Jeffrey Dean Morgan Interview – P.S. I LOVE YOU

     December 18, 2007

Opening on Friday is “P.S. I Love You,” the new dramedy starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. Here’s the synopsis:

Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) is beautiful, smart, and married to the love of her life—a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry (Gerard Butler). So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly.But before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake and, to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to order her to get out and “celebrate herself.” In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way: P.S. I Love You.

With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a touching, exciting and often hilarious journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into new beginning for life.

So to help promote the movie, I was able to participate in roundtable interviews witha lot of the cast and the one below is with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. In the film, Jeffrey is someone that Hilary Swank’s character meets in Ireland. If I tell you anymore…it’ll ruin the fun.

During our roundtable interview Jeffrey covered a range of subjects – from playing the Comedian in the upcoming “Watchmen” movie to trying to maintain a good Irish accent while filming in Ireland. While I already posted the “Watchmen” quotes a few weeks back, I figured you might want to read the rest of the interview.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or download the audio as an MP3 by clicking here. And if you missed the movie clips I previously posted, you can watch them here.

“P.S. I Love You” opens this Friday at theaters everywhere.

Question: What happened to your accent? I know. It was a good accent.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Q: How hard was that?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Well, for me it was hard because I’d never done one before and you also don’t want to sound like a Leprechaun so it was…I’m not going to say it was easy but it was not maybe as hard as maybe I anticipated. I was very nervous about having to do it.

Q: But you did it in Ireland, right?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I did.

Q: That had to be hard.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I did and yeah I didn’t want the cat-calls from the Irish you know? Crew guys.

Q: Are you saying you were more nervous about your accent than you were about your nude scene?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I was way more nervous about my accent. Yeah. The nude scene we could have brought a stunt butt in or something, you know.

Q: I thought you captured an Irish character. I don’t know what I’m saying but the spirit of an Irish person. When you were doing the accent did you meet people in Ireland and talk to them and try to capture a personality?

Jeffrey: Yeah, I ran my lines with every Irish person in all of Dublin and Wicklow county. I mean anybody from my driver Paul to the sound guys to extras, whoever would listen to me. I was constantly—you know and then the arguments always became about well what part of Ireland are you in? I don’t know the part that sounds like I’m sounding right now! I’m not exactly sure where that is. Jerry and I were supposed to be on the same page when it came to that, but it ends up we both had different dialect coaches in Ireland so God knows what he was doing. Who knew what I was doing. You know, 2 ships in the night. It was awesome. It was a lot of fun doing it.

Q: Talk about working with Hilary. What is it energy? Does she prepare…just talk about working with her?

Jeffrey: The best thing that I can say about anyone actory is someone that’s present. Hilary is completely present and completely giving which is very rare. I’ve been around doing this for a long time. Nobody knew who I was until recently but none the less I’ve done this for a long time. She’s an incredible person beyond all the actory stuff, she’s incredibly funny. She’s incredibly smart. She’s great just to hang out with. She’s the girl you want to go to the pub with and have a beer, you know? And then you meet her as an actress and here you are working—for me it was oh God I’m working with a 2 time Oscar winner. I was intimidated. I’d come from this kind of smaller world of television and to be working opposite Hilary I’m not going to say I was petrified. I’m not going to lie. Then you meet her and she’s this great girl next door girl who happens to have won 2 Oscars. And then you work opposite her and you’ll never see—and I’ll always remember how present she was. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with an actor that was quite…that listened so well. She just listened. She was so there. So present and I’ll never forget working with her just because I remember….she was so present it would make me forget what I was doing because I was like “fuck she’s really listening to me here. She’s really buying my accent.” She was just completely there and it’s a rare thing I’ve found and there’s a reason she’s as good as she is and it’s I think because of that and she’s a really good…you watch her how she observes people.

Q: For people who don’t know you’re in “Watchman,” you play the comedian. So have you wrapped your work on that film?

Jeffrey: Hell, no. I go back Monday. I came in yesterday and I go back Monday.

Q: So can you give us an update as to how the filming has been going and what your experiences have been thus far?

Jeffrey: Well, you saw it.

Q: I can’t write about it.

