When it was announced that the always fantastic Jeffrey Dean Morgan was cast as Negan on The Walking Dead, it was like a dream come true. (Or a nightmare, depending on your views.) But the character being cast is just one obstacle, and now the show has to actually allow Negan to do the things he did on the comic page, and one of those things is curse like a motherfucking sailor. It’s going to be difficult to get a lot of that past the censors, but Morgan is optimistic that TV viewers will get as close an adaptation of the character as possible.
While speaking about Negan’s language being an issue, Morgan had this to say about what he thinks will make it to audiences next year.
We’re going to push AMC — the plan is to push them as far as they can because it’s who Negan is. He uses some colorful language. And I use some colorful language. And reading the comic, it’s important. So we’ll see where that lands. It’s our intention that this character is going to leap off the pages of the comic book. It’s very important that that’s who it is. Some of the characters there’s much more leeway, but Negan is a guy that you want to keep as true as possible, and that would be how I want to play him as well.
Sounds like excellence to me. Now, I know it might sound like petty whining to some people hearing fans complain that Negan not being able to curse willy nilly is a detriment to the character, and it possibly is, in the grand scheme of things. But we’re talking about a guy who, rather than saying “Oh darn,” will utter a string of “Fuckity fuck fuck” phrasings to get his anger across. Negan is just as likely to call someone, even a person he’s fond of, a cocksucker rather than use that person’s real name. Even when he’s happy, he’s dropping F-bombs like he’s allergic to them just sitting in his mouth. If Negan comes into The Walking Dead using watered-down euphemisms for foul language, I’m pretty sure there will be a revolt.
AMC is actually no stranger to allowing characters to get sporadically vulgar with their language, since the network execs allowed Breaking Bad to get a “fuck” in, with limitations, of course. I can’t imagine they’ll just let the scripts be peppered with obscenities, but perhaps the creative team will film unedited alternate takes and deleted scenes to allow Negan to speak freely on Blu-rays and DVDs. Or they could just bleep him a lot. I’ll take either, really.
Indeed, even while giving his answers to EW for the interview, Morgan wasn’t able to keep a clean mouth, saying he is “really fucking excited” to have this job, for one. If that’s not a good sign, then I don’t know what is.
Having just aired its midseason finale, The Walking Dead is now gearing up for an action-packed second half of Season 6, which will return to AMC on Sunday, February 14.