Jeffrey Dean Morgan says "Rampage" makes him smile
Writer: Florey DM
Jeffrey Dean Morgan just couldn't help smiling when he was on set as Agent Russell.
We've told you about our experience visiting the set of "Rampage" in Atlanta and our little talk with The Rock there. Now we'll share with you our little chat with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Agent Harvey Russell, in the movie.
Agent Russell "just got a lot of swagger and a sense of humour", as Morgan puts it, "all kinds of stuff I like to play as an actor". Working for the OGA (Other Government Agency), the agent is tasked to clean up the mess when giant creatures suddenly start going on a rampage and attacking everything in their paths. This means going up against Dwayne Johnson's Davis Okoye who just wants to keep his gorilla BFF, George, safe, even though the latter keeps growing in size and is turning more violent.
Morgan is a funny guy in real life and his sense of humour translates onto the big screen, making his character a delight to watch.
Despite saying that he doesn't create backstories for his characters, he did admit that for Agent Russell at least he imagines him as someone who grew up on a ranch in Texas, which wasn't hard for him to identify with since he himself currently lives on a farm where he has cattle and alpacas.
Here's more of what Jeffrey Dean Morgan shared with us on his latest movie, "Rampage":
Morgan with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Naomie Harris.
Cinema Online: Do you think this movie adaptation is a fresh take on the video game and what did you think of the script when you first read it?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Very, very fresh take being that I didn't know it was a video game. When I read the script, it made me smile. Studio films these days are just kinda turned into this big monster, monster means huge, they're franchises, and I haven't really done one.
I've done a couple comic book adaptations. "Watchmen" was part of the biggest film I've done. And to date, as far as scale and budget and the monstrosity of it all, this is that and more. I was just on set unloading like 4 clips of machine gun fire into a giant gorilla and Brad has to come and say "can you stop smiling", you know, because I'm having a good time. And that's exactly what I did when I read the script, I smiled. It's the kind of movie I wanna take my kid to. I like this character so much and frankly I wanted to work with Dwayne and Naomie and what a great opportunity, we have a great time making a movie that people are going to enjoy.
You didn't play the video game the movie is based on?
I didn't. I was a kid that grew up outside. We didn't have video game in my house as a kid growing up. And now I have a son of my own who's seven who, if he could be on my phone right now, I bet, all day playing video games, he would. I'm kind of looking forward to "Rampage" being relaunched hopefully after this movie so we can play the video game together.
I didn't play video games but I read comics because I used to spend a lot of time at my grandma's house and my dad's youngest brother collected comics. I remember being 7 or 8 years old and just riffling through boxes and boxes of old comic books. Batman was my personal favourite. I still read "Watchmen" now and again, believe it or not.
I've read a lot of "The Walking Dead", although I've kind of cut myself off right now because I don't like to know exactly what I'm doing looking forward, I like it to be kind of new and we deviate enough from the comic books to where I don't wanna argue with the producers whether Negan says it this way or he says this.
Agent Russell in one of his sort of serious moments.
Okay, well, how about monster movies, do you watch those?
Cinema Online, 21 April 2018
I grew up with those movies. I just recently, actually while we were shooting this movie ("Rampage"), saw the new "Kong: Skull Island". Those are movies that I love still. I watch them on the plane or in the hotel. My wife doesn't wanna watch those. She wants to watch "The Color Purple" or something. I need my kid to get a little bit older so that he'll join me. But I still to these days watch all of those. I love giant stuff.
This movie is mostly green screen and CGI compared to "The Walking Dead", how is it different working on it?
You have to be keenly aware. I don't want to be giggling because I'm looking at a guy in a motion capture suit – and I have the tendency to giggle. I'm a guy who can break easily. There's just been a couple of times when [Dwayne and I] just look at each other and we just get the giggles, in the middle of the scene.
Was it a challenge then playing Agent Russell?
I think every role you try to challenge yourself in some way. For me, this character he's a bit of a cowboy, he wears big belt buckle, carries around a big gun and he wears cowboy boots and he's got an accent. I think I was more concerned about that aspect. The challenge for me as an actor is always giving exposition and this character gives a little bit of exposition. He performs kind of to explain to the audience what's going on here, and trying to make it watchable and interesting is a challenge but this movie for me has been fun.
Obviously, there'll be stunts to do in an action movie like this and you actually do your own stunts?
I just turned 51 and I was bouncing off the ground yesterday quite a few times. I love doing stunts and obviously the show that I've joined ("The Walking Dead") I spend a lot of time fighting and killing stuff. So I don't know how that's happened, I thought as I got older in age there'll be a lot less of taking these hits but yesterday I was in a fight with a 40-foot gorilla and I was getting bounced all over the inside of a plane.
I woke up this morning and I felt every one of those hits. Last night I was like "Oh I'm doing good, I think I'm okay" and this morning I could barely get out of my bed but I love it. I love being able to do stunts. I'm no Tom Cruise, I don't insist on doing everything myself but I do like the physicality. I'll take 5 or 6 though and I'm like "Wait a second, I'm sure we've got it already". But it's fun, I'm not gonna lie, I feel it a lot more than when I did "Watchmen" 13 years ago.