'The Walking Dead' star Lynn Collins says Norman Reedus warned her about 'passionate' fans after joining the show

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Lynn Collins tells Insider that Norman Reedus told her to "protect herself" against the "passionate" fanbase of "The Walking Dead."Jace Downs/AMC
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  • Lynn Collins played Daryl Dixon's first love interest on "The Walking Dead."

  • Insider asked if Collins was glad to have played Daryl's first love or if it was more trouble than it was worth.

  • She said she learned she needed to refrain from social media in order to do her best work.

"The Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus had some sage words of advice for Lynn Collins when she joined AMC's apocalyptic drama: Don't engage with fans on social media.

"I learned from the get-go that I could not engage with anything that I would say that would be less than positive," Collins told Insider recently while discussing the show's mid-season finale in which her character was killed.

"Norman had said that, too. He was like, just be careful of what you watch, what you look at, because they're really passionate. So protect yourself. Just be careful," Collins added.

Collins probably needed that advice more than most other people who joined "TWD."

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Leah and Daryl on season 10, episode 18 of "The Walking Dead."AMC

When joining the series in the fall of 2020, Collins learned she was about to shake up the fandom as Daryl's first love interest, Leah.

Giving Daryl a romance on the series after a decade was a controversial decision, especially since Reedus previously told Insider that some fans have sent him fan mail in the past thanking him for playing an asexual character despite the show never confirming Daryl's sexuality.

Additionally, for years, "TWD" has dangled whether or not Daryl may wind up with his good friend Carol (Melissa McBride) or be paired off with Connie (Lauren Ridloff), who joined the series on season nine. Factions of "TWD" fandom are very vocal in voicing their support for either Caryl (Carol and Daryl) or Donnie (Connie and Daryl).

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For years, many fans were split over whether or not Daryl would wind up with Carol or Connie. They weren't expecting another woman to enter the equation.Eli Ade/AMC, Josh Stringer/AMC

So it was a huge surprise when "TWD" seemingly dismissed both groups of fans to pair Daryl with a new woman on season 10. For some fans, it felt like a betrayal of everything that had come before it.

In a March 2021 appearance on Skybound's "Talk Dead To Me" podcast, Collins said she didn't realize "how intense" fan reactions would be.

Collins was also criticized on social media for a Twitch interview in which fans were offended by Collins' suggestion that Carol was more of a "mother figure" and "older sister" to Daryl as opposed to a romantic love interest.

When Insider asked Collins if she was glad to have played Daryl's first love interest on the series or if it was more trouble than it was worth, the actress said she refrained from engaging on social media so she could focus on giving the best performance she could.

"I have to be honest, after season 10, I realized, 'Oh, it's not really my business what critics or fans ... That's their thing. I just have to do the work," Collins said of playing Leah and online criticism. "I just have to facilitate the writing that I'm given and help the story be told. I can't get emotionally involved with naysayers, so to speak, because then I'm not gonna be able to do my best work. I'll be insecure."

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Lynn Collins before Leah's death on "TWD" season 11, episode 16.Jace Downs/AMC

"It could have affected my choices as an actor," Collins added. "If it's about being liked, well, you basically give up most of your creativity because if you're worrying about the character being liked or not, you're gonna be holding back on choices that could actually serve the story and heighten that story to a next level."

Collins, who came onto "TWD" as a fan, said she was "really happy" with her time on the series. The only complaint she had wasn't with any negative fan reactions, but with wishing she was able to have scenes with McBride.

"My heart goes out to the fans of this show who feel like they're really losing a huge part of their life when this show ends," Collins said of the series ending later this year in its 11th season.

"I'm so grateful to have been a part of it. There's more to come. There's tons of spinoffs. So it's not really the end," she added.

You can read our full conversation with Collins here.

Read the original article on Insider