How does Norman Reedus know that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is doing a great job on The Walking Dead? Because “everyone wants to f—ing kill him,” says Reedus. Of course, that’s during filming, when Morgan is tormenting them as Negan. Once the cameras are off, however, it’s a different story.
Reedus told us what working with Morgan has been like (or was like, if Daryl does not survive the season 7 premiere on Oct. 23), and compared Negan to another famous villain.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This has always been a dark show, but it sounds like you guys are really treading in some pretty deep, dark territory when we come back.
NORMAN REEDUS: Every roller coaster goes up and down, and there’s no way this show has ever been a flat roller coaster. We’ve gone really high and fallen really low, and we’re definitely in a very low point right now.
What are you seeing from Jeffrey Dean Morgan in terms of his interpretation of the Negan and what he’s doing out there?
He’s a prick [laughs] but you know, I have to say, Jeffrey’s killing it — no pun intended. He’s great. He’s 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.
And I know that even in the season finale scene there was a lot of emotion going back and forth, with everyone giving their all, even if they were not on camera.
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.
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.
Check out an exclusive video of Jeffrey Dean Morgan below. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.