The Governor is arguably the most menacing character in all of “The Walking Dead” comics. In movies like “Winter’s Bone” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” John Hawkes plays menacing to a tee. It sounds like an actor-character match made in heaven, no?
Before David Morrissey was eventually cast as the Governor in the upcoming season of “Walking Dead,” Hawkes was offered the role, which he subsequently turned down. Speaking to MovieWeb, he explained why.
“They offered me the role, and I just felt there would be someone else who could do it better. I was flattered, and I took a look at the series,” he said. “It held interest for me, but I just didn’t feel like I was the guy for it.”
“I have to be careful of what TV shows I choose, particularly ones that have commercials in them, because it’s going to be a different kind of television show,” he added. “There are going to be sponsors. No matter how good the show is, if there are commercials, it’s going to be a different show, to me. That’s just my personal feeling.”
If his comments seem a little snooty, consider how commercials impact the storytelling structure. They raise the quantity of manufactured cliffhangers, where we cut away from something surprising to be resolved… after the break. When you watch these moments without the requisite pauses on Netflix or DVD, they’re just not as compelling or dramatic. That might be a minor quibble for most viewers, but it’s fair for Hawkes to set his own artistic standards for the roles he chooses. (It’s worth remembering that he was a recurring character on HBO’s Eastbound and Down, which featured — you guessed it — no commercials.)
Of course, the easiest explanation is that Hawkes just wasn’t that into the source material. “Yeah, it was nice of them to ask, and it’s a good show, but, again, I just didn’t feel I was the guy,” he said. “They came to me and sent me the graphic novel and the first two seasons. I took a look at them, and just didn’t feel like it was for me.”
Considering who the Governor is and what he does (we’ll refrain from spoiling the comics), we can’t blame him for not wanting the attention. Instead, the lesser-known Morrissey will get a chance to boost his profile, and Hawkes can bring his considerable talents to a project he’s more invested in. Everything works out, as usual.
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