EW: Playing crazy – for lack of a better word — I imagine for an actor can be pretty scary because you’re really putting yourself out there when you do that. If everything doesn’t work out right, it can come off looking silly.
LENNIE JAMES: If you start thinking, Oh, this could be dodgy and not very good, then in a way you’re already censoring yourself and already holding yourself back. And that’s not fun. In this utterly unreal and surreal world of The Walking Dead, I’ve got to find moments of reality. And this guy when we left him was a man at a window who could not shoot his wife who had become a zombie, and that’s already crazy. And then when we meet him again, he’s a man who couldn’t shoot his wife who had become a zombie for an even longer period of time, and then only came up and shot her after she had already bitten his son to turn him into a zombie, and then he had to kill his son as well. If you look at the logic within the world of this guy, that is going to leave you with nothing but depths of grief and guilt and craziness.
And I don’t think about Morgan as me playing a crazy man. I think about Morgan as me playing a guy who has gone through this series of events and is trying to find some way of surviving. And he’s got to survive. He tried to kill himself and that didn’t work, so he’s come up with what is for him this perfectly logical reason why he is still around, and the logical reason why he is still around is that he’s here for a purpose. The fact that he was punished for not killing must mean that somebody somewhere has put him here for a purpose, and that purpose is to kill. And that’s his logic. And he said he’s there to “clear.” The walkers have been a plague on his life and they are a plague in this world and he’s got to clear that plague. That’s his logic. Is it crazy to everybody else? Yes. Is it crazy to Morgan? At this stage, absolutely not.
Morgan seems to be a pretty instrumental character at this stage because he’s almost like a warning sign to Rick, who’s having his own mental stability issues. Was that conveyed to you in terms of Rick’s story at this point?
No, but I’m a smart enough fellow to figure out right at the beginning there was the possibility of Morgan being a mirror to Rick in the sense that they are both fathers of sons and they end being two men who have lost wives and they’re two men who have taken on a sense of responsibility in this world. In the first episode, there’s a moment where Morgan shakes Rick’s hand and says “You’re a good man, Rick.” And I think it’s two good men at that stage. And like I said before, we are aware of Rick’s journey because that’s what we’ve been watching over the last three seasons. But we’ve been unaware of Morgan’s journey because we haven’t seen it. So when they do come together, he is kind of a mirror to Rick. He’s kind of going, however bad you think it’s been for you, thank God you’re not me, And whatever choices you take in the future, look at the mistakes I’ve made, both in the first episode and in this one. It’s relevant that Morgan has acted as a teacher to Rick. And in this one it’s a lot about look after your son, and don’t go too far down the crazy road. And I think that’s his message. And for Morgan, Rick represents the ability to hold onto your humanity in this world of The Walking Dead, where most people are losing theirs.
It’s been two and a half seasons since we last saw Morgan. Can we hope that it won’t be so long before he pops up again?
I have no idea. If it is two and a half years, then one thing is for sure and that is that The Walking Dead is an even more successful show than it is at this moment in time. I love working with Andy and have enjoyed my time in Atlanta on The Walking Dead so whenever they will or won’t want me again and if I can make myself available to them I will make myself available to them. I enjoy playing this guy. I enjoy my time down there. But the answer to that question — as before — was never in my hands.
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