** SPOILER ALERT** Jeffrey Dean Morgan: 'The Walking Dead premiere episode nearly broke me'
Jeffrey Dean Morgan was "completely drained" after shooting the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead.
The 50-year-old actor stars as the villainous Negan in the hit U.S. zombie drama, and used his barbed wire covered baseball bat, nicknamed Lucille, to claim the lives of Steven Yeun's Glenn and Michael Cudlitz's Abraham in the first episode of the new series of the programme.
Following its premiere on Sunday (23Oct16), Jeffrey admitted shooting the brutal and vicious scenes took a dramatic toll on him as an actor.
"That whole episode was hard, and also because I did go through and smack everybody with Lucille at a certain point," he told Interview magazine. "Everybody took a hit. All of that was hard. It got to the point where I didn't want to do it anymore... Emotionally I was completely drained - all of us were, I would imagine. Andy (Andrew Lincoln) and I just went through the ringer."
Jeffrey added that the shooting was even more difficult because he respects his fellow cast members so much and having to do “horrible things” time and time again was exhausting.
He also explains that while the episode was just 40 minutes long, shooting it was "10 days of that, every day, all day".
Despite his comments, playing Negan has seen Jeffrey's profile rise exponentially. And taking on the role of such an evil character has been something the actor has thoroughly enjoyed.
"I love playing a villain. I think that there's something freeing about that, and it's a different kind of challenge," he explained. "More than anything, for me as an actor, it's about challenging myself and doing as many different things as I can. I don't know that I feel comfortable playing a villain; as a matter of fact I probably don't feel comfortable, which is why I like it so much."
- Cover Media