Sometimes a show or a movie casts a role perfectly—able to find an actor who so embodies a role that it’s impossible to think of anyone else playing that part. When The Walking Dead announced that Jeffrey Dean Morgan would be bringing the infamous Negan to life on the AMC show, the fandom almost let out a collective sigh of relief because Morgan is absolutely perfect for the maniacal big bad. Of course, the fans have been asking (apart from who the hell did Negan “introduce” to Lucille in the finale): how much will Morgan’s Negan will stray from his comic book counterpart? In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Morgan addressed just that.
When you read Robert Kirkman‘s The Walking Dead series, Negan is absolutely insane. However, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan isn’t wound all the way up like he is in the comic books—and that was a very intentional choice made by Morgan due to the change in medium. The way a comic book depicts action and character development is very different from a TV show, and Morgan had to make his Negan adapt to that. As the actor explained to Ross, “the writers will give me the material and then it’s about okay, well, how can I make that work? I’ve got to make this guy real, you know what I mean? I think that was the key — if I just make this guy manic and kind of one dimensional then I don’t have anywhere to go.”
So while our first introduction to Negan has been an intense one, don’t expect that level of in-your-face intensity to be his norm. After all, what makes Negan such a great villain is that he is charming yet so utterly horrible, but not in a cartoonish way. To avoid portraying Negan on the small screen as nothing more than a ridiculous bad guy, but instead making him the one of (if not the) most formidable foes Rick Grimes will ever face, Morgan let his version of Negan dial things down a bit.
Still, the comic books were a huge inspiration to Morgan. He’s explained how he’s created Negan’s charming smile, laid back stance and gait, and general attitude straight from what he saw in the comics. However, to keep Negan both believable and terrifying in that “he’s smiling, but I think he also might be about to kill someone” kinda way, Morgan made his version of Negan one that more naturally flows between highs and lows, one with more of a backstory, and one that would allow Morgan to grow and evolve his character as the episodes go by.
What do you think of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan? How do you feel about his portrayal of the character so far? Let’s talk about it in the comments![brightcove video_id=”5085857112001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”2bfa565b-5412-4cfd-9211-6269880b8a5e”]
Featured Image: AMC