Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins inspired the character of Negan in The Walking Dead comic book series, according to a Forbes interview. However, Rollins ultimately did not get the role in The Walking Dead TV show, despite auditioning for the part. Instead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan took the role, with the infamous character debuting in the show’s divisive season six finale.
Rollins recounted the casting (or lack thereof) process to Forbes:
Since I didn’t get the part I can tell you this. I was up for the role of Negan because Charlie Adlard, who worked on the comic book, based that guy on me and so I was a shoo-in for an audition. The internet was wild with speculation because in the upcoming season, they were going to introduce the character. A woman that works in my office put my name and the character’s name into an internet search and all this speculation came up. I went for the audition, and there were five pages of really cool dialogue with all these curses and it was beautiful, but I didn’t get it. ... I had to sign one of those documents where you can’t talk about it but now it’s over and done with … So yeah, I was up for that part. I get great auditions, but rarely does anything come my way.
However, Rollins admitted that Morgan does look like Negan. “I later saw a photograph of the guy who did get it, and he looks almost exactly like the comic book rendering,” he said. Though Rollins was not cast in The Walking Dead, he will appear in the crime thriller The Last Heist, available in theaters and on iTunes today.