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AMC’s highly acclaimed zombie thriller The Walking Dead returns this month for a second season. And lest you think that starring on such a spooky show would require a thick skin and ironclad resolve, Norman Reedus , who plays the quick-tempered Daryl Dixon, shares with American Way three things that really scare him.

Deer. “Shooting in the outskirts of Atlanta, I’m always afraid I’m going to run smack-dab into one of these massive deer,” says the New Yorker, who wheels around town on a motorcycle. “You don’t see them coming, so they’re almost unavoidable. Some of the other cast and crew members have had run-ins.”

Zombies. “You see the zombies on set, and one’s walking by with a doughnut in his mouth, so you’re like, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ But when we start shooting, they come to life and it’s actually kind of creepy,” he says. “OK, so I’m not really scared of the zombies. But there is a scary element to being with them in a scene when the fight-or-flight response kicks in and you go into survival mode.”

Being misunderstood. “I think I have one of those faces that automatically rubs people the wrong way or makes them feel like I might steal their wallet,” he jokes. “It’s like, ‘Why are you so upset? That’s just the way my face is.’ So I’m always misunderstood. I just want to make myself clear, and it’s always such a struggle.”