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Jeffrey Dean Morgan on keeping The Walking Dead's Negan close to the comics

12.08.2015

One of the biggest and baddest villains from Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" will be making his debut at the close of The Walking Dead's sixth season and it's something that fans have been both looking forward to and dreading for quite some time. Negan, the leader of a group of survivors called the Saviors, will be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and the actor spoke with Entertainment Weekly about his enthusiasm for the role.

I’m really f—ing excited. I was familiar. I watched the show, one. But two, I’ve always had a foot in the comic book world. I grew up with my uncle’s comic books at my grandma’s house, so I’ve always loved my comic book reading. And then that took on a whole new level when I did Watchmen. I go to Comic-Con every year, generally with some project of some sort.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan on getting the gig:

So a couple of years ago people started saying, “Hey, man, you should be Negan in The Walking Dead.” So I started reading the comic books just because I’m a fan and I love what Kirkman is doing and so I was very aware of Negan and had read quite a bit of the comic books. So my agent and manager were on the phone and said, “The Walking Dead have offered you this thing,” but they didn’t have any information. They didn’t know the character’s name. It was all a big secret. And they sort of got halfway through the sentence saying “We don’t know the character’s name, he’s the new big bad…” and I knew immediately who they were talking about. They just got halfway through and I knew immediately who it was. It was no question. I was like, “Absolutely. We’re going to f—ing do it!” And that was it. And literally a week later I was in Atlanta talking with the cast and hanging out.

Although The Walking Dead is able to get away with quite a lot in terms of violence, Negan is known for his tendency to let the expletives fly as frequently as possible. Jeffrey Dean Morgan says that his portrayal of Negan "is going to be as close as humanly possible," but that the foul language has caused a bit of a speed bump.

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 weapon of choice is a baseball bat covered in barb-wire called Lucille, which Jeffrey Dean Morgan describes as "gorgeous" and "a beautiful girl." When asked whether he had been practicing his swing in preparation for the role, Morgan said "I don’t need to practice my swing. I grew up with a bat in my hands." That's our Negan! The second half of The Walking Dead will kick off next February.

Source: EW

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3:33PM on 12/09/2015
Got to agree with The_Soloist...I do hope he takes that bat to the head of many of the pointless characters this show has introduced...either to kill them or to beat some sense in to them. As cool as ninja Morgan's return was...please have him at the front of the line. Who knows...may be he'll be Glenn's substitute - it would probably be a blessing for the show. He went from killing everyone mental to not killing everyone mental - either one is a danger to have around.
Got to agree with The_Soloist...I do hope he takes that bat to the head of many of the pointless characters this show has introduced...either to kill them or to beat some sense in to them. As cool as ninja Morgan's return was...please have him at the front of the line. Who knows...may be he'll be Glenn's substitute - it would probably be a blessing for the show. He went from killing everyone mental to not killing everyone mental - either one is a danger to have around.
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9:10AM on 12/09/2015
Perfect casting in my opinion, but him saying on keeping Negan close to the comics. Great, thats all well and good, but it depends on what the writers get him to say and do. If the writing team screws his character up, it'll be a massive miss.
Perfect casting in my opinion, but him saying on keeping Negan close to the comics. Great, thats all well and good, but it depends on what the writers get him to say and do. If the writing team screws his character up, it'll be a massive miss.
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7:39PM on 12/09/2015
My thoughts exactly. Let him keep his balls. From the sound of it, it seems to be the objective to stay as faithful as possible. Let's hope.
My thoughts exactly. Let him keep his balls. From the sound of it, it seems to be the objective to stay as faithful as possible. Let's hope.
8:37AM on 12/09/2015
I can't wait to see his portrayal. There were casting suggestions floating around for months, and I can't remember ever seeing his name on anyone's wish list for Negan. But when they made the announcement, I was instantly intrigued. And after reading his comments, particularly that he's read the comics and knows of Negan before he was ever considered for the role - it makes me excited to see his portrayal at the close of the season next year. I only hope the character is revealed in the
I can't wait to see his portrayal. There were casting suggestions floating around for months, and I can't remember ever seeing his name on anyone's wish list for Negan. But when they made the announcement, I was instantly intrigued. And after reading his comments, particularly that he's read the comics and knows of Negan before he was ever considered for the role - it makes me excited to see his portrayal at the close of the season next year. I only hope the character is revealed in the episode and it's not another end-credits cut scene.
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6:56AM on 12/09/2015
I'm not familiar with The Walking Dead comics but I'm confident Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be perfect for the role.
I'm not familiar with The Walking Dead comics but I'm confident Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be perfect for the role.
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10:24PM on 12/08/2015
Huge fan of Morgan and am glad to see him finally land a big and vital role on something as big as the Walking Dead; the guy deserves it. He's absolutely perfect for Negan (anyone who has doubt needs to check out his performance as The Comedian) and he'll add some much needed spark and quality to this series. I really hope he gets to kill off most of the needless characters as soon as possible because all of these side characters the show has introduced are awful and serve no purpose to the
Huge fan of Morgan and am glad to see him finally land a big and vital role on something as big as the Walking Dead; the guy deserves it. He's absolutely perfect for Negan (anyone who has doubt needs to check out his performance as The Comedian) and he'll add some much needed spark and quality to this series. I really hope he gets to kill off most of the needless characters as soon as possible because all of these side characters the show has introduced are awful and serve no purpose to the story.

