Last week we brought you an exclusive photo from season 5 of The Walking Dead that showed Daryl Dixon gagged and bound. No doubt that sent shivers down the spines among fans of Dixon and the man who plays him, Norman Reedus. Of course, as a fan favorite, Daryl would seem to be the last person the show would ever dream of killing off. However, Reedus did actually think his number was being called near the end of season 4 when Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman…well, called his number.
“When we were just about to wrap up last season, Kirkman called me,” explains Reedus. “And he said, ‘Hey, I really want to talk to you. Can you call me back?’ I was like, ‘Okay, I’m getting the call. I’m gonna die on the show.’” But Kirkman wasn’t calling to fire Reedus, he was calling to hire him for another project he was producing: “He said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this movie, I want you to be a part of it.’”
That movie is AIR, which is directed by Christian Cantamessa and will be released in spring 2015. It features Reedus and Djimon Hounsou as workers whose job is to maintain an underground bunker facility filled with humans in sleeping tanks after the air outside has become toxic and unlivable. (You can see an exclusive photo from the movie here along with bonus intel from Reedus.)
The actor relished the opportunity to reteam with his Walking Dead buddies. “It’s nice already knowing Robert,” says Reedus. “He only deals with quality material and he and [exec producer] Dave Alpert are real sticklers for good stories and so forth, so I assumed it would be good. He sent me the script and I really liked it. It’s nice to know the people in your family before you get there so it definitely made it a more comfortable transition. It does give you a level of comfort knowing the producers before you start.” Especially when they haven’t just killed you off from your day job.
For more ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Air’ intel, check out Entertainment Weekly’s Comic-Con preview package, on stands now. Also, follow Dalton on Twitter: Follow @DaltonRoss