Jeffrey Dean Morgan has played Negan on The Walking Dead since the final scene of season 6 and now it’s hard to imagine the show without him. Though the series has had some rough spots over the past few years, it’s hard to deny that Morgan was the perfect casting for the former leader of the Saviors and a close match for the comic book character.
The casting process was a tough one for the role, however, with it being known that a number of actors were seen for the part, like Timothy Olyphant, Garret Dillahunt and Matt Dillon. A new star has now come forward to reveal that they were up for Negan, too, though, and apparently they were close to nabbing it from Morgan.
At the Scream panel at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta recently, Matthew Lillard – perhaps best known as Shaggy on Scooby-Doo – revealed that he was asked to audition for Negan and it went well. Nonetheless, he didn’t think he would get it.
“So I got a call. They said they want you to audition for The Walking Dead. It’s a big part. I’m like okay cool. I didn’t watch the show, sorry. So I went in to audition and they loved it. They were like wow they really loved it you’re in the running for this part. I’m like oh that’s great. It usually means it’s going to somebody else.”
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However, Lillard soon got the call to try out again, this time to prove that he could do it in a more “dramatic” way. By this time, the actor was told the race was down to just him and “another guy” – Morgan.
“And they were like hey they want you to come back and do it again. They don’t want you to be as funny, they want you to be a little more dramatic. I was like okay. So I went back in and did it again. And they were in Atlanta and I was working and doing the audition in LA. So they were like it’s between you and another guy and they want you to come in one more time. And they want you to come in one more time and they want to see if you can do both of them at the same time. Funny and dramatic.”
Lillard went on to clarify that he eventually got a call saying his rival had snagged the part. A year later, though, he met Robert Kirkman at San Diego Comic-Con where the TWD creator praised his Negan auditions. He also joked that whenever he sees a Negan T-shirt with Morgan’s face on it he just wants to shout “f— you!”
His performance as the unhinged Stu Macher in Scream shows us how good he is at playing villains, so Lillard no doubt would have given a strong performance as Negan. However, things probably worked out for the best. Maybe the star can take a different role in the future of The Walking Dead instead, though?
Source: Fan Fest