Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are best friends in real life because there is a lot more to Reedus and Morgan than just Daryl and Negan. Even so, The Walking Dead’s Daryl and Negan are very complex and carefully developed characters.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is obviously a great guy. Jeffrey is Norman Reedus’ best friend, riding buddy, and next door neighbor. For more on Norman Reedus’ friendship with Jeffrey Dean Morgan see this on The Inquisitr. Jeffrey’s sweetness sometimes even seeps through on The Walking Dead. So why did The Walking Dead choose Morgan for the villainous role of Negan?
Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan were hand-picked by The Walking Dead’s casting department for very specific reasons. For those who felt Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was an odd choice to portray Negan, here is the explanation The Walking Dead Fans have been looking for.
Many The Walking Dead Fans first knew Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the beloved and admirable father of Supernatural’s Sam and Dean. That character seems much closer to Jeffrey’s real life personality than the most formidable villain The Walking Dead characters have ever faced.
As Norman Reedus well knows, the real Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a really nice guy. He’s fun, sweet and has a great personality. Everyone on The Walking Dead set loves him, so what on earth was The Walking Dead thinking when they chose him to play Negan? CBR quotes Robert Kirkman explaining his choice at Paleyfest comic con.
“The thing with Negan that I was always wanted to accomplish, especially in the comics, is he’s so likable, he’s personable. I’m sorry, he does horrible things that you don’t like, but at the end of the day that thing he said was kinda cool.”
Norman Reedus as both the Negan tormented Daryl Dixon and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s best friend has no doubt struggled with and resolved that off balance feeling of liking Jeffrey Dean Morgan and despising Negan, and at the same time admiring Jeffrey’s portrayal of Negan.
Most The Walking Dead fans are still struggling with the strange casting choice. Now, for the first time, Robert Kirman explains why he chose such a sweetheart of a guy to play Negan.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is supposed to be likable. Robert Kirkman planned for fans to be conflicted between hating and liking Negan despite the fact he killed Glenn and Abraham.
Norman Reedus’ Daryl and Andrew Lincoln’s Rick have taken a lot of abuse from Negan on The Walking Dead, yet a lot of fans were relieved when Negan gutted Spencer. That made sense and was something Rick possibly needed to do from the beginning, but could not morally justify the act. Negan’s reasoning resounded at some level.
Robert Kirkman, who wrote The Walking Dead comics, explained at Paleyfest that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is supposed to be likable. Kirkman is quoted in CBR.
“[Negan is]This awful person doing these awful things to characters that we love but he has this, but he has this spark to him that is really engaging, really entertaining and really lovely.”
For The Walking Dead fans who can’t quite wrap their minds around Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, maybe that helps.
As Norman Reedus quips in the Access Hollywood video above, filmed the day after the premiere aired. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was by his side for these interviews.
“[The Walking Dead] is not Andy Griffith. It’s gnarly.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan explains in the Extra video above the world of The Walking Dead’s zombie apocalypse has vastly different values than the current culture. Right and wrong are more convoluted than ever.
“In this world How do you know who is necessarily a good… I mean how do you differentiate? If you are just trying to keep people alive and keep yourself alive in this world it is hard to differentiate the good and the bad because Daryl and Rick and the rest of the survivors have done some pretty horrendous things over the course of time. Negan has done the same, he’s just got a certain kind of flair.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, with Norman Reedus at his side, explains that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick tore a guy’s throat out with his teeth on The Walking Dead and he’s the hero. Norman Reedus as Daryl killed ten of Negan’s men, yet Negan kills two guys in the premiere, and he’s the worst guy ever.
Norman Reedus explained a bit more of this changing moral ideology as it relates to Melissa McBride’s Carol in an interview with Variety recently.
“Daryl’s seen how far she’s gone to preserve something of her own life. If you lose yourself 100% what’s the point of anything? We’ve watched her leave and come back and kill and not kill. He’s seen her go through that, and it’s a very selfless act to tell her everyone was okay.”
The Walking Dead Fans, while hating Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, at times become frustrated with various characters, perhaps especially Rick, Carol, and Morgan for wrestling with their values. Just how would the average viewer react to a quick transition from the current situation of mall shopping, freeway driving, and politically correct values, perhaps Christian values, to sudden immersion into the zombie apocalypse as Negan was?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Laura Cohan and the rest of The Walking Dead cast are required to hold onto different perspectives.
Norman Reedus thinks both as himself and as Daryl. This is pretty clear in various interviews with Norman Reedus, including the ones in the videos above.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has to understand and justify Negan’s actions in at least some way to portray him. Negan believes he is right in what he is doing so Jeffrey Dean Morgan has to find a way to rationalize Negan’s behavior.
Laura Cohan expressed her own feelings about Negan, revealing her own strong relationship with her The Walking Dead character Maggie Green.
“I was burning inside when I heard Robert [Kirkman] talk about how charming [Negan is]. It bugs me, it bugs me, it bugs me, [but] I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so, I get it.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan bugs the fans too. It is unsettling. Norman Reedus is dealing with it well, but even among the rest of the cast Negan’s role is hard to grasp as anything more than a really sick guy, and perhaps that is the point.
RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR
The Walking Dead’s zombie apocalypse culture has taken its toll on all the characters. Perhaps Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is no worse than Andrew Lincoln’s Rick, Norman Reedus’ Daryl or Melissa McBride’s Carol would be if they just let go of that last shred of themselves, as they were before.
Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are forced to comprehend The Walking Dead’s zombie apocalyptic world, and how it changed all the characters including Negan.
[Featured Image by John Sciulli/Getty Images]