Jeffrey: That’s awesome. It’s super huge, man. It’s just like this kind of mind boggling—every day I go to work on that thing and it’s sort of overwhelming and I don’t know if I’ve ever done anything that’s quite like that before. We’re shooting on the New York set now. All I can say is it’s the most amazing set I’ve ever seen in my life and we were doing this night exterior—the Keene Riots and seeing the graphic novel come to life like I saw that night… it gives me chills just thinking about it. It’s one of those things that I still—I was just telling somebody in another room that it’s so much right now to be doing it, just showing up at work everyday and getting into character and going into costume and showing up on the set and then seeing what I’m seeing and how it’s all coming together. I don’t know that I have the right words how to describe this experience and tell I’m well done with it because every day it’s something else.

Q: Can you talk about your character because I don’t know the franchise? You play—it’s called the Comedian?

Jeffrey: Edward Blake is his real name and then the Comedian is the kind of superhero character he is. The character I play is 180 degrees from anything I’ve ever done before. A far cry from certainly William. A really far cry from Denny Duquette, which is why I wanted to do it. It’s a whole other thing. He’s an animal. But I think one of the reasons I got hired—the things he does, his physical actions are horrendous. Certainly the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen much less portrayed. But I think my job is to—you don’t hate him—so my job is to kind of be able to do these fucking horrible things and yet have the audience not hate his guts. Because you don’t, you read the book and you don’t hate the Comedian. There’s a reason he does what he does and you know he just takes it maybe to a level that most people wouldn’t but for him it’s normal.

Q: You say that you’ve been in this business for a long time but in recent times you’re now starring opposite—you know we didn’t know what Katherine was going to be but Hilary and those people so what is it like working with these strong leading ladies?

Jeffrey: Well, they’re easy to look at for one. Maybe to learn a lot. My kind of success has come a little bit later in life. I’m not 20 any more and these people I’ve been working with have been successful and good at what they do for a long time. And they’re not—you know they’re good people—they’re not the ones we see on Star magazine or whatever the hell they’re doing. They’re not out clubbing every night. They’re normal folks who’ve been really successful at what they do and so for me it’s just kind of been a privilege to work with the people I’m working with because I’m learning a lot. I’m learning a lot how to be good at what I do and also how lucky I am and take it all in and be grateful for all this late in life success I’ve been having and it’s good to have people that have been around and successful for awhile and work with them and see how they behave and it’s why they are who they are and why they’re still successful. They haven’t dropped the ball on the way. And other than that it’s just nice. It’s kind of like playing a game of tennis with someone that can hit the ball back at you.

Q: You’re the guy who at one point was hopping back and forth between 2 cities, juggling 3 series. I mean a back breaking period. Would you ever go through that again?

Jeffrey: I don’t know. I mean, looking back at it now it was such a cool time being able to do 2 characters on 2 vastly different things. You know being Denny Duquette and then go and being John Winchester in the course of a day I’d be playing both characters. As tired as I was at that time, it’s for one nothing compared what I’m going through on “Watchmen”. It was a vacation. The work I’m doing on “Watchmen” is mind bending and physically just hard. I thought that was hard. That was nothing compared to what I’m doing now. Would I do it again? Maybe. Yeah, because it was so fun kind of juggling 2 characters. As much fun it was also kind of the hardest part but that was the challenge of it.

continued on page 2 ———->


Q: And the material was good in each case.

Jeffrey: Yeah, the material was great in each case and they were so vastly different. The problem was the line would blur sometimes because I’d be a little bit tired, and I’d kind of forget—John would get a little soft and have a little Denny thing, or Denny would you know want to shoot a doctor. So it was just lack of sleep talking. Yeah, it was exhausting but it was great. And what an opportunity and look what’s happened now.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the first time you put on the costume. I’m going back to “Watchmen”.

Jeffrey: I know you are. Every time, I know.

Q: Could you talk about putting on your costume for the first time and seeing everyone else in costume?

Jeffrey: It was awesome to see everybody in their costumes. You know—mine is…I got the coolest costume, I’ll say that. Like to look at, my costume’s insane but it also takes the longest to get in and out of. Michael Wilkinson, the costumer who designed the…again very true to the comic book, maybe updated a little bit but so true to what you see in…and Comedian is spot on to the book. Spot on. His costume is exactly like it is in the graphic novel. But seeing everybody in their super hero outfits is well, I mean for one it’s hard to stop laughing initially because everyone’s running around trying to be a super hero for God’s sake. How can you not? It’s really cool that experience, I mean for me as soon as I put on the outfit and stuck a cigar in my mouth, I’m him. You don’t even want to talk to me anymore. I turn into the character.

