PASADENA, Calif. - The Walking Dead found success first as a graphic novel and then as an AMC series. Despite all the attention and hype, there's still one major misconception among the uninformed.
"They think it's just a monster show," says Norman Reedus, who plays one of the walking living, Daryl Dixon. "It's not. It's about characters and about the interaction of people who would never hang out together and decisions made. We are lucky to have the zombies as a backdrop because it's pretty dynamic but the show is about so much more."
At its heart, the series is a survivalist story that looks at how people change when faced with the daily battle for survival. Some of those changes can be so dramatic that even the living can be walking dead at times.
It's easy to see why the show, which has new episodes starting Sunday, would get lumped into the monster category. The name alone suggests zombies. And the imagery from the series always features bloody creatures chasing down the last remaining humans.
Even Reedus didn't know how much the show would be a character study before he was cast. He only had a slight knowledge of the graphic comic series by Robert Kirkman, which focused on a handful of survivors of an apocalyptic event that has filled the world with zombies.
Reedus started reading the graphic novels after filming started, but once he started thinking of the characters as his fellow actors he stopped because he didn't want to know what was going to happen to them.
Having this source material is a big change from the many other sci-fi projects Reedus has worked on, such as Charmed to Pandorum. The actor, who fell in love with movies when he saw The Omen, has put together a lengthy list of sci-fi and fantasy roles. But that resume has upset someone very important to him.
"My mom is so funny. She says, 'Why don't you just do a nice little romantic comedy with Jennifer Love Hewitt.' I tell her that they don't put me in those things. I kill someone in every single thing I do," Reedus says.
The sci-fi and fantasy genre often deals with larger issues, and that's exactly what Walking Dead does -- something Reedus explains to those who have dismissed the show for being just a tale of horror. He says productions like The Walking Dead should make viewers think.
"I wonder how far I would go or if I would want to go far if something like this happened," Reedus says. "Is that a world you want to live in? These are all things we talk about on the show."