Last year Jeffrey Dean Morgan received critical acclaim for his performance as Edward Blake, aka The Comedian in Zack Snyder’s controversial big screen adaptation of the graphic novel Watchman.
He’s now starring in another movie based on a graphic novel – The Losers. In it he portrays Clay, the leader of an elite Special Forces unit sent to the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. But when he and his team are double-crossed by their boss, Max, they go deep undercover to plot their revenge. Their opportunity comes swiftly when Clay is approached by a mysterious woman named Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who says she will help them achieve their mission of putting Max out of business.
At the press day for the movie, Jeffrey Dean Morgan spoke about his role and his big fight scene with Zoe Saldana.
Can you tell us a little about your character?
His rank is colonel and that had defined him. Without that he has to question who he is, but he still has to lead this ragtag group. The leadership thing came naturally to me. It helped that I’m older than most of the guys in the movie, so I immediately wanted to kick their butts.
Clay is a hardened man, but he has a definite sense of humor and I loved the dry wit of the script. That can be difficult for a writer to capture on the page and a tricky thing for an actor to deliver. But I’m pretty sarcastic in real life. In fact, I tend to be even a little dryer than Clay, so that worked well for me in playing the part.
You and the other actors went through training together for this movie – did that help you bond?
There is a shorthand between those guys, a special camaraderie, and I think we captured that. Within one or two days, we realized it had fallen into place as far as us all feeling like one team, with Sylvain White (the director) as the maestro.
What was the most challenging scene for you?
I think all the big fight scenes, the stuff with Zoe and Idris (Elba). We spent a lot of time choreographing those fights and they’d change on the day. It’s hard stuff, and we didn’t have the luxury of spending a week doing a scene.
We shot the hotel scene, with Zoe and me, in a day and a half. It was pretty hot, the flames in that room were real, so filming that scene really stood out for me.
The conclusion stuff with me and Idris was shot in a day. That fight got changed at the eleventh hour. We had choreographed something for two months in Puerto Rico and we shot it in LA actually and it was a completely different fight than we had anticipated.
So, that stuff was a big challenge. It’s hard getting up off the pavement twenty times and doing it again.
What was tougher, the love scene or the fight scene with Zoe?
The love scene, yeah, that was hard. I had a rough day that day! ‘I need another take, just one more Slyvain [he laughs]. I don’t feel like she flipped her hair right on that one.’
Technically the fight was much harder. Zoe and I, the whole cast, were very comfortable around each other from day one.
So, the challenging part was that fight was a huge challenge for both of us physically and in trying to also get the tone of what we were trying to accomplish in that scene which I think we did.
The love scene, man, bring that on! I’ve got Zoe Saldana sitting in my lap naked, yeah rough.
What was it like shooting in Puerto Rico?
It’s a beautiful place, but the heat and humidity were unrelenting.
Add a black suit and about 60 pounds’ worth of guns and gear, and it made filming the action scenes a special challenge.
You can’t drink enough water because no matter where or when you’re shooting, you’re drenched in sweat. But the good news is you’re bound to lose a lot of weight.
Talk about the puppy you adopted in Puerto Rico
I adopted a little pup that wandered out of the jungle in Puerto Rico and promptly was hit by a car. We all kind of took care of him for a while. He is with me. I’ve got a little piece of The Losers and Puerto Rico with me at all times now.
What’s his name?
Bandit. He was Bandito in Puerto Rico and now it’s shortened to Bandit ’cause I’m screaming at him all the time. He’s really cute, he’s an awesome dog.
What kind of dog is he?
A Puerto Rican jungle dog.