Q: Have you filmed the Vietnam sequences yet?

Jeffrey: No, not yet. That will be coming up after I leave here.

Q: I was just going to say “Watchmen” is committed to Vancouver before the Canadian dollar went up. Do you think they still would have committed to Vancouver?

Jeffrey: I’m not entirely sure now. You know, that’s a really good question. I’m not entirely sure. I couldn’t answer that being that I’m not in that—that’s not my area of expertise. I don’t know. I know a lot of stuff is still shooting there. There’s probably benefits of shooting there of which I’m not entirely sure. I know for a while they wanted to shoot it in New York because again they had to build this very elaborate set of New York streets and it probably would have been easier to go to New York for that but you know, they also got tons of empty stages which I know they didn’t have in New York if we were to shoot there.

Q: You need a lot of sound stages.

Jeffrey: Yeah, we’ve got a whole row of them.

Q: And you, for one, like working there.

Jeffrey: That’s right. I can’t get enough of Vancouver.

Q: I was going to ask what’s Zack been like. Has he been able to maintain the enthusiasm every day?

Jeffrey: Yeah. You met him. He’s not only incredibly passionate in staying true to the graphic novel but he’s also like a little kid. I don’t know where he gets his frigging energy but we’re putting in some long hours and a lot of nights and God, every day he’s running around and smiling through all of it and not only that he’s just an amazing director. He’s drawn out literally every frame of this movie before he shot it. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with anyone more prepared. He’s got a copy of the graphic novel in his hand all the time. It never comes out of his hand. He’s constantly referring to it. He’ll set up a shot looking at the novel. It’s insane. It’s crazy. I mean, again it’s one of those things that I’m going to have to process when the whole thing is over and I’ll sit down with you and I’ll give you an in depth interview because it’s just so kind of mind boggling right now that I think I need to step away from it for a little bit and be able to kind of put into words because I’m still kind of blown away by it.

Q: Back to P.S. Do you play guitar?

Jeffrey: I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t sing, I didn’t get naked, I didn’t do dialects. I didn’t do any of the things I did in this movie before I did it.

Q: You were lip-syncing that song?

Jeffrey: Oh I sang the shit out of it. I played guitar and I sang. Now mind you, I think they used someone else’s voice in the final cut, but after a couple Guinness’ I thought I was sounding pretty good on that. I was like you know this is alright.

Q: Any dreams of being a rock star?

Jeffrey: Of course. Yeah, are you kidding me? Actually that’s not true. They went away the minute I got on stage. Any dreams I had of being a rock star went away when I saw the people and their expectations of me to be able to play guitar and sing. They all dissipated and that was the end of it. It’s one thing by yourself in front of the mirror, which I’m really good at but not so good at in front of folks.

Q: What was it like being in Ireland? Had you ever been there before?

Jeffrey: No.

Q: What did you do in between the shooting?

Jeffrey: We spent a lot of time just walking around the city of Dublin. I’m not going to lie, we had a couple of beers, got a couple Guinness went to a couple pubs, but we walked around a lot. Then we went antique shopping. Lisa and Gina and Gerry and I spent a lot of time just hiking around all over the city. We had a blast. It was the most fun I ever had doing a film as far as just fun and being goofy that was it. We had a great time. Great cast. I can’t say enough about Ireland. I can’t. I’d move there. I loved it. I loved it. The people were just so sweet and generous and you know I loved it. Architecture, God it was just insane. It was just beautiful. It’s just completely unlike America. It actually has a history to it. You walk down the streets and you know God shit happened here. You walk down the streets here and you’re like…nothing.

Q: I wanted to know if you’d had any scenes yet with Jackie playing “Rorschach” and what that experience has been like?

Jeffrey: No, I haven’t. There you go.

Q: When do you wrap on the film?

Jeffrey: Well, the schedule is changing right now all the time because of weather so I think mid-February.

Q: And are you prepared for going to Comic-Con next year?

Jeffrey: Someone else asked me that. I don’t think so. To be honest with you I don’t think any of us are going to be prepared. I think we’re just going to do it.

Q: I think Zack’s premiering footage at Comic-Con in front of 7,000 people.

Jeffrey: That’ll be it. That’ll be the first time everybody’s sees it.

Q: So you’re definitely going though?

Jeffrey: Oh yeah, I’ll be there. I just don’t know if I’m prepared for it. Oh I’ll be there.

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