Set Visit: Interview with Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the set of The Losers
It was a hot and steamy night in Puerto Rico...alright, it was a hot and steamy day. But I was in Puerto Rico. I got to check out the set of the upcoming comic book-based film, THE LOSERS. If you aren't familiar with the story, it's about an elite Special Forces unit betrayed from the inside by a mysterious enemy known as Max. We spent the day at a port, watching Jeffery Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans filming an gun-filled action scene. In between takes, we got to sit down with Jeffery Dean Morgan to chat about his role, being an action star at forty something and his final stunt of the shoot. We got a little insight into the comic and how it compares to WATCHMEN. (Shooting frame by frame versus having a bit more room to play...fewer fan boys to piss off.) We also got some info on what Morgan does in his spare time. Rescue adorable puppies. I'm not kidding. We got to see the little guy Morgan tells us about in the interview. Cutest thing ever. Cause being hot wasn't enough.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
We were watching this action scene where you come out of the van with a gun...
Two big guns! [laughs]
Have those action scenes been taxing on you?
Yeah, I'm hurt all the time. Seriously, every scene in this movie is an action scene. It's a real kind of...it's a throwback movie, I think. It's more, and you've probably heard this a hundred times and I hate to repeat it, but it's very much along the lines of the first DIE HARD and LETHAL WEAPON. It's got that kind of sense of humor, mixed with that kind of action. And day one we were thrown into it. The first week I ripped my hamstring chasing after a helicopter. And I've been limping through this ever since. What I've discovered is, being an action star at the age of 43...maybe I should have started this whole thing a little earlier. [laughs] Graduated to doing bed scenes, you know?
Did you have any special weapons training for this?
Well, I had some for WATCHMEN...so I've played with the different guns...working as a team and doing that squad-like training is super cool. For the scenes that we had in the jungle and a little bit here...it's really fun. I just came from another movie, so I didn't have...they started about two weeks before the movie. I think I had two days to get in line.
Where in the jungle were you shooting?
In the middle of the island, but not near the beach...but it was very pretty.
Where is the conflict among the crew?
There is a conflict with me and just about every character. Obviously with Aisha, played by Zoe (Saldana) and then Roque (Idris Elba), my second in command and I really get into it. So in amongst there, there is plenty of conflict to go around. [laughs] Roque is my best friend, who I've been with for like 20 years. So we start not getting along about half way through the movie. He starts questioning Clay's decision making skills in the midst of also trying to get this Max (Jason Patric), this unknown CIA guy. So there's a lot of stuff going on. And then also some love.
So have you guys mostly been doing day shoots? Can you essentially have fun and enjoy Puerto Rico?
This stems back to the other question about how it feels to be doing this action stuff. I'm bathing myself in ice every night. [laughs] And also, I rescued a dog here our first week of shooting. There were lots of dogs running around the streets that are just homeless and a puppy came to base camp in the jungle and was hit by a car, so I decided I'd pay his vet bill, and now I've got a dog. So I'm potty training him and I'm in the midst of that, so I don't want to leave him ever alone. He's destroying everything. I'm going to end up losing money on this movie. [laughs]
Do you bring him to set?
I do, I do! He's in the trailer right now. He's super great. He's a very cool dog.
Have you named him yet?
Do you still have the other dog that you rescued? Bisou?
Yeah, she's staying with my mom right now. Too hot for her here. She's much to spoiled.
How are you getting the dog back?
I don't know! Flying it, I guess. I'm going to ask Joel to put him on his private jet...I think we'll work something out. But yeah, he's coming home.
Can you give us a description of what the scene is?
Well, kind of the last quarter of the movie kind of takes place here at the port and there's a lot of stuff going on here. We've hunted down, sort of, the unknown CIA guy, Max, Jason Patric's character. And we've tracked him to this area. One of my team has done some dastardly deeds and everything is coming to a head here. So, I don't know, this is going to be about a 45 minutes scene, probably. The way things are going. But everything comes to an end right here. I'm trying to remember. I read all 'The Losers'...this is kind of a combination of a bunch of stuff and Jamie Vanderbilt, our writer has kind of done some stuff with it as well. We're kind of encompassing the most...most of what it's based on is the graphic novel...we're staying as true as we can to it, but keeping it going, hopefully for a second run. We're leaving it a little bit open. But it's big. You know, I kid you not when I say this is a, this is the kind of stuff that made me want to be an actor. This is why I decided this is what I wanted to do. This kind of cops and robbers, kind of DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON...these are the movies I loved as a kid and I feel like this is really kind of going back to that. We're not trying to be fancy. We're not trying to tell a story that is going to be complicated. It is what it is and it's a good shoot-em-up with a sense of humor and we'll see what happens. But it all comes to a head here at the port.
