We asked Morgan what it was like the first time he got to actually hold Lucille, and… well, his answer pretty much says it all.
“It was awesome,” says Morgan. “It really kind of, for me, informed my character and who I was — just kind of the heft of her and the love that he has for her. It makes him hard, for God’s sake, just holding her. But it was great care taken with Lucille from the guys that built her.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You came on set for the finale to film that one scene and then had a long break before starting on season 7. How much were you thinking about this character during that time off and how you wanted to approach him?
JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN: I sure thought about him a lot. I have stacks of all the comic books, and what I have taken from those panels is a posture or a smile or whatever it is, and then filling those blanks in between. And as closely as we follow what Negan says and does in those comic books, we also have to add and subtract. We’ve added a lot, obviously, that’s not in the comic books with Negan. Not only trying to keep his language and his persona, but it’s how he walks and how he stands and all that kind of stuff.
And as far as similarities with the comic book, yeah, he might be a little bit more manic, but understand that I’ve got to connect those panels together and how Negan does that, there’s not a script for. So the writers will give me the material and then it’s about okay, well, how can I make that work? I’ve got to make this guy real, you know what I mean?I think that was the key — if I just make this guy manic and kind of one dimensional then I don’t have anywhere to go. So I thought, for me, and especially after doing that first episode, the introduction, and some head bashing, there had to be a place I could go. I try to make every scene a little bit of a rollercoaster so you don’t know. So it’ll keep you on your toes of where Negan is, and I only have so much I can go on working on the comic book. Then I get all this dialogue. How can I make that make sense and make it effective for the other actors that I’m working with?
“I was with Norman,” says Morgan. “I spend a lot of time with Norman because he lives in Georgia. He might not be alive on the show, people, just because I’m saying I was with Norman, but we had been riding motorcycles all day and we were in the middle of nowhere and stopped to get a coffee. And this lady is at our car, and she’s probably 80 years old, and she comes up and just flips me off and says ‘F— you!’ And Norman falls off his chair, laughing, and I’m like ‘Whoa! Whoa!’”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Obviously you guys ended season 6 on this huge cliffhanger and some folks were really upset about that. Were you surprised by some of that anger?
GREG NICOTERO: I would say our fans are passionate, and for me personally, yeah, I was a little surprised that some of our viewers were angered by that. Because other shows that I watch and I enjoy have done similar things. They have ended with cliffhangers, or Did this person die or that person die? Or, What happened here? Or leading up to something. So yeah, I’m really proud of the episode, and I really loved it, and I was a little surprised that people had that reaction to it.
But I’d say in retrospect, I don’t think we would have changed anything. I would have still supported doing it the way that we did it, because of the fact that the story doesn’t end there. If we would have shown the deaths, then they wouldn’t have felt our characters in season 7 the way they need to. And the thing that I think a lot of people will get out of it is how that moment changes the entire makeup of our universe within a split second. And it’s that moment that launches our entire season 7 into that direction.