“Pissing our pants yet? Boy, do I have a feeling we’re getting close. It’s gonna be pee-pee pants city here real soon” Meet Negan, or rather UK Negan, who looks so much like Jeffrey Dean Morgan it’s uncanny. The first time I saw a photo, I was convinced that it was Jeffrey. Better yet, he’s got the character’s voice and mannerisms down to a tee. UK Negan was very kind in giving us his time and answering our questions.
Negan is an incredible character from The Walking Dead, what drew you to him?
Nothing really! I had started to watch the series and got up to series 3 and kind of fell out of love with it. I do some occasional film work and it wasn’t until my eldest son Callum sent me a pic of Negan and I thought it was a pic of me on set somewhere. I had lots of friends start to get in touch on Facebook saying I look so much like him and my good friend Karen suggested I cosplay him. I researched his clothes which wasn’t that hard, got my son Ewan to take some pictures and it went mad after that. The more I watched him the more I came to hate and love him. The humour in his violence is I suppose the strongest attraction for me.
Although many see Negan as the antagonist in The Walking Dead, do you think he’s a product of a world where survival has made him who he is?
Absolutely. If the storyline had been following Negan rather than Rick from the start he would be seen as the hero rather than the villain. Even if that were not the case it wasn’t Negan who tried to get rid of a husband, or murder sleeping Saviours, killing your best friend. The advantage of Negan is that he’s what is called a high functioning sociopath. You know what you are getting with Negan, he’s always crazy but crazy for a reason. Every action that Negan takes is considered, he just doesn’t bump people off for no reason. Rick is the dangerous one, he’s the one that could just go mad, and he frequently does in TWD. To me, they all have to do what needs to be done to get by. Negan just has a different style to Rick and the Governor!
Negan was inspired by Henry Rollins, but do you think he could have done as good a job as Jeffrey has done?
I didn’t know that, my son Callum is a huge fan of Henry Rollins so I’m surprised he didn’t let me know! I think its very difficult to answer that one. JDM has grabbed the role by the throat and totally made it his own. With such great writing I think any actor could have made it work but there is such a small degree between being good and being great. Rollins (please forgive me) is slightly too old to play him, although his portrayal of the Nazi A J Weston in Sons of Anarchy was superb and has Neganesque qualities!
When I first saw your photo, I really did think it was Jeffrey Dean Morgan, how much fun do you have in seeing people do double takes at seeing you?
I get a lot of people convinced they have met JDM or the real Negan and its great fun! Of course at comicons people expect to see different characters and I play up to it. I try and do his voice and mannerisms. I was the official Negan lookalike at this year’s Walker Stalker event in London. I did the eenymeeny scene for them and had them on their knees, the look on their faces as I popped around the corner was brilliant. The best response was when we were sitting outside at a coffee shop near Olympia dressed normally. Lots of people were walking past and staring and stopping and taking pics and a few came up for selfies. A couple of chaps stopped and took selfies and as I went to tell them I wasn’t really JDM realised they were both deaf. I’ve been asked if I was JDM in hospital, in car parks even in my home town. Its great fun!
What has been the best reaction you’ve had so far as Negan?
I think it was when I went to try and look around Walker Stalker and managed to make 20 yards in about 90 minutes. It was my first ever event cos playing anyone and I was a bit overwhelmed, people were queuing three and four deep to take pics. The strangest thing I hear a lot of the time is that I look more like Negan than Negan? Very strange!
Has Jeffrey Dean Morgan seen your cosplay himself, and if so what was his reaction?
I was lucky enough to meet him backstage at WSC. He looked at me I looked at him, I said he looked awesome he said the same, we had a nice manhug and a very brief chat. I occasionally pester him on Instagram but he’s yet to like any my pics!
As an ex-squaddie did you ever come across people who had very Negan like qualities?
Ah yes definitely! In basic training I had a PTI (physical training instructor) who loved to beast us for miles across Dartmoor carrying telegraph poles. He was very much like Negan in that he always smiled when placing his foot on the back of your head whilst you did press-ups…ah the good old days!
Asides from Negan you are a part time actor, what roles have you played and have particularly enjoyed?
I’ve only ever played background stuff but have been lucky enough to be in scenes with some great people including Martin Clunes, Charlie Hunnam and Pierce Brosnan. My favourite was playing Mr Rochester for Lucy Worseleys history program. I’m a big fan of her work and it was a genuine pleasure to be part of it, although only a very small part!
The comic con scene seems to be growing all the time, what do you put down to its success?
The days of a few super heroes has passed. When I was a kid there were only a few that were worthy of having films made ie Superman, Batman etc. Now the DC Marvel universe has exploded with hundreds of characters. I think fans want to feel more of a part of the whole world and perhaps escape the worries of the real world for a few hours. I am always amazed at the skill and the amount of work that many people put into their costumes. I always feel a fraud as all I’ve got to do is put a leather jacket on.
Nicole Klein – http://www.nicoleklein.co.uk/