Last night’s “The Walking Dead” episode may have brought some tense developments between Carl (Chandler Riggs) and baseball enthusiast Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but the relationship off-camera is decidedly less complicated.
In a postmortem interview with Entertainment Weekly, Morgan, a veteran actor of all things geeky, praised his much younger scene-partner for last night’s “Sing Me a Song”. “I was so impressed with him as a young actor,” he said. “I think it’s the finest work he’s done on the show, period.”
Morgan was particularly impressed with perhaps the most emotionally raw moment of the episode, where Negan demands that Carl reveal his missing eye for the first time since he brutally lost it last season. “I remember sitting across from him doing that scene and he’s unwrapping his head and, man, he was right there, and I was very, very impressed with him.” Morgan even spoke with Riggs TV father Andrew Lincoln afterwards to sing Riggs’ praises. “I remember I went home and I called Andy and I go, ‘Your kid just knocked it out of the park.’ He killed it.”
Readers of the comic weren’t surprised to see the strange dynamic form between Negan and Carl last night. Morgan himself looked forward to the chance to portray the complicated, highly unconventional relationship before filming. “It was absolutely the Negan-Carl stuff,” Morgan said when asked what he was most excited about adapting from the comics. “When I first read it, I remember just getting excited, you know what I mean? It’s such a weird relationship the two of them have.”
Morgan also expanded on why he thinks the two violent but ultimately opposed souls are drawn together. “I just think that if Negan were to have a kid, he would want him to be this kid.” Morgan also alluded to points in the comic that potentially inform Negan’s feelings for Carl. (SPOILER WARNING): In the comics, Negan was a PE coach and ping pong instructor (naturally). “Maybe he’s got an affinity toward young people anyway and this is a kid he would want on his ping pong team,” Morgan quipped. “Who knows?”
Despite his egomaniacale nature, Morgan maintained that Negan’s apology to Carl after schoolyard bullying him about his eye was genuine. “Yeah, Negan prods him and prods him because that’s kind of what Negan’s MO is. He’s going to poke you until he gets the answers that he wants, and when he sees Carl break a little bit, I think Negan genuinely feels bad.”
Airing Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC, “The Walking Dead” stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peleteir, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Green, Danai Gurira as Michonne and more.
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