Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the Comedian) talks WATCHMEN

     December 9, 2007

Before this article begins, I want to be very clear. Everything you are about to read or listen to was recorded at yesterdays junket for “P.S. I Love You.”

Now the reason you’re here. Yesterday I was able to talk with Jeffrey Dean Morgan as he was in town promoting “P.S. I Love You.” Needless to say, while most of the room wanted to talk about working with Hilary and the experience of filming in Ireland, I was the black sheep that wanted to spend every moment talking about “Watchmen,” which he’s in the middle of filming.

If you didn’t know, Jeffrey is playing the Comedian in Zack Snyder’s movie adaptation of the famous Alan Moore graphic novel, and while the movie is still a long way from arriving in theaters, I’m sure you’re all just as curious as I am to hear how filming has been going and what the experience has been like.

So when you read the Q&A below, just know that while I asked a lot of the questions, I didn’t ask all of them. The interview was conducted in roundtable form and there were about 8 or so people in the room.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the MP3 by clicking here. You can expect the full transcript of the interview next week.

For people who don’t know… you’re in “Watchman” and 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Have you filmed the Vietnam sequences yet?

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

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.

You need a lot of sound stages.

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

And you, for one, like working there.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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