Growing up, Norman Reedus wanted to be Peter Fonda. In fact, if it weren’t for biker films like Easy Rider, Reedus may have never thrown his leg over a cycle. So it’s fitting that the season finale of his AMC series Ride With Norman Reedus features his all-time hero — Captain America rider Peter Fonda (Sunday, July 17 at 10pmET).
“Hanging out with one of your idols is a lot like when you realize your parents are people just like you are,” Reedus tells us. “It’s like a blind is lifted and you see them as they really are.”
Fonda, with over 100 movie credits to his name, is still as cool and as free-spirited as in his Easy Rider days. He had a home in Key West during the mid ’70s to early ’80s and is thrilled to be returning to the area on a bike. The two start their journey in Naples, Fla., and travel through the Everglades to Miami and then down to the southernmost point of the continental U.S. — mile marker 0 — Key West.
This isn’t the first time, however, that Reedus met his hero. “I first met Peter when I was in Los Angeles ages ago. He just happened to knock on my door because he was shooting a commercial out front,” Reedus shared with us, in an interview we did earlier this year. “I had an Easy Rider poster hanging up on my house and he knocks on my door. He says, ‘Can I use your phone? I can’t get reception up here.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, if you sign this poster.’ That’s how I first met him. Then later I did a movie with him, but he wrote on that poster. He wrote, ‘Ride hard, or stay at home.’ That quote pretty much sums up Peter. I think that quote’s designed for Peter and his life and you learn the truth behind that as you watch this episode unfold.”
And that’s the truth, Fonda is unfiltered and full of fascinating stories that span from free love to smoking opium-laced marijuana joints rolled by Tennessee Williams. Reedus at one point even suggests that Fonda tells the rest of a doing hash and driving at top speeds on Europe’s autobahn story when he’s not mic’d. It’s their honest conversation and genuine interest in one another and the people they meet along the way that makes this episode a must see.
“I learned a lot about him. He had a friend down there [in Florida] named Dink who used to be Ernest Hemingway’s right-hand man. We ended up meeting Dink and hearing stories about Peter’s past and how they first met, and Hemingway stories, which led into the Hemingway stories of Peter when he was a teenager in Spain running with the bulls,” Reedus recounted. “Peter’s stories go on forever, and every story’s more fascinating than the last one.”
And, fascinating they are. Tune in Sunday, July 17 at 10pmET for the season finale of Ride With Norman Reedus.