The Season Six finale and Season Seven premiere were difficult days to be on set of The Walking Dead, as Jeffrey Dean Morgan's casting came with repetitive baseball bat blows to the heads of his co-stars.
"I shot two days of The Walking Dead finale and then went back on Good Wife and shot that and I think I had a week between finishing The Good Wife and being full time on Walking Dead," Negan actor Morgan told BUILD Series. "We came back with 7x01 and I found out. I knew like two days before I shot because Norman spilled the beans on who I was gonna kill. We went to work on that episode and not only did we shoot... We shot every single person taking a kill shot. I hit every single person with the baseball bat."
He didn't just tap them with a prop baseball bat, though. "I full on blood-bathed them," Morgan said. "I was hitting their heads. I'm not even f---ing around. The bat I had, I ahd a stunt Lucille. She has a fiberglass middle with foam on the outside. It still, by the way, hurts when you smack somebody with it. Then a blood bag is made into the bat. I shouldn't be giving away the special effects secrets! I had to hit, and they made me do it, because after you hit someone a few times with a baseball bat, you start to feel bad, believe it or not."
It only got worse from there, too. Director of both Episode 6x16 and Episode 7x01 Greg Nicotero wanted to really get the most out of his performers, prompting a unique request to his Negan actor. "They had me improving stuff which was horrible," Morgan said. "They were like, 'Say stuff just to get reactions!' I remember going up to Eugene with his bad haircut and was like, 'It's like Beavis f---in' had sex with Elvis!' I'm just gonna!'"
Eugene actor Josh McDermitt ended up laughing but not for long. "And then I'd crack 'em and finally I was like, to Greg, 'Can you get a stunt guy in here?'" Morgan said.
Preserving the spoiler of who Negan killed was serious business on the set. As Morgan notes, he didn't know who he had killed until returning set for Season Seven. "We shot it and so it ended on that," Morgan said. "I didn't even know who Negan's victims were when I finished shooting and I went back to The Good Wife."
Most of the crew had no idea, either. "Hitting everybody, it wasn't just for the dream sequence, it was also... They edited a full version of Maggie being the victim and someone else and it was all a red herring," Morgan recalls. "It was all to possibly be released before our episode aired because there's so many people out there trying to ruin the show."
In the end, Morgan and Rick actor Andrew Lincoln had their revenge. "That's how Andy and I got to hit Greg finally, with Lucille, at the end," Morgan said.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.