Jeffrey Dean Morgan On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

     February 16, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

As you might have already read, in late October of 2007 I got to visit the set of “Watchmen” when the film was about half way through production. I left thinking director Zack Snyder had done the impossible and was actually going to make a kick ass movie from Alan Moore’s “unfilmable” graphic novel. Because as a lot of you already know, many had tried and failed to bring “Watchmen” to the big screen.

But that’s another story…let’s get to the reason you’re here.

While I was on the set with a few other online journalists, we all got to interview the stars of the movie and the one you’re about to read is with Jeffrey Dean Morgan who is also known as Edward Blake (the Comedian).

During our Jeffrey talks a lot about the challenges of playing someone that is so liked and disliked all at the same time as well as his thought on filming certain scenes. If you’re a fan of “Watchmen”, you all know how important and troubled his character is and hearing him talk about all the challenges of playing Edward Blake was very cool.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here. And if you missed my set report, I definitely suggest reading it for a lot more on what I saw and did while there.

Question: So you’re playing a character who…you have a forty year span.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Yeah.

Q: So how do you do that, how do you go from the young guy in his twenties to a guy in his sixties, how much make-up, how much. . .

Jeffrey: It’s a lot. My first week of filming was the first scene in the movie, the Comedian’s death scene. All though the Comedian doesn’t die, you can put that in your thing, that we’re rewriting the script so the comedian lives. Just kidding. And that make-up was five and a half, six hours to do everyday. Come in, my first day of work, I started at two thirty in the morning to be on set at like, nine. I’m more worried about being the nineteen-year-old to be honest with you, that’s going to be a tougher make-up job. But it looks great. The stuff I saw is phenomenal. It’s really amazing.

Q: Can we talk about that fight scene at the beginning, we’ve heard it’s been extended a little bit.

Jeffrey: We shot it for a week. It’s extensive. I came up here to Vancouver two months before we started filming just to do the choreography for that fight. It’s cool, that’s what I can tell you. It’s a lot more then is in the comic book obviously, with no reveal of who’s throwing the Comedian out the window. But the way that Zach shot it is. . . . it’s something to see, I mean I just saw portions of it and it’s good, it’s hell of a way to open up a movie.

Q: Are you familiar with the comic or graphic novel?

Jeffrey: I knew of the comic, I had read parts of it, I had never read the whole thing, and then obviously before I went and met with Zach I read it and now I’ve probably read the thing like twenty times. My dad has become a huge fan, he’d never heard of it and he’s a big fan of the genre, and he’s now read the thing about three hundred times. So when I have questions about anything I call him up and he’ll kinda cue me in on what’s happening. But you guys know, every time you read it you see something different, there’s something new in there that catches your eye. It’s an amazing piece of work. And I go online, I’ve never done this before when I’m involved in a project, the way that people talk about this, it literally is the holy grail of graphic novels. And people are so concerned about what Zach’s doing with the movie, what Warner Bros. is doing with the movie. I’ll say this, fans of Watchmen 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 hell of a movie. The scope of it is just. I mean you guys know, you went and saw some of the stuff today, it’s just huge. It’s like seeing this, fuck, who built this? It’s jus the detail is insane, and Zach is a mad scientist the way he’s bringing it all together. It’s going to be something to behold.

Q; Can you talk about your approach to the Comedian character? Because he’s very multi layered.

Jeffrey: Yeah! I mean, on first glance he’s just a really unlikable guy, but then again, you don’t hate him, you just don’t hate him. So I think the tricky part for me is, and I’m finding this kinda as a work in progress, we just kinda started filming and got a ways to go, but the nuances and how to make him, not sympathetic, but you don’t hate the Comedian. Even when he shoots the pregnant woman in Vietnam in the face, you might go “that’s a little bit too much Mr. Comedian,” but at the same time you don’t ever end up hating the Comedian. So it’s kind of a fine line where we have to find our way. It’s very interesting because like I said, first glance I was like, well this guy’s just, he’s just horrible, no morals whatsoever. But at the same time he’s a super hero, he’s out there trying to do good. So it’s really interesting and I think everyday we kinda find another layer that I didn’t think of the day before. So I think when it’s all said and done hopefully you won’t hate the Comedian. I find him to be the most interesting character, but I’m sure every actor that you talk to think’s their character is the coolest. I think I’m the coolest character in the movie.

Q: Zach was talking earlier about seeing you in the costume for the first time, how did that change you’re feeling about the character?

Jeffrey: You’re ready to kick someone’s ass, I’ll tell you that. We put it on for the first time . . . I’ve been doing costume fittings for about three months, and yesterday we did it all for real, you know, we had a camera test yesterday and I’ll tell you what, when you guys see it, it’s the comic book coming to life. It is crazy cool. Now mind you, on top of the makeup that I have to do, getting into the costume takes three and a half hours, but it’s something. You sit there. . . first time I saw myself in the mirror, I was like, I kinda got the giggles, I was like, “Oh my god! There is no resemblance of me at all anymore. That’s it, I’m the Comedian, I’m Edward Blake.” It’s cool, it’s really exciting, it’s going to be fun to se everybody in their get ups.

Q: Besides the makeup, the fact that your character has this forty-year span is kind of interesting for you because you’re only coming back to bits of it here and there, so you’re not actually creating the whole arch of his life. Is that sort of a challenge to come in and oh today it’s 1965, today it’s 1977?

