In the pages of The Walking Dead comic book, there’s no doubt that Negan is worst villain Rick and the survivors have ever met. It takes a special actor to bring that kind of performance to the screen. Based on what little we saw of him last season, it looks like Jeffrey Dean Morgan is knocking it out of the park.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with actor Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) to talk about Negan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan:
Negan is The Walking Dead‘s Joker
“He’s a prick [laughs] but you know, I have to say, Jeffrey’s killing it — no pun intended. He’s great, super charismatic, and he’s enjoying being this jerk way too much, as a matter of fact. You know, it’s a real blessing we have him on the show. He’s brought so much new energy to this show, and that character is like the Joker. It has to be great, and he’s delivering, and everyone likes him, and he’s fun. He’s a cool guy and everything, but in the moment, everyone wants to f—ing kill him, and then we wrap, and we’re all having fun again. So he’s a great addition to the show.”
Negan has certainly become almost as iconic as the Joker, but I’m not sure it’s an apt comparison. The Joker is certifiably insane. Negan may be sadistic but he knows what he’s doing.
The Walking Dead Cast Give it Their All
Reedus also talked about how the rest of the cast reacted to Morgan’s performance:
“You know, he came onto this show, and he’s doing these horrific things, but he’s only as scary as the other actors around him make him look, you know? So he was really impressed with our cast that even off camera, they were giving him full tears, and they were giving him every sort of thing that would really be happening even when they weren’t on camera. That’s kind of rare on a set, you know? Sometimes you act to a tennis ball.”
Acting to a tennis ball has become a common complaint from actors in recent years. The growing increase of CGI has led more actors filming scenes with non-existent characters. The Walking Dead does employ a fair amount of CGI, but for the most part, what you see is what you get.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Walks Away Impressed
Reedus elaborates on the cast’s performance with Negan:
“So this is a different type of beast. Everybody here gives 150 percent all the time to the other costars. I remember after the first day, Jeffrey was like, ‘Holy s—! Thank you guys for doing this. I’ve never been on a set like this where every actor, even when they’re off camera, gives full tears and full snot.’ So he gives that to us, and we give it back to him. It’s a good give and take on this show, and it’s always been like that on this show, to be honest.”
He’s not lying. There have been plenty of tears on The Walking Dead over the years. It’s good to know that the cast are having a good rapport with Morgan. Even though he’s playing a villain, it’s important that the actors know how to play off of one another emotionally.