Veteran actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan has already played some crucial parts in various projects, but could his turn as Negan on ‘The Walking Dead’ prove to be his most iconic? Quite possibly! Fans have gone wild over the casting of the man who played the sadistic Comedian in ‘The Watchman’ embodying the biggest villain in the comic book series that inspired the hit TV series.
Negan is notorious for murdering one of the comic series’ most beloved characters and for his profanity-laced dialogue. The leader of the group known as The Saviors doles out his own brand of justice using hot irons and his trusted barb wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille, of which Morgan says “She is gorgeous. She is a beautiful girl.”
The versatile actor is enthusiastic about taking on this major villain role, and while he insists the TV version will be “as close as humanly possible” to the violent, foul-mouthed comic book version, he won’t spill on whether his first encounter with Rick’s crew– including actor Steven Yeun– will go according to the comic book.
“I met everybody. I got a chance to say hello to everybody down there. That being said, I don’t know what’s going to happen yet. [Laughs]”
He is digging into the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ including the comics to prepare for taking on the role when the show returns in the fall.
“Negan is special in a lot of ways and the more kind of digging I do into Negan, the more excited I get. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been this giddy about doing a role. I think what’s there in the comic books and the graphic novels is this foundation of this man and the complexities of who he is. Every time I look at the graphic novel — which in the past few weeks next to my bedside I’ve just had stacks of Walking Dead stuff; and so when I’m not memorizing my Good Wife lines and trying to figure that out I’ll just grab one of these things and look at it — and I will read and reread and see something different in it each time. Kind of the excitement level of bringing this guy to life is at such a peak right now, I don’t know how I’m going to survive till April [when the show goes back into production].”
And what about the language barrier– or rather, the fact that ‘The Walking Dead’ airs on basic cable? True, it airs at a later time, allowing for a bit more flexibility when it comes to language and violence. Even so, there’s no way Negan, who practically uses the f-word every other syllable can slide right off the page onto the TV screen.
Morgan assured fans:
“Look, it’s a speed bump. I’m not going to say it’s an issue because they’re working on it. We’re going to push AMC — the plan is to push them as far as they can because it’s who Negan is. He uses some colorful language. And I use some colorful language. And reading the comic, it’s important. So we’ll see where that lands. It’s our intention that this character is going to leap off the pages of the comic book. It’s very important that that’s who it is. Some of the characters there’s much more leeway, but Negan is a guy that you want to keep as true as possible, and that would be how I want to play him as well.”
Negan’s entrance onto the show has already been set up, as Daryl encountered Dwight, a character that starts out as one of Negan’s closest allies in the comics. The same episode also featured another Savior (although the name hasn’t been used on the show yet) whose face was obscured, most likely because his face was burned by an iron. And of course, the mid-season finale was capped by a bonus scene in which Abraham, Daryl and Sasha confront a group of Saviors.
Morgan’s casting has been met with nearly universal positive reaction. What do you think? Will he make a great Negan? How closely do you think the show will adhere to the comics when it comes to the character’s salty language?
Source: Entertainment Weekly