Fresh off a stellar finish to season five, fans of The Walking Dead are already speculating about season six. And one of the big questions is who will play Negan, the super villain that appears in the comics, and will almost definitely make an appearance on the show’s next run. Fresh off his own series finale, could Jon Hamm be in the running?
For those unfamiliar with the comic book, Negan is the leader of a band of mercenaries of sorts called the Saviors. The group travels to post-apocalyptic communities and takes control in exchange for zombie protection, almost like a mob family.
In many ways, picking Hamm makes sense – he’s wrapped up filming for Mad Men, which will begin airing its final episodes next week. And while he has a small comedic role in Netflix original Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, there’s no telling if his character will return for a second season. Sources like Cleveland.com have pointed out Hamm’s resemblance to the comic book character, if you add a lot more grit and bulk, of course. Plus, Hamm did just wrap up a baseball movie, Million Dollar Arm, and fans know all too well Negan’s affinity for baseball bats.
But the question is: could Hamm actually cut it in such a demanding role?
While there’s no doubt Hamm’s defining role as Don Draper was a major factor of propulsion for the massively popular show, he hasn’t really had many other roles that truly show his dramatic acting chops. The fact that Draper is so utterly devoid of emotions half the time might make it a bit easier to portray him then a villainous gang leader during the zombie apocalypse.
That said, the role could be a great opportunity for Hamm that would keep him in the spotlight following Draper’s end on TV…if there’s any truth to the rumblings. Hamm joked about the possible role during an interview about the end of Mad Men when he was explicitly asked, saying the role “would be fun.” He admitted meeting Robert Kirkman “many times,” reports Cleveland.com. That said, this could just be a case of the media blowing a simple comment out of proportion.
Either way, here are a few other actors who could make an awesome Negan:
Kevin Durand – He has an extensive resume, but this actor is probably best known for his role as Martin in LOST, the evil leader of a mercenary group. Aside from already having the stature to play such a commanding role (he’s a bulky almost 6’5’’), Durand perfectly plays the villain you can’t help but want to punch in the face when you watch him on screen.
Jeremy Holm – You might recognize him from his role as Agent Nathan Green on House of Cards, but keen-eyed viewers may also recognize him as the actor who always played the creepy guy in the ABC Primetime What Would You Do? hidden camera sketches. In either case, he’s proven himself to be a great “bad guy” and has a resemblance to Negan that would make him a good fit for the part.
Vin Diesel – He has to do something other than Fast & Furious movies and voicing Groot on Guardians of the Galaxy. He has the build, and the acting experience. Slap a wig on him, and voila! Negan.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – When it comes to acting, this wrestler is versatile, and a mean, angry villain is right up his alley. He already has experience with mummies in The Mummy. So zombies won’t be much of a stretch.
Joe Mangienello – So Magic Mike might not exactly be the resume entry he’d want to show executive producer Robert Kirkman if he were trying to get this role. But could we see him in it? Sure. Aside from the potential to transform into the look, the transition from True Blood vampire to zombie apocalypse survivor might be just what he needs to revive his career. In the end, they’re all out for blood.
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Serious dark horse, here, but we’d definitely tune in to see it. The Bloodsport and Expendables star still has many acting years left in him at just 54. We last saw him in The Expendables 2, so clearly he still has plenty of acting juice left to wield a baseball bat and fend off zombies.