Sounding hoarser than usually and sipping on tea, "The Walking Dead" star wore sunglasses and talked enthusiastically about playing brother to buddy Aaron Paul, who -- along with some very corrupt cops -- is his partner in crime in this fast-paced, all-star heist drama from director John Hillcoat.
He also talked about the return of his AMC hit show and his new unscripted TV show, "Ride With Norman Reedus."
Moviefone: Aaron Paul plays your brother -- had the two of you met before?
Reedus: We've known each other for at least 15 years. When I first moved to L.A. -- I used to live here, ages ago -- he's one of the first people I knew. I've always been a fan of his work. One of the reasons I really wanted to get on "Walking Dead" was because it was on AMC, and I was a big "Breaking Bad" fan. So I've known him for a long time. There was already a love there, so we didn't have to fake that.
What are the Do's and Don'ts you learned about bank robbing?
Ha! Always have a back-up plan is a definite "Do." Don't open a bag full of money with a red-dye explosive in it. That's definitely a "Don't."
But it made for a great scene when the bag explodes on the freeway.
It looked cool. Luckily, I wasn't in that van when that scene was going on, because that was gross.
This is such a great cast -- was there anyone you wished you had a scene with?
Kate, definitely. Our children went to the same grade school in New York, so I'd see her in the morning sometimes. We'd both have sunglasses on and just doing that morning thing where you're just shoving your kids in the car, right? I'm friends with her to a certain extent, but I would love to work with her. She's such a badass.
You're kind of a badass, too, in this. Did you do any Special Forces training?
[My character] was Blackwater, so I did a lot of research on that. I have a cousin who's in Blackwater, so I got some inside scoop there. A lot of my role in this is sort of like the navigator or the puppet master on these heists, so John really stressed that I have a very calm demeanor about me – somebody that could f*** you up, but also somebody that, when things went down, he was very calm. [The director] gave us a buttload of homework. Films to watch and articles to read and photographs to go over and stories to listen to, all the things that you would think. He'd give us a Dropbox full and you'd get through all that and the next day it would be full again! I never had a director give you so much homework. It was great, though.
What kind of films?
Some heist movies, but mostly a lot of clips, like raids and mafia gang stories and this horrific shit. Just horrible, horrible stuff. Just to know the world that you're in. And a lot of military stuff, too -- Blackwater operations and a ton of it.
Between this and "The Walking Dead," do you have a tactical mindset when you walk into a room, like where the exits and danger zones are?
I started thinking about that in New York when I was walking around after doing "The Walking Dead." I'd be like, "Okay, there's four people coming at me on the sidewalk right here. I see that guy's camera phone coming out, so I'm going to have to bypass that." I did kind of start doing that just for fun. It's kinda like when you play that game Tetris, everything becomes Tetris. I look at the downtown skyline and think, "I can fit this guy in here."
"Walking Dead" doesn't seem to give you much time to make movies. This was set in Atlanta, so that probably made it a lot easier.
It's almost impossible. I think I got offered three movies at the beginning of this season and couldn't do any of them. Even when they came back to me and offered me smaller parts, I still couldn't do them. I'm on a show that's a 24/7 thing. But because this is in Atlanta, it kind of worked out for me. And then on the hiatus, I'm doing another show, "Ride [With Norman Reedus]." That's why my throat's all messed up. I've been in Death Valley on dirt bikes, just swallowing sand for the last five days. But it's awesome. I've done Florida, California Coast, Georgia Hills. I'm about to go do Texas and Louisiana. And then Vegas through Death Valley.
Who's joining you on some of these rides?
Different guests. ["Easy Rider" star] Peter Fonda was in Florida, that was kind of awesome. Just different guys. I'm not supposed to say. The Peter Fonda bit was all over the Internet so I guess I can say that one.
What will you do when "The Walking Dead" ends?
I'll do more "Ride." And I'll do some more movies. And then I'll be back here, talking to you about doing something else. And then, hopefully, I'll be going back to Georgia in May. Hopefully we just keep this ball rolling for a minute, you know?
"Triple 9" opens February 26.