It seems like THE LOSERS obviously compared to WATCHMEN...it doesn't have as many fans in the comic book world...are they just as worried about being as faithful to it?
No, I mean, because again, it was...WATCHMEN was this one entity. In order to do that, the approach we took, Zach, and what we did as actors, was almost virtually panel for panel. Something like LOSERS gives us a lot more freedom. And because it's a much longer series than WATCHMEN...again, WATCHMEN was a one-off. This, you've got some room to play with. And it's about making the best story we can. There are a couple of comic books that are put together into one, and Andy Diggle and Jock, they love it...they support it. As a matter of fact, I think they come out next week...so that will be super cool. But again, this movie kind of stands alone and we're having a little bit more fun with it. You know, not that I didn't have fun on WATCHMEN, but you had to be so faithful. Literally, you're saying exactly what's being said, and you're positioning yourself like they were in the panels of that book. In this one I'm having a little bit more fun playing with it.
The original graphic novel was set in World War II. Did you read that one?
I didn't. That's not the one that these guys wrote, but I know what you're talking about. This is kind of a spin off that they made for more of an adult than DC...
Thank you very much. When they did their little branch off. Vertigo, they kind of updated their LOSERS. I didn't read any of them. I'd like to though.
I'm just curious if there are any nods to it.
No, other than Clay being a colonel, which technically he wouldn't be in this situation, probably. I mean, there's some stuff like that, but not really. Not that I know of. [laughs]
Do you have a military adviser?
What has he been working with you on?
Everything. He's here every day. He did all of our tactical training when we got here. Which is really cool stuff to learn how to do. But when you're running through these containers of stuff, it's really important to kind of look like you know what you're fucking doing. [laughs] How to hold a gun and gun orientation. In so many movies you see people doing it wrong and, you know, the public is getting a lot wiser than they used to be. You get yelled at a lot for doing something stupid. I don't get to shoot my gun sideways, you know? I want to. Clay does in the graphic novel. And I'm always like, 'Come on!' No. Aw man. Jackass. [laughs] So none of that. Just staying on point. Trying to figure out what you're doing. Do it the right way.
You've got a very diverse group of people here. How do you capture that dynamic of a team?
Well, you know what was weird? I only got here...everybody kind of just...our natural personalities have just sort of dictated exactly what the comic book did. They did such a good job of casting. I mean, Chris (Evans) is completely fucking Jensen. No doubt about it. The idiots actually think I'm their leader, so that worked out fine. [laughs] But it's very...it became this immediate sort of symmetry between all of us and everyone kind of took on their roles and I don't know if that's because we're really serious about acting or that's just luck of the draw and great casting. But it's falling into place really well and how we all get along. Everyone has their fucking moments on this thing. It's pretty funny. It's a good group. It's a good group and we really like each other. Which is rare to say after...I think I've been here almost three months. Usually I hate my cast by now. [laughs] This is a really good group. We're still hanging out and doing stuff after.
Did you hesitate to sign on to another graphic novel thing after WATCHMEN? Or a beefy, Comedian-type character?
Well, I don't think Clay is...in the initial conversation with agents and stuff, they were all very worried and I was like, 'Have you read the books from LOSERS? It's nothing like WATCHMEN!' Everyone's making these comic book films now, but the thing about it is, the best stuff right now is...the stuff that hasn't been done is from that genre. That's why every studio is like, chomping at the bit for that stuff. If I said I wasn't going to do another comic book movie after WATCHMEN, I don't know what I'd be doing right now. You know? Some goofy romantic comedy. I'd much rather stay in this world. I love this world. And again, I'm thinking I've got maybe three or four more years of being able to bounce off the pavement and that's it! [laughs] I can barely get out of bed right now. So I'm going to take advantage of the action comic book stuff now. While I can. I love it. I love it.
Well, we like you in it.
Thank you, thank you.
Were there any stunt that you were going to do that you can't after the injury?
No, I haven't missed anything. I have yet to miss anything. Now, the one thing that we're talking about, and I'll let you know how this works out, because I'll either be dead or not. [laughs] Jumping off a 120 foot crane at the end of the movie. We're having conversations about it. It's the last shot of the film. They're like, 'Oh, you can do it.' I'll be on a wire, but 120 feet?
Where do you land?
Well, the wire will keep me from landing in the ocean. I jump into the ocean. So that's like the biggest stunt. I mean, they won't let a stunt man do that fall. Everybody's on a wire. But they really want me to jump over the edge and fall. And I'm like, hahaha. We'll see. And the first month, I was like, 'Shit, yeah. I'll do it. I'm gonna man up.' Now, I'm like, 'Man, I don't know.' I look down from the top of one of these things and I'm like, 'Vertigo, vertigo!' [laughs]
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