The Walking Dead: Jeffrey Dean Morgan Won't Play Negan 'Over the Top'

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead Season 7

As programs shake off the summer dirt and gear up for their new seasons, many fans are eager to see what their favorite shows' fall premieres have in store. Followers of The Walking Dead, however, were more anxious than eager when the drama's seventh season premiered. That anxiety came with good reason, as the zombie drama delivered a premiere that was both bloody and heart-wrenching. When we last left our favorite survivors, they were facing immediate peril from a major antagonist.

As the show continues its long-running TV legacy, it continues to follow some of the arcs laid out in the comics on which it is based. One of these arcs defines season 7, and follows flamboyant antagonist Negan as he torments Rick and his crew. Jeffrey Dean Morgan steps into this comics-inspired role following his acclaimed take on The Comedian in Watchmen and a recent cameo in Batman V Superman, and it looks like he's ready to play Negan with as much cold-bloodedness as the role demands. In a recent interview, though, the actor did reveal that he is taking a tone with the character that will separate his interpretation from the original comics.

In an interview with Cinema Blend, Morgan admitted he would not play Negan as extremely as he is in the comics. The actor says:

"With Negan, I am keenly aware not to be over the top. In a world that I think has been created, that is kind of so real, the Walking Deadworld, you can't have this guy coming in with his red scarf and his barbwire bat and being over the top -- and his use of the English language and all of that. I was trying kind of downplay the comic book side."

He contrasted this take with his role as The Comedian, stating:

"You see it a little bit with Comedian too - although that, literally Zack shot that almost panel for panel, so it was a different thing. But Walking Dead is a bit of a trick in trying to make sure that he fits into that world, and doesn't come off as kind of cartoonish."

Insane Negan in The Walking Dead
Negan uses colorful language in the comics version of The Walking Dead.

Fans of both the comics and TV series know that the world of The Walking Dead differs from page to screen. It makes sense that TV Negan would differ from the comics antagonist, for both practical and artistic reasons: like Morgan stated, The Walking Dead is known for its gritty realism, and censors could take issue with comics-Negan's profane nature. It follows that we'll see an on-screen version of the antagonist that takes elements from the terrifying comics iteration and downplays them -- hopefully to even more quietly horrifying heights.

It's also possible, though, that downplaying Negan could do a disservice to his character. This more nuanced TV version could leave fans wanting for a backstory -- one which the writers may or may not have been able to accommodate in yet another action-packed season. Morgan could definitely do a more nuanced part justice, though, if his run as anti-hero John Winchester in Supernatural is any indication. While this latest arc is sure to not disappoint, especially after that heart-stopping premiere, we'll be watching to see if Negan lives on as a fan legend, or merely a one-dimensional bully.

The Walking Dead season 7 continues next Sunday on AMC at 9 p.m.

Source: Cinema Blend

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