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Published On: Mon, Mar 28th, 2016

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Greg Nictero discuss Negan’s profanity

AMC’s The Walking Dead is getting close the finale and fans are eager to finally witness the arrival of Jeffrey Dean Morgan‘s brutal villain Negan.

EW talked to Morgan and three of the show’s top producers, creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Scott M. Gimple, and producer-director Greg Nicotero –  about how they will deal with the language barrier: adapting the F-word centered, foul mouth character for cable TV.

“Look, it’s a speed bump. I’m not going to say it’s an issue because they’re working on it. 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,” Morgan explains.

Lucille up close

Lucille up close

“And 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.”

Nicotero details how AMC considered and may have filmed different versions.

“…We’ve talked about that. Even back when Michael Cudlitz was cast as Abraham we were like, ‘Damn, how are we going to deal with Abraham’s dialogue?’ And I think Gimple went, ‘Yeah, Abraham’s dialogue is fine. It’s Negan that we’re going to have problems with because every other word of Negan’s is f—.’ There is a rhythm to it that even in some of the takes that we did. What I affectionately call the ‘f— takes’ have a completely different rhythm to them and a completely different feel. So while editing it, I was very careful to make sure that I preserved a lot of the performance without getting myself into trouble with the profanity.”

Gimple finally opened up about the approach, how to bring the profane and violent character to life.

“I’m still finishing up season 6, so there are still aspects of these questions that I’m figuring out. But I will say that my goal is for, at the very least, in some way — might not be all the time, and it might not even be directly through your TV box — that people will be able to get full-octane Negan. I’m still playing around with it, but I will say I do have the material two ways right now. I’ll see what I can do with it. One way or another I want people to see full-octane Negan. Will I be able to shoot every scene like that? Probably not, but to tell you the truth, I think we will get as close to the version of full-octane Negan as we can through some version of the show or another.”

Kirkman points to the Blu-Ray release as a full-throttle, profanity filled reveal.

“I would say that there are certain words that try as I might, we are not allowed to say on AMC, and those are certain words that Negan likes to say. So those words are going to be filmed, and people are going to be able to get those words, but there are definitely some broadcast limitations that we’re going to have to deal with. We’re sorting that out now, but I will say that, worst-case scenario, the extras will be extra-special on Blu-ray. I mean, we’re trying to explore some other more interesting options, but that’s the bare minimum of what we’ll be doing.”

 

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