When Jeffrey Dean Morgan was first approached about starring in Rampage, the big budget monster movie adaptation of the arcade classic, he jumped at the chance.
Currently busy playing Negan, the psychotic baseball bat swinging villain on The Walking Dead, the film offered a chance to do something different: play one of the good guys.
“I will do anything to take a break from the Negan of it all, because that character has sort of defined my career,” he tells loaded. “People have forgotten everything I did before, so hopefully I can find something to do after that can help me getting out of Negan mode.”
Not that he cares all that much about fans of the show despising him. “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people hating me. I play a villain on a television show that people are very passionate about. I would have it no other way. I don’t mind people hating me. I expected it going in and it doesn’t bother me now.”
Morgan readily admits that there have been some rather odd encounters with fans along the way though. Encounters that often involve the actor being on the receiving end of a fair amount of verbal abuse. He’s at peace with it, of course. Or near enough, anyway.
“You deal with people also that think The Walking Dead is this documentary. Like I go around killing people. It’s a weird world to be in.”
Working on Rampage around the same time as The Walking Dead, Morgan readily admits “there’s a bit of Negan” in his character, Agent Harvey Russell which he believes is “what happens when you’re doing two roles and not sleeping.”
But there was something else that jumped out at him about Rampage. Or someone. “The real reason I did this more than anything was to do a big monster movie with Dwayne Johnson and that’s the honest truth.
“When I read the script, he [Agent Russell] was my favourite character,” Morgan said. “There was this sense of cockiness and sense of humour. And I was lucky enough to have a lot of chemistry with Dwayne.”
A mutual friend had been looking for a project to bring Morgan and Johnson together and finally found it with Rampage, an enjoyably big and brash video game movie adaptation.
“I wish I could say he was less than awesome,” Morgan jokes. “We had similar sensibilities and sense of humour. I’d been hearing how amazing he was, in terms of films and interviews and what he was doing for the community.”
“I honestly don’t know how he is able to do all the stuff he does. He’s the number one movie star in the world, he’s producing, he’s doing SNL, he’s doing Apple stuff, he’s doing Reebok and he’s a family man. I can’t even do one of those things.”
And does Morgan believe Johnson could one day take on the ultimate role: President of the United States? “I would sure as hell give him a shot.”
Given the current state of play, we probably would too.
Rampage is in cinemas now.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.