SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “The Walking Dead” season seven premiere.
After getting a glimpse of the “Walking Dead” villain Negan in the season six finale earlier this year, fans of the AMC adaptation of the Image/Skybound horror comic got a full episode filled with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s take on the character. In the season seven premiere, titled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” Morgan’s Negan terrorized Rick and his band of survivors, leaving two of them extremely dead.
In an interview video posted by AMC last night, Morgan sat down and discussed what drew him to the character and how he went about bringing him to life. He also remarked that when it comes to the brutality begat by leadership in this zombie world, Negan and Rick might not be that different.
“What’s most important to him is survival and ruling with kind of an iron fist,” said Morgan. “With him and his Saviors and Rick and the survivors, I think there’s some striking similarities. Now, Negan has a little bit more of a sense of humor than, say, Rick Grimes, and he’s maybe more outward in his brutality. But in saying that, I remember Rick ripping the throat out of somebody once with his teeth.”
Morgan also spoke about how playing the character has affected him — and how he knows it will affect him. “I’ve always been kind of a guy that people liked on shows,” said Morgan. “This is the first time I’ve done something where I know that people are just gonna despise me.” And there’s good reason for him to be despised: “You’ve never seen your cast on their heels like this and as vulnerable and victimized and that all kind of stems from Negan.”
But still, Morgan’s having fun playing this character — even if it will make him hated. “Having been a fan of the show and the comic book for so long I sort of had a pretty good idea of what I thought Negan was going to be and no one seemed to stop where I was going. But it was tricky bringing him to life. That being said, I’ve never had more fun. I couldn’t be happier.”
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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