INT: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
I can't claim I've never seen GREY'S ANATOMY, because I have a wife and so you'd know I was lying. I can tell you I'd never seen any episodes featuring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is taking on a role about as far from sappy bedridden patient as you can get - The Comedian.
I'm sure GA fans will be shocked as they watch the casual brutality that Morgan commits in the role, but I've no doubt he's going to make it work. Why? Because the barely contained glee he evidenced while taking a few minutes to chat with us web folk in the middle of Dr. Manhattan's lab made it absolutely clear that this dude relishes the chance to bring this bad boy to life. To increase your enjoyment of the following, imagine a deep gravelly voice and a slightly demonic grin during all of Morgan's responses.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
You're playing a character that covers a forty year span. How do you handle going from being a young guy in his 20's to a guy in his 60'? How much makeup?
It's a lot. My first week of filming was the first scene in the movie - the Comedian's death scene. Although the Comedian doesn't die. We're re-writing the script so the Comedian lives. Just kidding. That makeup was five and a half to six hours to do everyday. My first day at work I started at 2:30 in the morning to be on set at 9. So that was ... actually I'm more worried about being the 19 year-old. That's gonna be the tougher makeup job. But it looked great. The stuff I saw looks phenomenal. It's really amazing.
Can you talk about the extended fight scene at the beginning?
We shot it for a week. It's extensive. I came up to Vancouver two months before we started filming to do the choreography for that fight. It's a lot more than is in the comic book obviously, with no reveal of who is throwing the Comedian out of the window. The way that Zack shot it, it's something to see. I just saw portions of it and it's good. Helluva way to open up a movie.
Were you familiar with the graphic novel?
I knew of it. I had read parts of it, but never the whole thing. Obviously before I met with Zack I read the whole thing, and now I've probably read it 20 times. My dad had never heard of it, and he's a huge fan of the genre. He's now read it about 300 times. So when I have any questions about it I call him up and he'll clue me in on what's happening. You guys know, every time you read it you see something different. Something new catches your eye. It's an amazing piece of work.
I go online, and I've never done this before when I'm involved in a project, but the way that people talk about this it literally is the holy grail of graphic novels. And people are so concerned about what Zack and Warner Bros. are doing with the movie. I will say this. Fans of Watchmen are not going to be disappointed. We are not going to make Alan Moore and his brilliant work look bad.
You guys know. You went and some some of the stuff today. It's like seeing this (gestures to lab). Fuck! Who did this?! The detail is insane and Zack's a mad scientist the way he's bringing it all together.
Can you talk about your approach to the Comedian character?
On first glance he's just a really unlikable guy, but you don't hate him. The tricky part for me, it's kind of a work in progress, the nuances and how to make him, not sympathetic, but you don't hate him. Even when he
shoots the pregnant woman in Vietnam in the face.
You might go, that's a little bit too much Mr. Comedian, but at the same time you never end up hating the Comedian. So it's a fine line. Like I said, at first glance I just thought this guy's horrible. No morals whatsoever. But at the same time he's a superhero and he's out there trying to do good.
I think everyday we find another layer than I didn't think of the day before. I think when it's all said and done, hopefully you won't hate the Comedian. I think he's the most interesting character. But I'm sure every actor you talk to thinks their character is the coolest in the movie.
How did being in the costume for the first time change your feeling for the character.
You are ready to kick someone's ass I'll tell ya that. I've been doing costume fittings for about three months. And yesterday we did it all for real. We had a camera test yesterday and it is the comic book come to life. It is crazy cool. Now mind you on top of the makeup, getting into the costume takes 3 and a half hours. But it's something. The first time I saw myself in the mirror I kinda got the giggles. I was like - Oh my God. There's no resemblance to me at all. That's it. I'm the Comedian. I'm Edward Blake.
We only see bits and pieces of your character through this 40 year span. Is that a challenge when trying to create a full character arc?
Yeah, of course it is, but what helps so much is the makeup process. Being able to look in the mirror and see how long my sideburns are, or how many wrinkles I have. I'll put some music on my IPod from 1960 and start feeling that vibe. And everybody's so good in each department that by the time I walk onto a set, I'm feeling however old I need to be. And believe me when I'm playing 69 I felt like I was 69. That was a long first week. I felt every ache and pain in my body like I'm 70 years old.
The Comedian gets killed because he stumbles on THE PLAN, so he's kind of the counterpoint to Adrian (Veidt). Adrian is the guy who seems to be the nice guy but actually has this plan. You're the guy who's kind of a scumbag but wants to stop this horrible event. One of the great things about Watchmen is that you can argue both sides. Which side do you, as a person, come down on?
Being The Comedian, I'm going with his side. Any character you do, especially something like Watchmen, if you're going to do it right, I'm fighting for The Comedian every step of the way. There's no question Adrian is a scumbag. That's how I approach it. I can't see both sides. I have to be the Comedian. And I am at this point. I don't like Matthew Goode. [laughs...sort of]
I guess you just have to go...the scope of this is so frigging amazing. I mean who ever expects to be a toy. I don't know. I haven't seen one yet. When I do I'll probably get the giggles and be very excited and sleep with the damn thing.
We saw them.
You guys have seen the toys? God. Where...I want to see one. I'm excited. All this stuff, the possibilities of video games and toys...it's just huge, man. I've never even been near anything like this. It's just a monstrosity. And you don't realize how big it is until you sit down and talk with you guys, or you go on the internet and see the passion that people have for this thing. I've never seen anything like it. Which is why we're staying so true to (the book). I can hardly wait for people to see it, because I know it's not going to disappoint.
That said, knowing how big the fanbase is out there, is it intimidating for you to come into this universe with so much responsibility on your shoulders?
It's a little bit. I had no idea coming originally how big and important it is to so many people. And I think as we get closer to the count down of this thing coming out...right now we're so involved in the making of it that we've blocked out as much as we can. I'm kind of ashamed of myself for looking at the internet because it sort of freaks me out. It is a little bit intimidating.
Because you want everyone to be happy. The thing is I know in my gut everyone's going to be exceedingly happy. But you don't need to have any doubts (while you're shooting). So no one's going to be disappointed, but I've never seen any group of people so passionate about a project ever. It is intimidating. I'm not gonna lie. The Comedian's not intimidated. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's a little intimidated.
Does the challenging schedule you have give you an edge in the ensemble scenes since you're kind of an outsider?
Yeah, that's actually not bad for me not hanging out with everybody all the time. Because as much as I like everybody, at the same time as an actor it's kind of...there's a certain dynamic if I'm not hanging out with these guys 24/7 that will bring something a little bit different to the set. I don't want to be friendly with anybody in the course of these scenes. Obviously The Comedian's not very friendly to anybody. 'Cept for maybe Laurie.
So yeah, we just haven't spent a lot of time together. We did at the beginning. We had dinner a lot while we were training. But now it's more like you see somebody as you're coming in at 4 in the morning. It's sort of crazy like that. It's gonna be cool though. It's gonna be really cool.
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