Tonight, an all-new episode of the spinoff of the popular franchise, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon
, premieres on AMC and AMC Plus. The episode features the French performer Hugo Bardin as the drag queen, Coco, in the nightclub the Demimonde. Known professionally as Paloma, the performer is known for winning the debut season of Drag Race France
. Bardin recently spoke with SciFi Vision about his time on Daryl Dixon
, including how Norman Reedus actually asked for him to be on the series!
Read the full transcript below, and be sure to tune in to the episode, tonight on AMC and AMC Plus.
SCIFI VISION: So, how did you become involved in this? How did it happen?
It was a kind of surprise for me, because I knew the show, but I didn't watch every season of the show. And one day, Juliette Ménager, who is a very famous casting director in Paris, called me and told me I was precast and she wanted to see me speak in English, which is not something I do, as you can tell. [laughs]
She told me I was the only one for the character. There was nobody else on the part. And when I arrived on the set, Norman, he just jumped on me. He was like, “Wow, Paloma, I'm so happy to see you!” He want[ed] to take a selfie and hug me. I was like, “Okay, okay, he knows me; it's very strange.” And the screenwriter came in my dressing room, and I was like, “How is it possible?” And she told me Norman Reedus is a fan of Drag Race
. He has seen every season of every franchise in the world. He knows you very well and he asked the screenwriters to write a part for you. Just for you.
So, you said you watched the original show. What was it like then for you meeting him as you had kind of known him beforehand too?
I was very surprised, because when you watch The Walking Dead
, I imagine him as a very macho man, not so kind. He is the most human person in the world. Norman is just a lovely man, very openminded, very curious of everybody. He’s like the the opposite of Daryl Dixon, who is a very closed character, very dark, very mature. And Norman is an angel, really an angel and a pleasure to pleasure to work with. Everybody on the crew, on the set can [say] the same thing, because he speaks with everybody. He is curious of every part of the costume, the set design, the accessories, everything. He is curious [about] everything. He is like a child in a playground. He loves being on set.
Have you done acting in like a television show like this before? I mean, other than, you know, Drag Race, obviously, but was this kind of your first acting type thing?
Oh, no, no, I'm an actor. Before Drag Race
, I was playing as an actor. I have played in a lot of Parisian, French shows, in television, French television. But Daryl Dixon, and Walking Dead
is just the biggest thing I've made in my life in English. It's like, “Wow.” It's a huge, huge production for us in France. We don't have a productions like this with special effects, such a crew. It's a big thing.
Well, it must have been exciting then though, to get to be a part of that. What was your favorite part about filming the scenes?
Oh, it's the set. The set, it was incredible. The first day I was shocked by the design, because it's a reproduction of the Catacombs, which is a very special place in France…in Paris. We have a lot of skeletons, bones. It's quite strange, and they rebuilt the whole thing. And all the extras on the set [who] have been cast in Parisian scene, like drag show, cabaret, I was playing with my family, everybody on the show. I worked with them once or twice. So, it was really fun to do. And the set was amazing. The costumes, the music, everything.
Did you get to see the rest of the set, or just where you filmed the scene? I'm not sure if that [was on location or a sound stage].
I've seen some sets, but it's very - everything on Walking Dead
is very secret. I only had my scene to read. I don't know the rest of the scenario. I'm discovering the show with you, by watching it on my television. So, I have some little things, but not so much.
I was going to say I've probably seen more than you have. I know it wasn't a super long scene, but was there anything that was difficult about it at all for you filming?
It was a short time of shooting. It was so intense, you know, because there are a lot of characters on the on the set a lot of action at the same time. So, I was really focused to be good in my part, because I didn't want to disappoint. I forgot the question, sorry.
I was just asking if there was anything difficult particularly about filming that scene?
Did they give you any sort of backstory on the character at all?
Yes, a little bit, because she has a relationship with Queen in season one. [unintelligible] Some tips from the director Tim [Southam], [who] was an amazing, an amazing director, and he told me that the character is like the bitch of the [unintelligible]. She's more than that. She's like the spirit of Paris.
I usually ask the the other Walking Dead actors this. If you were in a zombie apocalypse, how do you think you would survive? Do you think you would survive?
I think Hugo will die really quickly. The [unintelligible] will kill everybody. I can tell you that. I'm Coco, the character. In drag, I will survive. Yes, because drag is like a superhero.