'The Walking Dead' star Norman Reedus almost didn't get cast -- here's how being persistent got him a lead role

The walking dead norman reedusFrank Ockenfels 3/AMCSome believe Norman Reedus auditioned for the part of Merle Dixon.

Norman Reedus is a good example of how persistence can be rewarded.

The actor, who is now the poster boy for AMC’s hit zombie show “The Walking Dead,” almost missed his chance to join the show, according to a new interview with Reedus in Details magazine.

Back in 2010, Reedus got his hands on the pilot script for the show and became obsessed. There was a problem, though. The show had already wrapped casting on its characters.

 “I was like, ‘Just get me in the room. I’ll go in and do a guest spot,’ ” the 46-year-old actor remembered.


Reedus got in and was asked to read for the misogynistic and racist Southern redneck, Merle Dixon, on two different calls. According to the magazine, this may be why some believe he was actually auditioning for Merle.

But, really, executive producer Frank Darabont had another plan. He was so impressed with Reedus that her created a new character: Merle’s younger brother Daryl. He would also give Reedus the opportunity to shape the character.

“In Season 1, it was ‘Here’s some clay, mould it into something,'” Reedus said.

“The Walking Dead” returns for its sixth season Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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