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Saturday, 2 June 2018

B-Movie Actor Feature Spotlight: Jeffrey Dean Morgan



Known by his full name, American actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan hails from the Seaport city of Seattle, Washington D.C on April 22, 1966 and is mostly known for his TV work, notably as John Winchester, one-third of the Winchester brothers on the fantasy horror series, Supernatural, in addition to Denny on ABC's medical drama, Grey's Anatomy & currently on AMC's The Walking Dead as the show's antagonist, Negan. In high school, he played (American) football, whilst he captained the basketball team during college. Whilst most actors from childhood have set their sights on becoming a fully-fledged actor, Jeffrey Dean Morgan wanted to become a professional basketball player playing in the NBA, until an unfortunate knee injury ended his hopes. He briefly turned his attention to graphic design and he trained and worked as one. At 18 or 19 was when he decided he wanted to be an actor. Success didn't come for him, overnight but eventually, he found steady work on TV shows. 

UPN's The Burning Zone (left pic) aired for one season in 1996 and is cited as Jeffrey Dean Morgan's first major TV work. He appeared in 11 of the 16 episodes as a virologist, Edward Marcase alongside The Joy Luck Club's Tamlyn Tomita during the short-lived sci-fi drama series. 
Beginning with his aforementioned and early onscreen debut, the 1991 serial killer slasher, Uncaged as the main bad guy, Sharkey, followed by bouncer, Ramone in erotic thrller, Undercover Heat, after small roles during the 1990s in JAG, he made further guest appearances on ER, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Monk, when Morgan finally carved a name for himself with audiences as a patient in Denny on the medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, appearing in 23 episodes during his 3- year- run as a reoccurring cast member. He finally made his big-screen breakthrough in 2009 as the flamboyant leader of the Watchmen, The Comedian alias Edward Blake. Watchmen was based on the DC Comics limited series that was released in 1986 and 1987. Whilst Watchmen's reception was polarising with its exceedingly adult tone, to this day it has become a cult movie and is held in high regard as one of the unique comic adaptations onscreen amongst the other heavy-hitters from Marvel Films. I liked his character and I was disappointed that he got killed off in the movie, although Watchmen was still a good watch. Morgan has appeared in over 25 feature films, including theatrical and direct-to-DVD efforts such as fellow comic book-based flicks, The Losers, Batman & Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as thriller Heist alongside former great, Robert De Niro and 2018's Rampage alongside Dwayne Johnson and his Watchmen co-star, Malin Ackerman. 

He has had some good and not so good roles & movies; two not so good ones being in the thriller, Solace & psychological horror bomb, The Resident to name in particular, alongside former double Oscar winner, Hilary Swank, whose own career has sort of nosedived. Morgan played a creepy landlord who stalks Swanks's character. The pair previously starred together in the rom-drama weepy, P.S I Love You, with Morgan in the role of William, an Irish friend of Swanks's onscreen hubby, Gerry (Gerard Butler), & a movie which was far from good, in my opinion. In most cases, judging by the films I have seen, even in the poor ones, I get some enjoyment out of his performances. He tries his best, in spite of the movie being completely terrible and not very enjoyable to watch. 

Though like with so many film stars, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has his share of detractors and naysayers, for me, despite being synonymous as the typecast burly bad guy, he is just one of those performers who comes across as charismatic, brimming with charm, and has a commanding screen presence whereby he can play formidable villains and bad-ass good guys with believability, sheer likeability and exuding that 'cool' factor. With his distinctive presence and masculine physicality, there are just simply not many actors like him around in Hollywood. Of his casting as The Comedian in Watchmen, director Zack Snyder once said: ''It's hard to find a man's man in Hollywood. It just is. & Jeffrey came in and was grumpy & cool and grizzled, & I was like, Ok, Jeffrey is perfect!''. He's almost like the B-movie equivalent to George Clooney: both are chiselled jawed and both received widespread attention on popular TV medical dramas and later transitioned onto films. 

When it comes to B-movie actors and movie stars, who aren't in the big league and isn't a big-name player, whilst running the cinematic gamut of his 20-year + acting stint, standing at over 6ft tall, the gruff & grizzled one who has often been unfairly dubbed the poor man's Javier Bardem, - due to Morgan's uncanny resemblance to the Spanish actor in the facial department -, has actually done rather well for himself and is a lesser, non-A-list star that I like watching on screen a great deal, who has range as an actor. Especially compared to many other B-movie performers as Morgan has that extra appeal & who deserves to have a far more prolific and illustrious film career. 


Notable Favourites: Undercover Heat, Dead & Breakfast, Watchmen, The Losers, Desierto, The Courier, Rampage


Notable Non-favourites: Uncaged, P.S I Love You, The Accidental Husband, The Resident


Sources:

The Famous People.com - Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Dissecting Jeffrey Dean Morgan! - Arrow In The Head - JoBlo.com

Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Wikipedia 

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