Norman Reedus says The Walking Dead episode 907, helmed by first-time director and former Sergeant Abraham Ford star Michael Cudlitz, is big for Daryl — and he couldn't be happier the episode was steered by a member of the pack.
"It was great, and you know that episode was a big Daryl episode," Reedus told Skybound. "It was nice being directed by someone from our group, you know? When you're in the field with someone who has become your brother there's a shared shorthand and you get it, you know it, what's corny and what's not."
Reedus said Cudlitz "jumped into a really hard episode to direct."
"And it was a lot of different directions going," he added. "It was one of those episodes you read it and you're like oh, we need four weeks to shoot it. But that guy, he came in and did so much homework. He did more prep than a lot of the directors, to be honest. He came ready to play."
The episode, 'Stradivarius,' will be among the first to come after Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln and Maggie Rhee actress Lauren Cohan have both left the series — at least for now — as both are expected to be gone by episodes 905 and 906, respectively.
Reedus praised the actor-director for being receptive to last-minute changes, which came when the episode was already deep into pre-production.
"There was a storyline involving me that I wanted to change a little bit, which involved changing the entire art department, which was already in pre-production," Reedus said.
"And I talked to [showrunner] Angela [Kang] and I talked to Michael and I kind of fought my case and they said yeah, let's do that! I added a lot of homework to his evening, but he came in and he killed it. To have an actor direct you is kind of great, because they're very actor-focused. Like sometimes you get an editor or something and they shoot shots because they can edit it in their head, but we made a movie. It was great."
Cudlitz is the first Walking Dead star to direct an episode of the series. Colman Domingo, a longtime star of spinoff Fear The Walking Dead, made his own directorial debut on that series just weeks ago.
Despite his oft-talked about looming exit, Lincoln said in recent days he will be returning to the set of The Walking Dead Season Nine to shadow a director and make his first behind-the-camera effort on The Walking Dead as director in Season Ten.
Season Nine launches Sunday, October 7 on AMC.