It was pretty exciting and intriguing news when the rumor that John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, Deadwood) might be playing the Governor in AMC’s The Walking Dead hit the internet. He is extremely talented and has more than demonstrated his ability to depict characters capable of shocking cruelty. However, as is often the case with internet rumors, it turns out not to be true. Yesterday, AMC announced their actual casting decision for the ruthless character: British actor David Morrissey.
Sci-fi fans and anglophiles will no doubt remember Morrissey from the 2008 Doctor Who Christmas special “The Next Doctor”, in which he played a Victorian era man mistakenly believing himself to be The Doctor. Morrissey’s performance shown through what was a rather lackluster plot involving steampunk cybermen and was equal parts manic, sweet and heartbreaking. His long resume also includes a hefty string of roles in BBC period dramas like South Riding and Sense and Sensibility (2008).
Perhaps more pertinent to his potential to play the Governor, though, was his starring turn in Blackpool (also alongside David Tennant). The weird but wonderful musical drama set in the Las Vegas of the UK saw Morrissey play an often brutal yet sometimes charming casino owner with grandiose plans – a part quite a bit sharper and darker than his Doctor Who role. What Morrissey shares with Hawkes in an ability to deftly shade his characters with darkness and brutality, which makes him a strong choice for The Walking Dead‘s Governor.
The casting announcement from AMC was not accompanied by information on when we can expect to see Morrissey’s arc as the Governor begin. Considering the fact that the show has already been renewed for a third season, it’s very possible that he won’t figure into the remainder of the second season at all.