Wild Start to Career ; Tront Sun Interview, May 7,2002
NEW YORK -- Norman Reedus got drunk at a Hollywood party a few years ago. The rest is history.
"I became obnoxiously drunk, and started screaming, up on the second level in a room full of Hollywood big wigs. I was just, just drunk. And a girl came up to me and said, 'Ever thought of being an actor?' and I was like, get away."
But the girl was attractive. "So we all went to this place for pizza, and on a dare I went and met a lady directing a play at the Tiffany Theatre on Sunset. I got the play. I got an agent. She started sending me on auditions.
"I got Mimic right away."
Indeed he did. Reedus, currently the villain in Deuces Wild, a gang tale set in the '50s that opened Friday, also stars in Blade II and has a raft of other movies to his credit, including Gossip, The Beat, Boondock Saints, 8MM, I'm Losing You, Dark Harbor and Preston Tylk.
A movie called Six Ways To Sunday opened another chapter in his career -- publicity stills from the film caught Muccia Prada's eye and Reedus became part of an ad campaign that had already featured John Malkovich, Tim Roth, Willem Dafoe, and Joaquin Phoenix. The Prada campaign was bigger than any of the movies he'd appeared in.
"All of sudden I was going in for movies and the casting ladies were saying (he adopts a coy voice) 'Is that a Prada sweater you're wearing?' and all of a sudden I was the Prada model. Which was cool, because before that I had the one suit that me and my six friends shared."
Will he continue being a model?
He laughs. "I'm not very good at it. I don't really have the patience. I'm short and I like beer. I don't like people touching my face. I don't like posing. The thing with acting is you try to ignore the camera. With photography, you have to work the camera. I'm not good at the latter."
Reedus, 32, was born in Florida and grew up mostly in North California. He says his father is a motivational speaker and his mother sells coffins. Despite the successful acting career, Reedus is actually -- who knew? -- an artist, and always has been.
During his early days in Los Angeles, "I did some shows as a painter and sculptor. I worked at Dr. Carl's Hog Hospital in Venice, working on Harleys. I was skimming the surface, just barely getting by."
His last art show was in Beverly Hills. His last series of paintings was all about what he calls his "obsession with babies." He himself has a boy of two named Mingus, whose mommy is model/photographer Helena Christensen, who has been with Reedus for about four years. They will likely marry this year.
On the acting side, Reedus is next shooting Octane, which he describes as a psychological thriller, in Luxembourg.
"I play the father in a family of young runaways, who basically hitchhike, then cause the car to crash, and then do a bunch of bad things. It's weird," he says, laughing.
He also just finished making a film in China.
So if he'd never got drunk at that Hollywood party?
"I just wanted to make a quiet life for myself as a painter. I was really into it. I was starting to make a name for myself.
"My ultimate goal was to move to Montauk and live in some spooky house with a bunch of cats. And just paint."