Jeffrey Dean Morgan Returns To TV!
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been acting since 1991, but 2006 was his magic year as a pair of small screen roles -- John Winchester on Supernatural & Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy -- shot him into the spotlight, and transformed him into an "overnight" sensation.
He parlayed this fame into a smattering of cinematic projects that never quite achieved the blockbuster success they strove for. So it's no surprise Jeffrey Dean Morgan has now returned to the medium that made him a star, with Magic City.
The Starz series takes place in Miami, circa 1959, when mobsters ruled the roost and The C.I.A. set up shop in Ike Evans' Miramar Playa Hotel. Magic City, based on the real life experiences of creator Mitch Glazer, not only provides the meatiest role of JDM's career, but introduces us to a deliciously dangerous world.
Insider.com: You've jumped between film and television pretty regularly over the years -- has it gotten to a point where you not longer think about the medium, just the material?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: That's exactly what it is. You want to go where the best writing is – not to say I haven't done some films that are turds, but there was something in those scripts that I thought was great. I had no plans on doing TV. I was quite happy in the film world. But it's a hard way to live – going from New Orleans to Michigan to Puerto Rico. You're never home. But I read this script and loved it. Now, my agent lied to me and said this was a miniseries when they sent it to me. Then I thought, "There hasn't been a great miniseries since Roots and it would be great to have another."
Insider: Not to set too high a bar for yourself, or anything.
JDM: [laughs] I know, right? I thought it would be 8 episodes and done. Then I read the first 3 scripts in my cabin in New York and thought, "F*ck, this is dangerously good.” Next thing I know, I'm meeting Mitch in the city and halfway through this initial conversation, I found out it was a TV series – but I was already sold on doing it. "Oh sh*t, I guess I'm doing TV." Now, I'm good at doing 12 episodes and dying -- so this has been a new experience for me.
Insider: Well, the first season is only eight episodes...
JDM: That's right – I might live to see a second season this time [laughs]. Four episodes and that might be it for old Ike Evans!
Insider: When you read the script in your cabin, what was it that made your ears perk up?
JDM: The world that Magic City takes place in is so seductive, even reading it on the page, you're seduced by it. Mitch did such a great job of fleshing out this guy on the page. And yet, in talking to him, it left me so much room to do my own interpretation of that. And the great thing about doing a TV show, as compared to a film, is you really have time to dive into that character. I've never been on a show where I got to do that. As much as I loved doing Grey's Anatomy, I was relegated to a hospital bed and dying. That was my story. A character like this, who at first glance is on top of the world -- this amazing hotel, a wife he loves, two great sons and a wonderful daughter. But under the surface, his world is f*cking falling apart [laughs]. And getting to play a character who blows through a room and is this charming guy who falls apart behind closed doors, is a rare opportunity. The audience goes on this ride with Ike – they're the only ones who know what is really going on in his head. And that's extraordinary.
Insider: What are you excited for audiences to see?
JDM: Miami circa 1959 is an incredible backdrop to tell a story against. There was so much happening at that time – our show opens on New Year's Eve of 1959, when Castro overthrew Batista. It all really happened and I don't think people realize the significance Miami played on the world at that time. Because of the mob world there, the CIA had a heavy presence there as they tried to overthrow Castro – so they were having meetings in the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel. Which is what the Mirimar Playa in based on – so much happened historically in that time that I think the audience will not only be drawn into the sexiness of that era, but you'll learn something. As I started doing research, I was blown away. "F*ck, did that really happen?" was kind of my catchphrase at the time.
Magic City premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Starz.