Fans tend to treat the actors who play their favourite movie and TV heroes with a lot of love and respect, so it stands to reason that they would treat the stars who bring the most evil villains to life on screen with contempt and hatred. For example, one of the biggest bad guys in pop culture right now is The Walking Dead‘s Negan, as played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Unfortunately for him, though, it seems audience members hold him accountable for his character’s crimes.
While speaking to The Independent, Morgan was asked if he was haunted by Negan, at all. He replied “absolutely” before revealing that people in the street often either give him a hard time or just straight up fling abuse at him because of his villainous TV role.
“I’m kind of the opposite. I don’t want to say I’m a super nice guy all the time, I don’t want to screw up anybody’s nefarious bastard outlook on me, but I am not the character that I play on television… Really I have people look at me as if I am going to take out a baseball bat and crack them in the head at any given moment so as much as I kind of like that respect that I get now, or maybe lack thereof – I get a lot of ‘screw yous’, only not that nice, from across the street.”
“I can see men come up to me and size themselves up, like they are going to take a swing at me because I maybe hurt one of their favourite characters on television, which I always find slightly amusing. And God forbid if I look on social media and the hate that I get there.”
Morgan’s a tough guy, though, so he’s managed to mostly take it in stride. He understands that many people get invested in The Walking Dead and it’s also his most famous role, as it’s the one he’s most associated with. Plus, he did say that he does encounter “nice people,” too, who’ve followed his career and understand that he isn’t just Negan.
“When you’re playing a nefarious bastard that kind of comes with the territory and you have to embrace that and I have. I think that a lot of people have maybe followed my career and those are the nice people but if you were just a Walking Dead fan then you pretty much hate my guts.”
It’s possible that Morgan’s abuse from fans might abate a little now, as yesterday’s season 8 finale of the AMC zombie drama finally brought Negan’s reign of terror to an end. In a shocking move, however, Rick decided to spare the head Savior’s life, so it’s possible that the villain will cause more havoc in the future. Although, if the TV show broadly follows the path of the comics, Negan should be safely locked away for the foreseeable future.
That said, Morgan is still stretching his legs as other villains in different projects, so that might not do anything to dispel his public image as a bad guy. For instance, The Walking Dead actor can be seen in Dwayne Johnson’s Rampage, which is in cinemas now.