As hard as it was for us to watch the heartbreaking season seven premiere of The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan says, for him, it was even harder.
The 50-year-old actor -- who both horrified and impressed with his portrayal of the AMC drama's newest bad guy -- opened up to Interview magazine about the emotional toll Negan's fury took on him.
"Look, that whole episode was hard, and also because I did go through and smack everybody with Lucille at a certain point," he shared. "Everybody took a hit. All of that was hard. It got to the point where I didn’t want to do it anymore. Emotionally I was completely drained -- all of us were, I would imagine."
Sunday's season premiere saw Negan take not one, but two victims, Abraham and Glenn, as he brutally bashed their heads in with his barbed wire-covered baseball bat, Lucille -- all in an attempt to break Andrew Lincoln's Rick.
"Andy and I just went through the ringer," Morgan explained. "It was a hard episode, and having to get there time and time again to do these horrible things… They're good people, I love them -- the whole cast -- so to keep riding them as hard as I was riding them, in-between takes it was like, god, you've got to catch your breath a little bit. It was just so f**king heavy at all times."
"In the show that aired, there's no let up, and it was like that for 10 days for us," he added. "It wasn't just 40 minutes of it; it was 10 days of that, every day, all day."
According to Morgan, filming the episode wasn't just difficult because of the cruel way that Glenn and Abraham died. It was also hard for the cast to say goodbye to actors Steven Yeun, an original cast member, and Michael Cudlitz, who joined the series in season four.
"Look, we've had some hard times -- just as actors it's been hard -- and I understand that there's been a great deal of pain for these guys as people. They're losing a friend that's been with them for a long f**king time," he said. "So it was a hard time initially, at first especially, and this year we've had some speed bumps as far as that kind of stuff. But I'll tell you, as soon as we say cut, there's lots of hugs going around for everybody and we've managed to get through it."
ET's Leanne Aguilera sat down with Cudlitz -- still sporting Abraham's signature handlebar mustache out of respect for the show's fans -- on Monday, where he dished all about his character's devastating death, and just how long he had to keep it a secret.
"I found out about a year and four months ago. That's when Steven and I found out initially. We knew it was coming. I knew that my time in the comic book had come or was coming," he explained. "If you're a fan of the show, and you've seen what they’ve done on the show, and you come on the show, you know that your time is limited. There's an expiration date stamped on the bottom of your foot, so I was not surprised. I just wanted it to be pretty epic."
"You want your death to be epic and memorable," Cudlitz added, "but more importantly to honor the life that the character had, and I think that's what we did."
See more in the video below.