen test at the bar and Troy really liked our chemistry as the brothers. And this is at a time when Miramax wanted Stephen Dorff and Jon Bon Jovi to be the brothers. Crazy, right? But they fought for us; that’s how we did it. With the whole screen testing process at the bar, they believed in us.
YRB: When you were shooting the film, did you ever think it would become such a cult phenomenon?
Norman: No, man, I had no idea. You know, Columbine had recently happened and people were reluctant to touch a film with such righteous violence. Everyone who participated on the film was just like, ‘Oh, well that was fun,’ and that was that. But once it got going, it just kept growing and growing. It became a people’s movie. It’s crazy – I see tattoos on people of Sean and I as the brothers every day.
YRB: What does that feel like, to have a character you portrayed immortalized on someone’s skin?
Norman: You know, I’ve probably seen a thousand of them. I keep seeing them and I always say, “I hope you were drunk when you did this,” and they always say back, ‘Yes, I was!’ But it is pretty cool. The other day my son and I were in California, and we were walking on Venice Beach and we came across a guy in a <Saints> hoodie. My son flipped out on the guy, ‘Why do you have my daddy on your shirt?’ Like the guy had stolen my soul or something. It’s funny. But, you know, it feels good and it’s cool.