Turns Out Norman Reedus’ Filthy Look In The Bikeriders Was Specifically Related To The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon

When you think about Norman Reedus, the first show that likely pops into your head is The Walking Dead. The actor has been playing Daryl Dixon within that franchise since 2010, and he’s still going strong as the character in the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. So, it makes sense that when he takes roles in other projects, he wants to look totally different. Recently, we learned about how that came into play in his film on the 2024 movie schedule, The Bikeriders, and why his legendary character impacted his filthy look in Jeff Nichols’ film.

The Bikeriders director, Jeff Nichols, noted that Reedus very specifically asked to not look like his Walking Dead character when they were creating the look for Funny Sonny, which makes sense. The director went on to elaborate on how they came up with Reedus’ filthy look, telling Variety:

He just didn’t want to look like Daryl Dixon. The teeth were his idea and then we went with the hair and beard. His character felt like he could be a catch-all for every crazy frickin’ idea we had and Norman was up for it.

In this movie, Reedus really looks nothing like himself. While he’s still rocking the long hair he’s had for years, he also has a shaggy beard and rotted teeth that almost make him unrecognizable – as you can catch a glimpse of in The Bikeriders trailer. This look also totally disconnects him from Daryl, as you can see when you compare his look in his latest outing as his TWD character and his transformation in Nichols’ drama:

From left to right: Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon and Norman Reedus as Funny Sonny in The Bikeriders.

(Image credit: AMC+ and Kyle Kaplan/Focus Features)

We’ve seen actors make decisions about their looks like this before to curb typecasting and association with other parts. For example, Daniel Radcliffe told Wired that he’s very involved when it comes to picking glasses for roles because he wants to make sure they aren’t too round and Harry Potter-like.

The job of an actor is to transform into a character, not bring us the same look and vibe every single time. Reedus wanted to make sure that happened with his Bikeriders role, and I’m happy he did, because if he didn’t look so rugged, my first thought would be about Daryl.

Plus, he’s still playing Daryl Dixon. Following The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’s renewal last year, it will premiere Season 2 on the 2024 TV schedule on Sunday, September 29. So, I get why the actor wanted to totally change up his look for this movie.

When it comes to The Bikeriders, critics have been impressed by the “intoxicating atmosphere” and transformative performances, which just from the photos, you can see that Norman Reedus contributes to that with his wild look.

To see Norman Reedus in The Bikeriders, you can catch it in theaters now. To see him back looking like himself and Daryl Dixon, you can catch the second season of The Walking Dead spinoff this fall on AMC+.

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