Q: “Chupacabra” is a pretty intense episode.
A: It’s like Deliverance meets Motorhead.
Q: In this episode, Daryl has a necklace of ears. Were you pleased with the necklace?
A: It’s a necklace of ears, man! Cutting off the ears is just Daryl getting angry and doing what he has to do to save himself. I love that he’s still like that.
Q: Last year you told us your challenge was to make a racist likeable. Now your character is a fan favorite. Have you enjoyed the switch?
A: I’ve tried to make him more of a multi-layered character — someone who can tear up and then try to knife you. He’s kind of like this wet little coyote that doesn’t know where he’s at and people are trying to reach over and pet him and he snaps back.
Q: Last year you told us you had never used a crossbow before. You must be pretty comfortable with the thing by now?
A: [Laughs] I’m pretty well-versed in crossbow-ness by now, but I’m still figuring out new ways to use it all the time. These days I can flip it around my back or use it to prop a shotgun up. I’ve gotten good at running and shooting it, too. My latest accomplishment is that I can jump on a horse and hook the reins onto the horn of the saddle and flip it over my back and load and fire it while riding. You can’t not look cool with a crossbow.
Q: The zombie actors must cringe when they have a scene with you.
A: You have to dry fire on set — and it’s with another wimpy crossbow, with the tension let out. If it’s a close range zombie kill, like that episode where I roll over on my back and shoot a zombie who’s on top of me, it’s with that Nerf-like crossbow.
Q: Daryl is a survivalist and outdoors type of guy. Are you like that?
A: [Laughs] I’ve been camping and stuff, but if you left me in the woods I’d probably just curl up and cry until someone found me. I have to say living in Georgia while shooting The Walking Dead — I love the country. I’ve been riding my motorcycle in my time off, not seeing anyone for hours. I love it here.
Q: Have you stumbled upon any hidden secrets in your travels around Georgia?
A: I also have an old truck — a 1979 Ford F150 that has big wheels on it — and what I’ve found out is that if you ride in the country in a truck, the other truck drivers wave to you. I love the politeness down here.
Q: Did you give Laurie Holden a hard time because her character shoots Daryl?
A: Yeah we had a big laugh about that. I was like “Laurie, I can’t believe you did that!” She was like, “I was really sad, I swear!” She’s become a good friend of mine. We’ve all become really tight on the show.