Jeffrey: Yeah, of course it is but you know what helps a lot is the makeup process, that helps so much in kind of finding my way as an actor when I’m able to look in the mirror and see where my side burns are and how many wrinkles I have and I’ll put some music on my iPod from 1960 and start feeling that vibe. You know they’re so good, everybody is so good in each department that by the time I walk on to a set I’m feeling however old I need to be, I’m kinda there. And believe me, when I did the 69, I felt like I was 69. I am not kidding you, that was long first week and I felt every ache and pain in my body, I’m 70 years old.

Q; So the Comedian gets killed because on a plan so he’s sorta the counter point to Adrian, Adrian is the guy who seems to be the nice guy but he really actually has thei plan. You’re the guy who’s a scumbag but wants to stop this whole thing. You as a person, which side do you come in? That’s the great thing about Watchmen, you can argue either side of it, where do you sort of. . .

Jeffrey: Well being the Comedian I’m going to battle with the Comedian, I’m going to go with his side. In any character you do, especially something like Watchmen, if you’re gonna do this you’re gonna do this right, I’m fighting for the Comedian every step of the way, there’s not even a question, Adrian is a scumbag. 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.

Q: So what’s your reaction to being a toy? Or soon to be a toy?

Jeffrey: Again you just to go to the scope of this is so friggin’ amazing, I mean who ever expects to be a toy. I duuno man, I haven’t seen one yet, when I do I’ll probably get the giggles and be very excited and sleep with the damn thing, who knows.

Q: We’ve seen them actually.

Jeffrey: Oh you have? You guys have seen the toys? God! Where, I wanna see one! Oh, I’m excited. I mean, all this stuff, I mean the possibilities I guess, I mean who knows. Video games and toys and. . . It’s just huge, I’ve never been in anything near like this, and it’s just a monstrosity, and you don’t realize how big it is until you sit down and talk to you guys or you go on the internet and seethe passion that people have for this thing, it’s . . . I’ve never seen anything like it. Which is why I think, you know, god these people are staying so true to this. I can hardly wait for people to see it because I know it’s not going to disappoint.

Q: That said, knowing how big the fanbase is out there, it is intimidating for you to come into this role with so much on your shoulders, so much responsibility?

Jeffrey: It is a little bit. I had no idea coming in, I think, originally when I got the role I didn’t think. . I absolutely had no idea how kinda big and important it is to so many people. And I think as we get closer to the countdown of this thing coming out. Right now we’re so kinda involved in the making of it that we kinda blocked out as much as we can. I kinda shame myself for even looking at the internet, it sorta freaks me out a little bit. And this is a year and half before the movie is even going to come out, people are already ripping us apart. So I don’t know if I should go on the internet anymore and read anything because it is a little intimidating. You want everybody to be happy, the thing is I know in my gut everybody’s going to be exceedingly happy, but you don’t need to have any doubts. So going on the internet and hearing people bitch and moan, we’ll be worried about how we’re making this movie. All I can say is no one will be disappointed. But the passion, I’ve never seen a group of people so passionate about a project ever. It is intimidating, I’m not gonna lie. The Comedian’s not intimidated, Jeffery Dean Morgan is a little intimidated.

Q: Of the stuff you haven’t shot yet, what are you looking forward to the most?

Jeffrey: I’m really looking forward to Vietnam. And also the Watchmen headquarters stuff is going to be fun just because everybody will be there too. There’s very few scenes in the movie where we’re all together, you know, there’s just not. And that’s one of the few scenes where we’ll all be there, we’ll all get to bounce off each other and that will be fun. It’s such a great cast, it’s just a really good, generous. . . great actors, with the exception of me, that I think it’s going to be a lot of fun kinda being with everybody. ‘Cause we all work on kinda these weird schedules where we never see each other, we’re all up here in Vancouver and we’re like ships in the night. So I’m looking forward to those days, just kinda all of us together.

Q: Is tomorrow the first day you guys are all filming together?

Jeffrey: Indeed. Yeah, yeah, so we’ll get to see everybody in their costumes, and everybody’s pretty excited about it. Except for me, I gotta get up at like four in the morning.

Q: That ship in the night aspect must give you a little bit of play when you have to do the ensemble scenes because you are kinda the outsider.

Jeffrey: Yeah I like it, it’s actually not bad for me not hanging out with everybody all the time, because I think it’ll. . . . As much as I like everybody, at the same time as an actor it’s kind of. . . there’s a certain dynamic if I’m not hanging out with these guys 24/7 that it will bring something to the set a little bit different. I don’t want to be friendly with anybody, obviously, in the course of these scenes, the Comedians not very friendly to anybody, except for maybe Lorie. So yeah, we just haven’t spent a lot of time together, but we did right at the beginning, we had dinner a lit while we were training. I think it’s more kinda the in and at it, we’re all kinda excited to see everybody in costume, in character. I mean we sorta see each other, we pass. . . I mean literally someone will be coming in at 4 in the morning while someone else is leaving, it’s just sorta crazy like that so . . . we’ll see, it’s going to be cool though, it’s going to be really cool.

Want more “Watchmen” coverage:

Collider Goes to the Set of WATCHMEN

Director Zack Snyder On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

Patrick Wilson On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

Matthew Goode On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

Jackie Earle Haley On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

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