ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! talked to Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the Vancouver set of Watchmen about playing The Comedian:
CS/SHH!: How do you play a character like The Comedian in a forty-year span?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: My first week of filming is the opening of the movie, The Comedian’s death scene. Although The Comedian doesn’t die. We’re re-writing the script, he doesn’t die… just kidding. [laughs] In that makeup, though it was five or six hours every day. So my first day of work started at 2:30 in the morning to be on set at 9am. I’m more worried about being the 19-year-old. That’ll be a tougher makeup. But it’ll look great, it’s phenomenal.
CS/SHH!: Can you talk about that fight sequence at the beginning? We heard it’ll be extended for the film.
Morgan: We shot it for a week and it’s extensive. I came up here to Vancouver two months before we started shooting just to do choreography for that fight. It’s cool, I’ll tell you that. It’s a lot more than what’s in the comic book, obviously. With no reveal of who is throwing The Comedian out the window but in the way Zack shot it, it’s something to see. I just saw portions of it and it’s good. It’s a helluva way to open up a movie.
CS/SHH!: You knew of the graphic novel before the gig, then?
Morgan: I knew of it and read parts of it. I didn’t read the whole thing. When I went in to meet Zack I read it and I’ve now read the thing 20 times. My dad is a huge fan and he’s read the thing 300 times. When I had questions about anything, I’d call him up and he’d give me what’s happening. You guys know it, every time you read it there’s something new that catches your eye. It’s an amazing piece of work. I go online – and I’ve never done this before when I’m involved in a project – the way people talk about this, it literally is the holy grail of graphic novels and people are so concerned about what Zack is doing with the movie. I will say this, the fans are not going to be disappointed. We’re not going to make Alan Moore look bad, or his brilliant piece of work. It’s going to be a helluva movie, the scope of it. It’s just huge. The detail is insane and Zack is a mad scientist, it’s going to be something to behold.
CS/SHH!: Talk about your approach to The Comedian – he’s incredibly multi-layered.
Morgan: On first glance, he’s just a really unlikable guy, but at the end you don’t hate him. So the tricky part for me, and I’m finding this to be a work in progress, the nuances and how to make him not sympathetic…you don’t hate The Comedian, even when he shoots the pregnant woman from Vietnam in the face, you might go [laughs], “That’s a bit too much Mr. Comedian.” But at the same time, you don’t ever end up hating him. So it’s a fine line and we have to find our way. At first glance, I thought this guy was horrible. No morals whatsoever. But at the same time, he’s a superhero and he’s out there trying to do good. So we’re just trying to find another layer that I didn’t think of the day before. When all is said and done you won’t hate him. I find him to be the most interesting character.
CS/SHH!: Seeing yourself in the costume for the first time, how did that change your feeling about the role?
Morgan: You’re ready to kick someone’s ass. I’ve been doing costume fittings for about three months. Yesterday we did it all for real, we did a camera test and I’ll tell you, when you see it, it’s the comic book coming to life. Mind you, on top of the makeup I have to do, getting into costume takes three and a half hours. But it’s something. The first time I saw myself in the mirror I got the giggles. There’s no resemblance to me whatsoever, I’m Edward Blake. It’s really exciting and it’s going to be fun seeing everyone in their [costumes].
CS/SHH!: Is it a challenge to come in to work and bounce around different time periods of The Comedian’s life?
Morgan: Of course it is, but what helps a lot is the makeup process. It helps in finding my way. When I can look in the mirror and see where my sideburns are and how many wrinkles I have. I’ll put some music on my iPod from 1960 and start feeling that vibe. They’re so good in each department that by the time I walk on set, I’m feeling whatever I need to be. I’m there. Believe me, when I do 69, I’m feeling like I’m 69. That was a long first week and I felt every ache in my body.
CS/SHH!: The Comedian is killed because he stumbles onto the plan, but who’s side are you on in this story?
Morgan: Well, being The Comedian, I’m going to go with his side. In any character you do, especially something like this, if you’re going to do this and you’re going to do it right, I’m fighting for The Comedian every step of the way. There’s not even a question, Adrian is a scumbag, not Blake. That’s how I approach it. I can’t see both sides. I have to be The Comedian. And I am at this point, I don’t like Matthew Goode at all. [laughs]
CS/SHH!: What’s your reaction like being a toy?
Morgan: Again, you have to go to the scope. It’s so amazing. Who ever thinks they’re going to be a toy? I don’t know, I haven’t seen one yet. But when I do I’ll probably get the giggles and get excited and sleep with the damn thing. The possibilities with this, the toys, the video games… it’s just huge. I’ve never been near anything this big. The passion people have for this thing, I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re staying so true to this, I can hardly wait for people to see it.
CS/SHH!: Well, that said, knowing the following, it has to be intimidating for you to know a lot is being put on your shoulders.
Morgan: Yeah, coming in, when I originally got the role, I had no idea how big and important it is for so many people. When we get closer to the countdown… right now we’re involved in the making of it so we’re blocking out as much as we can. I’m ashamed of myself for even looking at the internet because it freaks me out a little bit. This is a year and a half before the movie even comes out. People are ripping us apart. So I don’t know if I should got on the internet anymore. But it is a little intimidating because you want everyone to be happy. I know in my gut people are going to be exceedingly happy, so you shouldn’t have any doubts. All I can say is no one will be disappointed. The Comedian is not intimidated, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan is.
CS/SHH!: Of the stuff you have not shot yet, what are you looking forward to doing the most.
Morgan: I’m really looking forward to Vietnam. And also the Watchmen headquarters stuff because everyone will be there too. There are very few scenes in this movie where we’re all together and that’s one of the few scenes where we can all bounce off each other. These are such great, generous actors with the exception of me. We’re all on different schedules so we’re like ships in the night, I’m looking forward to those days.
CS/SHH!: That ship in the night aspect must give you something great to play with as you are sort of the outsider.
Morgan: Yeah, I like it. And that’s actually not bad for me to not hang around with everyone because, as much as I like everyone, as an actor there is a certain dynamic. If I’m not hanging around with these guys 24/7 it will bring something to the set. I don’t want to be friendly with anybody over the course of these scenes. The Comedian is not very friendly to anybody except maybe Laurie. We haven’t spent much time together except maybe at the beginning. We had dinner a lot when we were training. But I think we’re all excited to see one another in costume. It’s going to be cool though.
Watchmen opens in conventional and IMAX theaters on March 6.
Source: Ryan Rotten