The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan admits he took things “a little too far” when Negan first encountered Whisperer Beta, played by Morgan’s old friend Ryan Hurst, creating footage Morgan says can never be used. Negan first met “big ass freak” Beta in 10x05, “What It Always Is,” and the crass and talkative fugitive was nearly murdered by Beta in 10x06, “Bonds,” before he could enlist as a member of the flesh-wearing cult commanded by Alpha (Samantha Morton). Morgan and Hurst are both self-acknowledged smartasses, but Morgan had to dial Negan down from one hundred in-between attempts to make his co-star “lose his mind”:
“I’ve known Ryan for a very, very long time. I don’t want to age myself too much, but we’ve known each other a long time, so I was super excited when he got the gig,” Morgan said on a recent episode of Talking Dead. “Obviously I haven’t had any scenes with him, so we were very excited and had been texting for a year, basically, waiting for this moment.”
Because Negan is a smooth bullshitter with a big mouth, both actors knew the Negan-Beta pairing — a rivalry carried over from creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books — would make for killer television.
Beta has “zero sense of humor” and “just kind of grunts,” Morgan said while dropping his voice to mimic Beta’s hushed growls, “and talks like this and kills people.”
“We’re both huge smartasses, especially me as Negan — I kind of turn it up to a hundred when I can — and I certainly was going to in the case of Negan meeting Beta,” Morgan added. “I know that I took it a little too far a few times and they’ll never be able to use that footage. But I would just try to make him lose his mind.”
The ferociously loyal Beta is wary against the leather jacket-clad outsider, worrying Negan poses a threat to Alpha, but the Whisperer leader has found herself impressed by the powerful and capable Negan. It's a new pairing that will certainly cause heads to roll in the back half of Season 10.
“This year has been a lot about playing off of paranoia and what side are people on, and I think Negan and Alpha together are a formidable twosome,” Morgan said on another episode of Talking Dead following the midseason finale. “It’s bad news for our heroes. And what it means for the show is we’re gonna flip it on its ass.”