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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Talks About 'Watchmen'

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Takes a Walk on the Wild Side as The Comedian

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Talks About 'Watchmen'

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian in 'Watchmen'

© Warner Bros Pictures
Jeffrey Dean Morgan explores the dark side as The Comedian in Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder (300) and based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. And speaking of Moore and Gibbons, the former never endorses films inspired by his stories whereas the latter is a big supporter of this Watchmen. And in fact it was seeing Morgan in his costume as The Comedian that helped Gibbons believe in this Watchmen adaptation.

Watchmen is set in 1985 in an alternate reality where costumed crime-fighters were once considered heroic protectors of America's citizens. Forced to hang up their costumes by the passage of the Keane Act, these former masked crime-fighters are now being killed off by an unknown enemy. The Comedian's the first of their kind to die, and Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) - a member of the group who never stopped dishing out vigilante justice - is determined to find out the identity of the killer.

Morgan's biggest fight scene in Watchmen involves The Comedian being on the receiving end of some brutal-looking punches. "I didn’t get to land one. I’m still mad about, I was like, 'Just let me hit him one time, for crying out loud,' said Morgan, laughing. "I put up a good fight but not one punch lands. 'God, let me connect.' We did so much, there was so much training. We just were talking about this… I was in Vancouver two months prior to shooting, just because of that opening fight. And every day was working on the how to take a punch and how to not hit somebody apparently."

The Comedian is a man who would rather kill his adversary than try to reason with his enemy, even if that person is a female. Asked how he felt about that aspect of the character, Morgan replied, "Well, it’s kind of who he is unfortunately. How’d I feel as Jeff? Look, I don’t go around beating women, so it’s a little bit different for me, but there were a couple moments in that, that were hard for me to do as an actor, just because it’s just kind of so…those are vicious hits. It’s not like you’re pushing somebody against the wall, not that that’s right either. But I mean just a smack down and I give her [Carla Gugino] a beat down, and there’s just nothing nice about it. We weren’t obviously holding back anything. You’re looking at a graphic novel, a comic book, where you’re seeing, I think that whole, the Sally Jupiter, you’re looking at like four panels of that sequence and so to fill in those blanks, and you’re filling in those blanks with what would be the reality of it and it’s vicious. There’s just no other way about it, and we took no prisoners in anything in this movie. I think we did it as real as we possibly could. And the fight scenes in particular are, they’re not pretty fight scenes. They’re not real stylized. They’re more, especially I think Comedian and Rorschach, these guys will just bite you and kick you in the balls. They were just brutal."

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Career

In addition to recently appearing in a few romantic comedies, Morgan added to his fan base by playing Denny in the hit TV series Grey's Anatomy. But Denny fans aren't going to find many similarities between Morgan's role in this and in Grey's Anatomy. "Oh, I think they’re in for a shock," laughed Morgan. "I may lose a couple of Grey’s Anatomy fans, but I’ll gain some Watchmen fans, so it’s an even trade."

Morgan's been keeping very busy the past few years, and he's extremely grateful for the work. "You never know man," said Morgan, reflecting on his career and the opportunities he's been offered. "I just feel exceedingly lucky and humbled by the last four years. I never had a comeback to have, I’ve been doing this for f--king 20 years and kind of before everything sort of hit at once, all the television stuff, I was done. I was like, 'This isn’t working, I made a bad career choice. I put all my eggs in one basket, and I’m going to be 40 soon and I can’t pay my rent. This is ridiculous, what have I done?' And it’s just, in this business, a lot of it is luck, and there’s a lot of really good actors out there that you’ll never get to meet. And then there’s a lot of crappy actors out there who you get to sit and talk to all the time. It’s just a weird business."

Morgan added, "So to get this opportunity and be sitting here and talking about Watchmen and being a part of this movie, it’s a pinch yourself kind of moment."

Morgan's not going to start buying into the hype at this point in his career. He knows offers can dry up and that helps keep him humble. "It wasn’t long ago when things were really bad. And I think it helps kind of when things happen, when good things happen a little bit later in life," said Morgan. "It’s not like Jackie [Earle Haley] and I are going to be out whooping it up with Paris Hilton down on Sunset Boulevard. I don’t think the likelihood of that happening is very good. What’s important is the work now, it’s not the scene. And right now I think[…]it’s about making the right decisions in our life, in our careers. Right now that’s kind of the most exciting thing about being able to do a movie like this, is now the scripts that we get to read are a lot better than they used to be, as well. And that’s kind of a cool thing. But it’s just we’re really lucky."

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