The Walking Dead season 6 finale divided fans, but most were happy with the performance of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, the notorious, baseball-yielding villain from the comics. What some fans of the show don’t know is that the character was originally based on former Black Flag frontman and Sons of Anarchy actor Henry Rollins, who revealed in an interview with Forbes that he actually ended up auditioning for the part.
“Since I didn’t get the part I can tell you this. I was up for the role of Negan because Charlie Adlard, who worked on the comic book, based that guy on me and so I was a shoo-in for an audition. The internet was wild with speculation because in the upcoming season they were going to introduce the character.
“A woman that works in my office put my name and the character’s name into an internet search and all this speculation came up. I went for the audition and there were five pages of really cool dialogue with all these curses and it was beautiful, but I didn’t get it. I later saw a photograph of the guy who did get it and he looks almost exactly like the comic book rendering.
“The woman at my office watched the episode where he turns up, the dialogue that I auditioned with was in the show and she said, ‘It should have been you.’ Obviously it wasn’t or this conversation would be very different but that happened. I had to sign one of those documents where you can’t talk about it but now it’s over and done with… so yeah, I was up for that part.
“I get great auditions, I auditioned for stuff like Narcos too, but rarely does anything come my way. What usually comes my way is a no audition thing like The Last Heist or He Never Died that the film’s writer, Jason Krawczyk, wrote with me in mind.
Rollins would have been great as Negan, but we love the effortless charisma Jeffrey Dean Morgan brings to the role and we’re excited to see his character develop into season 7, during which he will feature prominently. Rollins has starred in some big TV shows before, like SOA, where he portrayed AJ Weston, a high-ranking member of the white supremacist group the Aryan Brotherhood.