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Jeffrey Dean Morgan may not be able to stay alive on-screen, but the Watchmen star’s career is thriving nevertheless.

[dl] Big Screen

JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN has playing dead down cold. His first three high-profile television parts -- Denny Duquette on Grey’s Anatomy, Judah Botwin on Weeds, and John Winchester on Supernatural -- had him dying, dead, and killed, respectively. It seemed his fortunes had changed in 2007, when he scored a breakout film role in the Hilary Swank chick flick P.S. I Love You. Morgan managed to survive the film, as someone else (300’s Gerard Butler) handled the dying duties for once. Now Morgan’s film career is alive and well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his most recent characters, for whom the bell also tolls.This month, Morgan, 42, stars in Watchmen, the highly anticipated screen adaptation of the celebrated DC Comics graphic novel by the same name. Prior to filming, Morgan trained for months in Vancouver, Canada, getting into what he says was the best shape of his life. He learned hand-to-hand combat and wirework that enabled him to do the majority of his own stunts, so when the script called for him to be tossed from a 50-story window, he happily obliged. “It was like being on a ride at Disneyland,” Morgan says. “The director, Zack Snyder, said, ‘Let’s do it again, because you were laughing all the way down.’ “Morgan plays a superhero called the Comedian -- but don’t expect any pratfalls. “He’s not a funny guy,” he says. “It’s more that his view of life is that it’s a big joke.” And, no surprise, the character’s death sets the story in motion.In the upcoming release Shanghai, Morgan and John Cusack star as best friends who work for the U.S. government in Germany. When Morgan’s character transfers to the Far East in the days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he gets a less-than-warm reception. “I head over there and promptly get murdered,” says Morgan, who shot the film on location in Thailand. Thankfully, that scene is not the last audiences see of him; he continues to appear in flashbacks as Cusack’s character investigates his death.But fans shouldn’t worry: There’s hope for Morgan yet. He stars in another upcoming murder mystery, called All Good Things, with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, and this time, he isn’t playing the deceased but rather the dedicated detective assigned to the case.

  • Image about Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Between working in Thailand, Vancouver, and New York City (where he filmed All Good Things), Morgan hasn’t spent much time at home in Los Angeles during the last year. But he’s not complaining; he knows he’s getting opportunities most actors would die for. Luckily for him, he’s already done more than his fair share of that.

Book It

Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives us his picks for reading on the road.

Just a few months ago, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was that traveler who leaves a trail of newspapers scattered across the airplane cabin in his wake. Since then, he’s ditched the morning news -- “I’m over it,” he says -- for the comfort of a good book. Here are a few of the tomes he’s tackling now.Where I’m Calling From: Selected Storiesby RAYMOND CARVER “I have a dog-eared copy,” he says. “I’m really into [Carver].” In fact, Morgan is trying to figure out a way to get one of those stories on the big screen.Max Perkins: Editor of Geniusby A. SCOTT BERG“[Perkins] was the guy who worked with Fitzgerald and Hemingway,” Morgan enthuses.A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purposeby ECKHART TOLLE“Kirsten Dunst told me that it would change my life. I’m waiting for that page,” he confesses. “But it’s fascinating.”