4:00 pm EDT, March 26, 2013

‘The Walking Dead’s’ Norman Reedus drew on father’s death to prepare for scene with Merle

Fan favorite The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus reveals that he drew inspiration from his own father’s death to get ready for the emotional scene between Daryl Dixon and Merle Dixon on Sunday’s episode “This Sorrowful Life.”

The Walking Dead is known for tearing at their fans’ heartstrings. Sunday’s episode “This Sorrowful Life” was no exception when Merle sacrificed himself to try and kill the Governor. Daryl seemed to be just minutes too late and walked onto the scene to find his brother in walker form.

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Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, reveals today that in order to prepare himself emotionally for the scene he thought back to the time when his own father died. Fan girls hearts can be heard breaking everywhere.

Reedus reveals to Entertainment Weekly that he started to prepare by listing to songs that remind him of his dad. “My dad passed away a long time ago and it was a big emotional scene when that happened,” He said. “I listened to a song that reminded me of my dad and sort of thought of that.”

“I just wanted to collapse on the inside”

Why would Reedus put himself through so much personal pain for the scene? He explains he felt like he owed it to Michael Rooker to give him the best exit scene he could. Reedus went on to say, “I just wanted to break. I just wanted to collapse on the inside and I wanted to go back to a little kid. I just wanted to be crushed in a way you see my heart break. I wanted to curl into a little ball and be a little kid right there.”


Reedus also understands why the scene was particularly emotional for fans of the Dixon brothers. The way he sees it, the brothers have been looking for each other since the first season and they finally got a chance to start a new life together.

“Daryl’s not the same guy he was back then. There are parts of Merle that are changing you can tell during that episode,” He said. “There’s this hope out there that things might get better and there’s a chance that we can be other people and take it to a different level and we can grow and maybe start a dialogue that wasn’t there in the beginning.”

“I would have liked to have known him.”

Again, Reedus was able to draw inspiration on this emotion from his own relationship with his father. “With my dad, there were a lot of things I didn’t know and a lot of questions I would have liked to have asked him. I would have liked to get to know him better. In some ways, it’s kind of like that relationship.” Reedus added, “Sort of like my dad, I didn’t get to ask him these questions. I didn’t get to know him on a level I would have liked to have known him. It’s similar.”

So what can we expect from Daryl now that he’s lost his only family member? According to Reedus, Daryl will experience a lot more rage and become more introverted. “I think it shuts him down a little bit more. I think it hardens him a little more. That rage is still there and I don’t think stabbing him over and over again is releasing that rage,” He said. “It’s just opening a new door. I would expect Daryl to become more introverted and be a more hardened person. He just grew up a lot right then.”

What did you think about Merle’s death on ‘The Walking Dead’?

Photo credit: AMC

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