Norman Reedus “Cry Smiled” in Final ‘Walking Dead’ Scenes With Andrew Lincoln

Kim Taylor-Foster
The Walking Dead Comic-Con
The Walking Dead Comic-Con Sci-Fi

Norman Reedus opened up about Andrew Lincoln’s departure from the hugely successful zombie series, The Walking Dead, after almost nine seasons. Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon in the series, admitted that he was sad at the prospect of not working with the actor, who plays the main protagonist Rick Grimes on the show, again.

Andy is my best friend so I’m just going to leave it there. I’ll get deeper into that later,” he said.

Reedus joined Andrew Lincoln at a San Diego Comic-Con press conference with fellow stars Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as well as new showrunner Angela Kang, outgoing showrunner Scott Gimple, and executive producers Gale Ann Hurd and Greg Nicotero. Reedus then told the assembled international press, “I don’t like the fact that he likes to toilet paper my new car.”

John Wick of the Apocalypse

Lincoln jumped in to explain, “The thing is Norman has been doing some incredible acting and, on this particular day, he did amazing emotional acting. And then at one point, he said: ‘I smiled, and then cried through my smiling.’ I said, ‘What is that?’ He said, ‘It’s called a smile cry. It’s never been done before.’ I said, ‘Norman, this is an extraordinary, momentous event, it needs to be noted.”

At which point, Lincoln promptly paid a runner to wrap Norman’s car in toilet paper. “Because he cry smiled,” Lincoln explained. “A crile. It’s never been done before and may not be done since. It broke new ground.”

Later in the panel, a picture of the runner’s handiwork was shared and Lincoln filled the audience in on the details of the story.

“He was going on about this muscle car that was ‘so cool’ and he just wants to be the John Wick of the apocalypse. But he was going on about this thing, and he was driving that day and yeah, he was doing an emotional scene — and to be fair he was amazing — but then he pushed it a little bit too far and he said, ‘Did you see what I did? I did the smile cry.’ I said to him, ‘Norman, that doesn’t exist. There is no such thing in this world.'”

After paying the runner to do the toilet paper deed, he asked for photos. Then Lincoln sent a picture to Reedus and said, “This is what you get when you smile cry.” It’s the latest stunt in a long line of pranks between the pair.

The Greatest Love Cuddle

The mood turned less jovial when Lincoln was asked a question about how he braces himself for the fan response at an event like Comic-Con. He said, “I don’t want this to turn it either into an Oscar acceptance speech or an obituary. There is nothing but gratitude that I feel for this whole experience and love for this bunch of people on stage, and everywhere back in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s changed my life in a myriad of ways.

“I remember the first time I came to Comic-Con, which was nine years ago. My knees went when I heard the audience respond to the trailer. This is the belly of the beast, [that’s] one way [to] look at it, or it’s just the greatest love cuddle because it’s a direct reaction from the people who love the show just as much as you do.” 

Soul-Crushing Loss

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead
Rick Grimes has a goodness that shines through in Season 9.

Showrunner Angela Kang chimed in on how Andrew’s decision to leave has affected the trajectory of the show, “I’ll say that Rick has a really cool story this season. I think Andy is doing such incredible work alongside this cast. We’re telling a story about where he’s at after the incredible, soul-crushing loss of his son, Carl, his really surprising decision to save Negan at the end of the war, and what are the after effects of that and how you build from that.”

She added, “I think you’ll really see Rick step up as a leader. You see him, just the incredible goodness that he has inside shining through as he’s really trying to deal with people who are philosophically in a different place sometimes. But it’s all out of love. These are people who love and care for each other deeply.

“And so we wanted to dive into the complexities of that, when you have people who are family to each other: how you work through differences of opinion about how you govern, or how you build for the future, how you continue on after something as traumatic as a war.”

Andrew Lincoln is reportedly set to leave the show midway through Season 9, which will see a time jump to a point where the group is attempting to rebuild after the All Out War of Season 8.

The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres on October 7.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.