Jeffrey Dean Morgan: In his own words
With his '60s-set Starz drama ''Magic City'' about to premiere, EW asked the refreshingly self-aware actor, 45, to reminisce about a couple of his career-changing roles (like ''Grey's Anatomy'' character Denny Duquette)...along with some others he'd like to forget
Magic City (2012)
Ike is a family man. He’s desperately in love with his wife. But he also has this passion for this Miami hotel, and because of that passion he makes some questionable decisions. He becomes partners with a guy named the Butcher [Danny Huston]. It turns out to bite him in the ass. He thought he was going to have a silent partner he could eventually buy out, but he’s not going to be silent.
Angel in Red (1991)
When I came to L.A., I wasn’t an actor. I was just moving a friend here. But I met with a casting director and I thought, ”Hey, I’ll give it a go.” I got a lead in a Roger Corman movie. I played a killer pimp. I didn’t know what a mark was, but I loved it. I felt like I found a grand purpose, and frankly, I got that movie so quick I thought [a career in acting] was going to be easy. ”I got this f—ing wired! What’s the struggle?”
The Burning Zone (1996-97)
I played a virologist. We did 10 episodes before the creator [left the show]. I went to the head of the studio and told him to f— off, not thinking they would get rid of me. They replaced me with Bradford Tatum, who’s now in Magic City.
I read the first two pages of the script and I’m like, ”I’m dead, man! I die on page 2!” But my agent said to just keep reading it. That was a hard movie to do because of the makeup and costume. I age from 17 to 60 in it! But that was a game changer as far as my movie career goes. Do I wish it made $900 million? Yeah, I do. But it wasn’t what movie fans were expecting, unless you were a fan of the Watchmen graphic novel.
Grey’s Anatomy (2006-09)
Denny and Izzie were lightning in a bottle. I can’t remember a recent show where it caused such a reaction. Certainly [creator] Shonda Rhimes wasn’t aware, so in hindsight she probably wouldn’t have killed me. She brought me back, for God’s sake! She called me in New York when I was on a movie. I said, ”I’m dead! You know that, right?” But it was a no-brainer. If she called me today with anything, I would say yes. I will go to my grave knowing that Denny changed my life.
It has a crazy fan base that refuses to let John Winchester go. It would make more sense to bring him back from the dead on a show called Supernatural than Grey’s Anatomy, and Grey’s managed to do it…. I would never say no. Do I think it’s going to happen? I do not. But I would go back.
Star Trek: Enterprise (2003)
I had to pay my bills. I knew I’d play some guy saying some stuff. Then I got a call saying I needed to go in for a prosthetic fitting. I remember them dripping goop on my face, and I had straws sticking out of my nose. I couldn’t eat lunch. I was claustrophobic. I’d go home in tears. This was the job that made me want to quit acting.