But it'll be exciting to see how far the series pushed AMC with their limits since Negan's vulgar and charismatic language is one of the many reasons that the character is as iconic as he is. Just hopefully they don't misrepresent the character and/or waste Morgan's talent like they did with the Governor.
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8:00AM on 12/09/2015
The Comedian! Of course!! That's where I know him from. Yep, I am down with the choice :)
The Comedian! Of course!! That's where I know him from. Yep, I am down with the choice :)
8:30PM on 12/13/2015
"But it'll be exciting to see how far the series pushed AMC with their limits since Negan's vulgar and charismatic language....."

You're right, but it blows my mind that in a show like this, with the material they present....Y'know, this show started off at scene #1 with Rick Grimes blowing a little girl's head off. For all of the graphic deaths and gore, all of a sudden AMC gets a case of the willies because one guy says "Fuck" all the time?

You gotta wonder who's in charge at Standards
"But it'll be exciting to see how far the series pushed AMC with their limits since Negan's vulgar and charismatic language....."

You're right, but it blows my mind that in a show like this, with the material they present....Y'know, this show started off at scene #1 with Rick Grimes blowing a little girl's head off. For all of the graphic deaths and gore, all of a sudden AMC gets a case of the willies because one guy says "Fuck" all the time?

You gotta wonder who's in charge at Standards and Practices....
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8:33PM on 12/08/2015
They should just do it the same way they censored Breaking Bad with te infamous "I f*cked Ted". Let him curse and let the f bombs fly. Just censor it for tv.
They should just do it the same way they censored Breaking Bad with te infamous "I f*cked Ted". Let him curse and let the f bombs fly. Just censor it for tv.
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6:47PM on 12/09/2015
I would agree with you but the more I think about it -- you know how friggin' annoying it would be if every other word of Negan's dialogue was bleeped? It would get old real fast. I'm hoping the writers can capture the spirit of the character without the constant cursing
I would agree with you but the more I think about it -- you know how friggin' annoying it would be if every other word of Negan's dialogue was bleeped? It would get old real fast. I'm hoping the writers can capture the spirit of the character without the constant cursing
7:41PM on 12/09/2015
I don't know how tedious it would be but they could always shoot two different versions of his scenes and include the "unfiltered" version on the blu-ray/DVD versions.
I don't know how tedious it would be but they could always shoot two different versions of his scenes and include the "unfiltered" version on the blu-ray/DVD versions.
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