Norman Reedus knows he has the coolest job. He gets to ride motorcycles and kill zombies, as The Walking Dead’s fan favorite — Daryl Dixon. The motorcycle enthusiast has a no-BS style and is known for keeping things real, as in, fame hasn’t derailed him from being totally approachable, appreciative, reflective and just downright cool. That makes him the perfect guy for AMC’s newest series, Ride With Norman Reedus, which debuts Sunday, June 12 at 10/9c.
Each week Reedus will take viewers on a very personal journey via his bike, exploring a different city with a different guest (actors, musicians, friends or local chopper fanatics). In very real and down-to-earth conversations, they share life stories and passions for riding and exploring.
“You do your best thinking when you’re riding, and that turns into open conversation and honest conversation,” Reedus tells us. “You end up in these conversations with people that you know, or you think you know, and by the end of it you know each other really, really well. You have these experiences with them and you have a conversation like you would have with your bartender or your therapist or a family member. It’s super interesting.”
Nothing’s scripted; in fact, even their road map is pretty loose.
“Across America there are many good options for motorcycles, such beautiful scenery and such a different culture in different areas of the country,” Reedus says of mapping out episodes. “It’s basically word of mouth, a lot of it, because you hear from other bikers what are good routes in this part of the country. You research it and you explore it. We could have done 50 episodes the first [season] on just America alone.”
As for his riding partners, Reedus spends about a week with them. “You meet up before you go on a ride. You talk about the ride, things you want to accomplish,” Reedus explains. “You meet up with the director and the producers and the showrunner and you put together a format. You basically put together a loose format, as loose as you can make it and then you do it. You see us do it live. It turns into a lot of fun. It turns into an exploration and that turns into a lot of honest, real talk. It turns into some wild, insane moments, as well, because it’s all real.”
And the format of the show works because Reedus is the real deal — he’s devoid of that celebrity ego and is way too cool to pander to his guests. He’s genuinely interested in learning about his fellow riders, the destination, the bikes and the fans he meets along the way (where these encounters range from humorous to inspirational to emotionally moving).
“The freedom of being on a motorcycle is kind of the same freedom I’ve discovered with surfing. I’ve gotten into surfing lately and it’s kind of the same thing. It’s you and the open road — wide, open and free. It makes for good conversation,” Reedus concludes. “It makes for good visuals. It makes for a fun time. Hopefully, the people watching will feel that along with us.”
In the premiere episode, “California: Pacific Coast Highway” on Sunday, June 12 at 10pmET, Reedus rides with the stunning Imogen Lehtonen (pictured above). The London-born, New Zealand-raised silversmith runs the Los Angeles store of The Great Frog. The acclaimed family-owned business is credited for creating the skull ring. Every piece of their jewelry is hand-carved, and their client list is a who’s who of rock legends and celebrities. Seeing the more playful side of Reedus is enjoyable, whether it’s just taking in the open road riding and conversation or him hanging with the Motorcycles & Misfits group or silly talk on that “hot ring in my cleavage.” You don’t have to be a gearhead to enjoy the conversation and soulful journey he takes you on.