Who made the film Morgan
On the set of "Rampage - Big Meets Bigger": The FILMSTARTS interview with Jeffrey Dean Morgan
MOVIE STARTS: "The Walking Dead" is also being filmed here in Atlanta - so you're busy jumping back and forth between monsters and zombies ...
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Yes, that's right - it's actually quite a busy city for me ...
MOVIE STARTS: What specifically appealed to you about this project?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I've already worked on a couple of comic adaptations and “Watchmen” was probably the biggest film in terms of budget and effort that I've played in so far. But this is all much bigger. It is just a dream for an actor to make a film like this. I just got off the set where I was shooting a huge gorilla with a machine gun - and our director Brad Peyton had to come over to tell me to stop grinning. It was so much fun. It's the kind of movie I want to watch with my kids. Plus, it's always great to make a movie that people will see too. I've made a lot of films that hardly anyone has seen.
MOVIE STARTS: Tell us a little bit about your character ...
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Agent Russell is part of the OGA for what Other Government Agency stands. He's a kind Man in Black, a very opaque, mysterious guy. The OGA intervenes in a crisis, which is why it also comes into play when the monster threatens. He's incredibly cocky, but also has a lot of dry sense of humor. As an actor, I really enjoy playing that, it was a lot of fun.
MOVIE STARTS: Did you come up with a backstory for the character?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I didn't do too much there. I'm not the type of actor who absolutely needs to create an extensive backstory for a character unless it's based on a real person. I'm more into the costume or the armament - those are the things that give me information about my character. I just imagine he grew up on a ranch in Texas and that's enough for me because I own a farm with cattle and alpacas. My life is often pretty crazy, but my farm keeps me from taking off. This situation here, for example, is not normal for me - to sit here and talk to you journalists. Clearing out a stall is normal for me. I work very hard and I go home and work even harder. This is how I imagine Russell as a hardworking worker.
MOVIE STARTS: What about the physical challenges in this role?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I'm damn old (laughs) I just turned 51 and hit the floor a few times yesterday. I like to do stunts and obviously I spend a lot of time fighting and killing on "The Walking Dead" too. I don't really know how that happened. I always thought I would take fewer hits as I got older, but yesterday I had a fight with a twelve-meter gorilla and I was thrown around in the interior of an airplane. When I woke up this morning, I noticed every single bump. Last night I thought I was fine, but this morning I could barely move out of bed. But I love it - I think it's great to be able to do stunts myself. I'm not a Tom Cruise, I don't insist on doing everything myself, but I like the physical challenge. I do it five or six times and then it's enough for me and I say: "Wait a minute, I'm sure there was definitely something useful in the previous takes!" It's fun, but I feel it all much more than at "Watchmen" 13 years ago.
MOVIE STARTS: Is there a lot of humor in the film?Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Yes there is. I think there is a lot of humor. Dwayne is a fun guy, he has a great sense of humor and is charming. In this film, too, he makes full use of these strengths. He carries most of the film on his shoulders and he does it with a charm that has brought him to the top of the list of the most successful movie stars. It's just fun to watch him on set - and it will be the same in the movie.
MOVIE STARTS: Do you like to watch monster films like "Rampage" or "Godzilla" yourself?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Yes, I've always looked at something like that. I grew up with films like this. It was only now while filming that I saw “Kong: Skull Island”. Those are still films that I think are great. But I usually watch them on the plane or when I'm on the move, because my wife doesn't really like to watch it - she prefers to see "The Color Purple". Maybe I can watch them with my child soon when they are a little older. Anyway, I still love to see all of these films. I love gigantic stuff.
MOVIE STARTS: Did you know a lot about the game the film is based on?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: No, I didn't know. I didn't grow up in a bigger city, so I didn't have the opportunity to play it at home. I now have a seven year old son who plays on my cell phone or iPad all day and I very much hope that “Rampage” will be released again after the film and that we can hopefully play the game together. Incidentally, the game helped me to make the film at all, because when I was called a few months ago and asked about my availability, it initially looked difficult to reconcile “The Walking Dead” and “Rampage”. But when Brad Peyton called our The Walking Dead producer Scott M. Gimple to ask if I could work on the movie as well as the series, I think it helped a lot that Scott knew the game, and back then also played himself.
MOVIE STARTS: In addition to "The Walking Dead", you also played in a few other comic adaptations. Did you read comics as a child?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Yes I have. I didn't play video games, but I read comics. I spent a lot of time at my grandma's house and my dad's youngest brother collected comics. So I had numerous boxes full of comic books, and Batman was my personal favorite.
MOVIE STARTS: Do you still read comics today?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I still read “Watchmen”. I've read The Walking Dead quite a bit, although I've stopped now because I don't want to know so much about what's going to happen in the story in the future. The series also does a lot of things differently than the comics anyway - so I don't necessarily have to read it to prepare for my role as Negan. It was completely different with “Watchmen”, almost every single comic page was taken over one-to-one. I looked very closely at what the comedian was doing in the comic and then did the same thing in front of the camera. Back then we never actually looked at the script, we always only looked at the graphic novel. It's different with “The Walking Dead”.
MOVIE STARTS: Which of the three "Rampage" creatures are you most excited to see on the big screen soon?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I spent most of the time with the giant gorilla. I look forward to seeing him. But actually I look forward to all of them because the people who create them are the best in the business. I honestly can't wait because on set I'm just looking at a piece of tape on the wall or someone holding up a long stick with a monkey head - and that's all I've seen so far. I can't wait to see what the monsters will look like in the end. Never have I ever made a movie with huge monsters. At least there was Doctor Manhattan in “Watchmen” - back then I always had to laugh while shooting because Billie Crudup was wearing a large diaper on set and was illuminated with blue light.
Here you can read the detailed report from our visit to the set - "Rampage - Big Meets Bigger" starts in German cinemas on May 10, 2018.
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