Jeffrey Dean Morgan: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 Premiere’s Negan Scenes Were ‘So F–king Heavy’

If you thought Negan’s brain-bashing scenes in The Walking Dead‘s season 7 premiere on Sunday, October 23, were tough to take, you weren’t alone. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays the baseball-bat-wielding leader of the Saviors on the hit AMC zombie drama, told Interview on October 24 that it was unpleasant for him to film the episode, which featured Negan horrifically turning two regular characters — Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) — into unidentifiable corpses.

When asked which scene in the highly anticipated premiere was the toughest to shoot, the Grey’s Anatomy alum replied, “I think maybe it was the Carl’s arm bit to be honest with you. Look, that whole episode was hard, and also because I did go through and smack everybody with Lucille at a certain point. Everybody took a hit. All of that was hard. It got to the point where I didn’t want to do it anymore. … Emotionally I was completely drained — all of us were, I would imagine.”

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in ‘The Walking Dead’ Gene Page/AMC

“It was just so f–king heavy at all times,” Morgan, 50, continued about the episode’s shoot. “In the show that aired, there’s no letup, and it was like that for 10 days for us. It wasn’t just 40 minutes of it; it was 10 days of that, every day, all day.”

It’s unlikely that Negan will ever be someone who viewers want to grab a beer with, but the actor does promise a bit more humanity from his villainous character as the season unfolds.

“I think that as we get to know him and see him in quieter moments, you’ll see his charisma and his humor in a way that will be different than Lucille crashing into somebody’s face, which I think will help,” Morgan said. “Not that I’m going to make excuses for Negan, but we seem to forget as an audience, and as fans of the show, that Rick [Andrew Lincoln] and Daryl [Norman Reedus] and the rest of them killed probably 30, 40 of my men, and so far I’ve only killed two of them. Negan just did it with some panache.”

The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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