Jeffrey Dean Morgan understands the fan-hate he has received after killing off two beloved characters from the AMC hit series, The Walking Dead. Killing Abraham and Glenn opened Season 7 with a bang. Armed with Lucille, Negan’s baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, the Saviors ruler sadistically killed two members of Rick’s gang.
Negan killed both Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), despite his usual method of killing one person. In addition to the gruesome murder, he also made Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), submit to his new order by threatening Rick’s son, Carl (Chandler Riggs).
In graphic detail, the show’s level of violence reached new levels with Negan. Some fans on Twitter even claimed that they would never watch the show again, due to the violence and loss of Glenn, who was on the show since the first episode.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Avoiding the Backlash
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played the role, avoided the public and Internet. “I haven’t been out in public yet, and haven’t been on the Internet. I wanted to keep myself in a little bubble,” he commented to the Chicago Tribune the following day. When he ran into co-star Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, he was informed, “Oh, bro, everybody hates you.”
In an interview, Morgan accepted the role and the hate. “Not to say I want people to hate me, but to do a role that elicits that kind of reaction is a big reason why I wanted to do it. However, the more you get to know Negan, after this initial shock wears off, there are going to be aspects people will be attracted to. I really hope I can portray him in a way that people will hate themselves for liking him.”
True to any charismatic bad-guy, Negan’s character has leadership abilities and loyalty to those he trusts. Mostly known for his quiet life as an actor, this opportunity is the first time Morgan has been posted on billboards all over the city.
“It’s a little bit embarrassing, to be honest with you.” Along the streets of Los Angeles, Morgan’s character Negan is holding Lucille with taglines such as, “We’re just getting started.” In response, the actor replied, “I’ve never been a part of anything like this, to this extreme, and with this kind of viewership and fan base. It’s a cultural phenomenon. It’s quite bigger than I ever thought, and I watch the show.”
Bringing in the Charisma
Despite the hate from fans, many critics love his portrayal of the iconic Negan. Morgan had trouble watching the first episode. “I was there. I filmed the damn thing! I finally had to put it to the side. It was too much. For me, it wasn’t even the gore. It was what Andy [Lincoln] did, seeing it all through his eyes, seeing our hero break. He blew me away. I think it’s as much about his performance as it is going through the loss and the grotesque shots.”
Morgan reminds fans that if the show had been following Negan, then he would be the Rick-like, star of the show. Negan’s rise is very similar to Rick’s rise as a leader. Both are larger-than-life characters and it will certainly be worth watching to find out how Rick and Negan find their spots in this new world.