Jeffrey Dean Morgan gets darker than ‘Grey’s’ in ‘Watchmen’


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He plays the brutal Comedian, whose murder kick-starts the story. (What is it with him playing dead guys, anyway?)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan chuckled through cigarette smoke and held up a homemade key chain that had just been passed to him by a stranger. ‘Look at this,’ he said in a tobacco-cured growl as he nodded toward the photograph in the dangling plastic frame; it was a hazy picture of the actor’s Rottweiler mix, Bisou. ‘These fans, they are something,’ the actor said with a tone of marvel and some low-grade alarm. ‘Wow. I mean, this is my dog.’

After years as a struggling actor, the 42-year-old Morgan has been receiving an intense indoctrination in the ways of celebrity. First, the Seattle native took on the role of Denny Duquette, the doomed hunk with a heart, on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and connected with fans and the show’s producers so deeply that the character was brought back from the dead (sort of) to become a spectral lover for Katherine Heigl’s confused Izzy Stevens. That made him a haunting heartthrob to millions of viewers. And now, as a star of ‘Watchmen,’ the hotly anticipated (and debated) superhero epic that reaches theaters Friday, Morgan finds himself becoming an instant icon to the millions of fanboys who approach the ‘Watchmen’ graphic novel as something close to a sacred text and the Hollywood adaptation as a sort of spandex-cinema equivalent to ‘The Passion of the Christ.’


‘These people take [‘Watchmen’] very seriously, and with good reason,’ Morgan said last weekend as he enjoyed a much-needed smoke after several smothering hours at WonderCon, the massive pop-culture expo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Thousands of fans had waited in line for hours to hear Morgan and fellow cast members talk about their characters and themselves on a panel that, within minutes, was pinging across the globe thanks to flip-phone cameras and the Internet.

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-- Geoff Boucher


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